Australia is a young country and the domestic horse breeding scene is no different. From the Brumby onwards, horses have played an important role in Australian history and culture. The continental climate of this island nation has given way to unique horse breeds with distinct looks, temperament and willingness.
There are literally hundreds of horse breeds worldwide. Though, all horses are classes into four distinct categories, being: hot bloods, warm bloods, cold bloods, and ponies. Thankfully, horse breeding has been well documented over the centuries, meaning tracing a horse’s ancestry is achievable.
Below you will read about the top 5 Australian horse breeds. Some are recent, while others date back to before the first fleet.
Australian Draught Horse
Formally recognised since 1979, the Australian Draught Horse is the result of crossbreeding Clydesdale, Percheron, Shires, and Suffolk Punch horses.
This breed was originally developed for heavy farm work. Locals value the Australian draught horse as a working and riding horse, though there is no real need for hard farm work anymore. Today, the breed is regularly entered it into draught competitions.
All coat colours are accepted for the Australian Draught Horse, though excessive amounts of white on the face or body are undesired. White coating below the knees is considered acceptable, however.
A top show-quality horse that emerged in the 1920s, the Australian Pony is a very intelligent and motivated breed. Farmers bred Arabian horses and Welsh ponies to create the Australian Pony, which is known for its show quality.
In terms of appearance, the Australian Pony features alert ears as well as a short but nicely rounded neck. It also has oversized dark eyes.
This horse breed is most commonly used to mount children or smaller adults. Australian Ponies can often be found in events such as dressage, combined driving events, or show jumping.
Australian Riding Pony
A relatively new horse breed even by Australia standards. The Australian Riding Pony has been formally recognised in the equine world since the 1970s.
The British Riding Pony had the greatest influence during the development of this breed. Though, Arabian and Thoroughbred lines have played their part as well.
Australian Riding Ponies reach a similar height as that of the Australian Pony. They look very similar to Thoroughbred racing horses. Unlike many other horse breeds, the Australian Riding Pony has a free-flowing gait. The breed also features small heads and ears.
This breed of pony is best suited to children and young adults, particularly those competing in show jumping and dressage events.
Australian Stock Horse
The Australian Stock Horse is one of Australia’s oldest horse breeds and its ancestry dates back to the first fleet in 1788. Its gene pool includes Arabian, Barb, Thoroughbred and Spanish horses.
This horse breed is known for its calm and willing temperament. It is considered courageous, intelligent, tough, quick and agile. There are currently more than 170,000 horses or foals of this breed registered in Australia.
Undoubtedly one of Australia’s most recognisable horse breeds, the Brumby dates back to the earliest European settlements in Australian. Even before the first fleet.
At the time, long journeys were required to bring the horse breed over to Australia. As such, only the strongest survived, resulting in a tough horse breed that has been able to survive all the climates that Australia has been able to throw at it.
This breed can be found all across Australia’s wilderness and there are currently over 400,000 brumbies in Australia. Its ancestors include Arabian Horses, the British pony, draught breeds, Thoroughbreds and Timor ponies.
There is a divided view when it comes to this horse breed. Some consider the Brumby a part of Australia’s national history and heritage, while others simply consider the breed to be a pest.
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Updated : 16th May 2020 | Words : 627 | Views : 3028