WHOBAA Incorporated in 2004 when the majority of 1986 founding members of WHSA Inc. reluctantly decided that doing so was necessary in order to preserve the original methods, principles, definitions and standards as originally researched and formulated.
We preserve the Waler horse as a Rare Breed, Registering only those horses with inherited genetic links to, and qualities of, the pioneering originals.
We do not Register imitations of those horses based on phenotype or heresay alone, nor bred up or modified Walers.
We do not attempt to re-create a Waler look alike, stereotype, or accept the influence of any Breeds that played no part in the evolution of the original Waler.
Nor do we accept the influence of modern derivatives of those Breeds that originally contributed to the Waler Breed. The conditions, principles, and objectives involved in breeding those horses over more recent times degrade and modify those original strengths and attributes that we committed to preserve.
About Waler Horse Owners & Breeders Association Australia:
What are our aims?
This Association aims to maintain the form and performance of the original Walers by preserving those Waler descendents of the original horses that have adapted to the same essential conditions which promoted and preserved their attributes and use these as the Foundation for the continuance of the Breed. It is worth considering Wilkins as quoted by Daphne Machin Goodall, A History of Horse Breeding - If conditions for life, under the influence of which the breed form occurred are consistent, then the type is fixed and there is a continuity of inheritance.
"As soon as these essential conditions change so also will the form and the performance of the breed change."
The durability or permanence of a breed is dependent only on certain conditions for life to which it is adapted; there is no such thing as absolute permanence of any form of breed.
Why we are doing it?
The Waler horse is in integral part of our pioneering Australian heritage that is in imminent danger of being lost.The scarcity and inaccessibility of descendents of the original horses that contributed to the Breeds foundation, the previously reduced requirement for genuine working and stock horses, the pressures from pseudo- academic, political / bureaucratic and uncompromising conservation organizations, has resulted in the continued destruction of the remnant horses. If not for our efforts the legacy of these horses will be lost forever. The demand for such horses is increasing as people recognise the advantage and scarcity of honest, reliable, frugal and genuine horses for work, pleasure, and competition.
How we are doing it?
Identifying the Waler. We cannot recreate the old blood, the environmental conditions or the harsh selection processes that produced the original horses used for pioneering tasks and export, military purposes etc. Those horses that became known as Walers. We can, however, gather the surviving descendants of these horses and use them as the basis for the breed of the future and by so doing will insure a sound and proven foundation for the future of this Breed. All Walers have points in common or typical to the Breed. These are the points we endeavour to preserve, and which justify the horse as a Breed as opposed to a Type. There was, and is, no typical or stereotyped Waler as such; and we recognise four types - all with characteristics in common. A breed may be defined as an animal which consistently displays inherited characteristics conforming to a Standard or Standards. The Waler as recognized by this Association conforms to this definition.
We do not accept the influence of modern breeds that traditionally played no part in the evolution of the Waler horse, or horses of the same breed name as contributing breeds if they have not endured similar environmental conditions to those which produced the Waler. Originally formulated in support of the Waler Horse Society, these same principles are being honoured and preserved by this Association.
Locating a gene pool of qualifying horses. The majority of our Foundation horses were located in remote areas where they had been genetically isolated since the time that they were abandoned when no longer required, or had escaped, and subsequently avoided recapture.
Some will argue that horses sourced from unmanaged or feral environment must be inbred and inferior. This is not necessarily correct. The first consideration is the quality of the original horses introduced into the country and the specific area.
In a natural environment, inbreeding amongst horses is rare, and the species does not deteriorate with respect to that environment in fact improves as a result of natural selection and the concentration of beneficial tested and adapted genes resulting from limited inbreeding (the results of which must therefore be improvements in order to survive and breed on in that environment). The inbreeding co-efficient amongst such horses is extremely low far lower than that of the majority of domestic horses. Were this not the case, any species in such circumstances would inbreed and deteriorate to the point of extinction.
In a harsh environment the survivors are those best adapted to their environment, which in this case provides the same pressures inflicted upon for instance a true endurance horse. They have not been subject to conditions which require them to be pretty, or fast, or foolhardy in order to survive only with human assistance these are the artificial criteria imposed by man. They have survived by being sensible, frugal, hardy; by having endurance and stamina, courage and practical ability reinforced by the absence of mans artificial manipulation for specific gains at the expense of the practical and desirable attributes for which the Waler was valued.
If our requirements are such that we can utilise these attributes it would make sense to take advantage of what quality old blood, many years of environmental pressures has produced and which are impossible to reproduce in a domestic situation today. When a possible source of Foundation horses is identified, the history of the location regarding possible breed influence, past management practices, is carefully researched and considered. Any documented evidence such as breeding records, and any reliable oral evidence is sought.
Accessing and distributing identified horses
Members are assisted in obtaining horses identified by the Association which may qualify for Registration. There is no guarantee that such horses will be Registered until individually Classified, only that there is a prima face case for further consideration as a result of research into their background. Members may also present horses from other sources for Classification as Walers, in which case(s) similar proof or support of background breeding is required prior to further consideration.
Recording, managing, and promoting the Breed
We now carefully manage and breed these waler horses in a captive environment so as to preserve the Breed and their inherited attributes. An important aspect of the methods we employ in order to maintain the Breed is the periodic addition of Foundation influence into any breeding programmes, which is vital in order to maintain the strengths of the Breed in a domestic environment.
Emphasis is with temperament and practical reliability
The Breed is promoted by Members with these attributes a priority. Whilst each horse is acknowledged as an individual, these two strengths are common to all Walers. Undoubtedly some may be suitable for, and be afforded the opportunity, to excel in competition it is equally important that others will become reliable, safe, tolerant pleasure horses and members are encouraged to promote the Breed accordingly. A Waler Horse Stud Book has been created for the Waler horses, with definitive Rules governing the management, standards, and breed influences which conform to the traditional breeding of this horse.
Documenting Standards, Accrediting the Waler Breed
The founders of this Association set the criteria and Standards for the breed in 1987 when establishing the Waler Horse Society of Australia Inc. as a result of extensive in depth research (which included grass roots interviews, reference to archival documents from many and varied sources) into the circumstances, contributing breeds, and selection criteria which contributed to the evolution of the horse known as the Waler. This Association has no allegiance to the Waler Horse Society of Australia at this time.
We do not attempt to re-create Waler horse look alikes by the cross breeding of modern breeds or modern derivatives of the original breeds that contributed to the Waler. To do so would involve the degradation of all the evolved strengths and attributes we endeavour to preserve.
Our vision is that once again the Waler horse or walers will be recognised and identified as our unique Australian Heritage Horse. Its contribution to our pioneering heritage and the way of life we enjoy today will be honoured and preserved.