The strict classification, management and breeding program set by the Waler Horse Association insures the old Waler bloodlines continue to be inherited by and preserved in today’s foals, thus maintaining the Walers’ vital genetic characteristics.
Due to the nature by which foundation Walers are sourced, their heritage significance and rare genetic make-up, registration of horses as Walers is not undertaken lightly. Three stages proceed applicants making it into our stud book: Application, whereby applicants must provide sufficient evidence that the horse is of Waler origin; DNA Testing, by which a hair sample will be sent for testing to ensure that the horse's genetic make-up is untainted by modern strains; and Classification, whereby a WHOBAA Inc. trained and accredited Classifier will assess the horse's conformation and temperament as per the Standard of Excellence. Only once a horse has passed Classification will it be eligible for Registration.
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Standard of Excellence
The Waler is renowned for it's sensible, calm temperament and exceptional intellect. A well handled Waler has a good, trustworthy, safe nature. They tend to be conservative, and will generally refrain from exerting more energy than necessary - a Waler will give exactly what is asked of it, nothing less and nothing more - a fundamental characteristic to wild horses surviving in harsh and unforgiving environments, and an excellent trait to have in a working or endurance horse.
Types and Height
10 - 14hh, the Pony type, also known as a Scout type or a Mounted Games pony. Pony type Walers are the smallest type, the most rare, and are the only type distinguished by height (14hh or under). They should show a significant amount of pony influence, namely the Timor, and boast a soft, long and elastic stride.
14.2hh - 15.2hh, the Officer type is a Light type, often also referred to as Chargers or Officer's Chargers. Officer type Walers are of a finer build than the others, but still should have more bone and tendon than other light breeds, and have a distinct presence about them - after all, an Officer was judged first by the cut of his horse. A good Charger kept his rider safe throughout the gruelling days of war, and he looked fabulous doing so.
14.2hh - 16hh, desirably the height of a soldier's mount, as any taller was too tiresome to throw gear onto, Trooper's mounts would be classed as the Medium type. They are arguably the most common type. Trooper's mounts are built strongly for utility rather than presence and looks like the Officer. Nevertheless, they are a handsome horse and have a charismatic look of strength and nobility about them. They should have a long, elastic stride, a good forward walk and a comfortable canter.
16hh +, Artillery or Gun Horses are the Heaviest type of Walers, and usually also the tallest, but such is not strictly the case. Artillery types are more strongly influenced by Draught horses, yet are more active and agile - not front-heavy like that of a plough horse. Their action is generally not Draught style, but is more forward and elastic, better suited to riding.
Head and Neck
Eyes are alert and kind, set well apart on a wide, flat forehead, neither small and sunken nor large and bulging. Slanting is common, and perfectly acceptable. A Waler's jaws is strong with good bone and muscle. The face is of medium length from poll to nostrils, and in proportion to the body. Nostrils are not small or too thick-walled. The bridge of a Waler's face is straight, sometimes convex (Roman-nose) but should never be evidently concave (dished).
The Waler has a strong, robust neck that is set above the point of the shoulder, and high head carriage. Walers should never have long, thin, swan or ewe necks.
Chest and Shoulder
The shoulder is definite from the neck, strong, smooth, symmetrically muscled and ideally sloped to a 50 degree angle. The chest is well defined (not blending into the neck) and fairly wide, squared at the shoulders, and deepest behind the elbow. The chest should never be narrow or protruding.
Legs and Hooves
A Waler has strong, straight legs with plenty of bone and well formed tendons. Cannon bones are characteristically short – the shorter the better - the fore cannons more so in comparison to the hinds. Joints are large and well-formed, with flat knees and clean hocks. Elbows should be well clear of the body to allow for free shoulder movement. Capped hocks and elbows are fairly adventitious. Long, thin legs are undesirable and considered a fault.
Hooves are placed squarely on each leg and at the same angle as the pastern and the shoulder. The height and slope of the hoof wall should be the same on both sides, with the coronet running straight across the front of the hoof then sloping evenly down toward each heel. The two heel bulbs should be even in height and in the same position on each side of the frog.
Back, Hindquarter and Tail
Walers often, though not always, have a long back in proportion to height, though to look at they should not seem a long horse. A back that is too long is considered a fault, as is a back too short. A healthy Waler will have a strong top-line. The wither should be defined - at maturity, ideally the wither is at the same height as the croup. The wither should not be pronounced and fine, or flat and dumped.
Walers have broad loins, a generous hindquarter and a deep, broad rump tapering off to a sloping croup and a low-set tail. When relaxed the tail sits flush to the horse's buttock. Apple-shaped or flat croups are undesirable and are considered a fault.
Girth and Ribs
The Waler has a good, deep girth and a large gut area developed to ingest quantities of low quality food. The gut is full from girth to flank, and well spring around the barrel. Herring guts, where the gut runs up sharply under the flank is is caused by the false ribs being too short; a characteristic undesirable in a Waler as it is a fair indicator the horse has or will have difficulty maintaining condition.
Colours and Markings
Walers are most commonly solid Chestnut, Black, Bay or Grey, but are also occasionally seen as Duns, Roans or Taffy (Silver). Some Walers also exhibit bold pinto markings, specifically Tobiano - which may also be described as 'Skewbald' or 'Piebald' - and Sabino.
Many Walers also exhibit one or more of a number of Primitive Markings, none of which are uncommon to see in the Breed. These include Birdcatcher Spots, seen in a great number of horse breeds and named for the famed Irish Thoroughbred 'Birdcatcher'; Dorsal Stripes; Zebra Stripes, especially in horses where the Dun gene is not present; Smutt Spots; Pistol Marks; Silver Guard Hairs and Blood Markings.