This is a unique and distinctive horse breed that origin from Australia and is capable to live and survive Australian conditions. Since the first imports of horse breeds in 1788 from Europe, Asia and Africa, where only the best survived the trip, breeders bred horses for their strength and stamina and culled weaker horses, thus only the strongest were allowed to breed on. The Australian Stock Horse has been developed from the Thoroughbred, Arabian, Timor Pony and Welsh Mountain Pony. Known for their versatility, endurance and agility and other characteristics as strong, tough and quick horses, perhaps is prescribed to their brumby blood. They played a viable part in the nationís development and transport through the 19 and 20th century.
Now extinct purebred Waler horse was ancestry of the Australian Stock Horse, but it is believed that original bloodlines came from Arabian and Barb horses. Beside the physical characteristics, the similarities with the Waler horse are their toughness and endurance. They were used in First World War by the Australian Army and created a reputation as the finest cavalry horses in the world. They carried heavy loads and riders, showing great stamina and strong riding qualities, thus a demand for these horses was coming from all around the world during the war. When they return to their native country, they were quarantined and later destroyed by governmentís order in the desert, Sydney today celebrate and honor the memory of these remarkable horses by creating a memorial.
Australian Stock Horse Society was established in June 1971, when for the first time was recognized as a distinct breed. ASH Society had three classifiers criteria that a horse had to meet and be allowed to be registered as an Australian Stock Horse. Horses were inspected for conformation, breeding and athletic ability. The best of them were registered in the Stud Book, others only in the registry appendix, but many did not meet the criteria, thus wasnít accepted. Today there are approximately 170,000 registered Australian Stock Horses.
The influence of Thoroughbred gives the horse a finely cut, expressive, alert and intelligent head with broad forehead. On the other hand its heaviness is described to the Waler. The overall confirmation of this breed is well proportioned and in balance according to its size. Eyes are well-set, large and full; nostrils are wide and have deep girth, allowing plenty of air breathing. The neck is long and arched; shoulders are sloping, not too heavily muscled and make it a good riding horse. Withers are well-defined, chest is deep, ribs are well-sprung and the back is strong. Hindquarters are also very strong thus it contributes to its versatility. Limbs are well developed, cannon bones slightly flat and short pasterns that are slightly sloping. Hindquarters are powerful, rounded and well muscled; they are very surefooted, with hard hooves in proportion to their size. Their average height is between 14-16.2 hands. All solid colors are accepted with bay being predominant.
The Australian Stock Horse is extremely hardy and handles stress well due to its calm nature. Their versatility, athletic ability, quiet temperament and intelligence gave them outstanding success in many horse sport events. They are great in competitive disciplines, as polo, dressage, show jumping, eventing, endurance riding and campdrafting, which is an Australian sport where the aim is cutting a cow and steering it around a course. The breed is used as working horse, for herding, cavalry and when necessary for mustering in rugged mountain terrain. They had a role in The Man from Snowy River movie and during the 2000 Sydney Olympics Opening Ceremony, by performing maneuvers to the music of the eponymous movie.
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