The Australian Stock Horse is a hardy, selectively-bred animal who is descended from the first English Thoroughbred and Spanish horses which arrived with the first fleet of British ships containing settlers and convicts in 1788. While they share their origin story with the Australian Water Horse, today they are different breeds.
The Australian Stock Horse benefited from the later introduction of Arabians, Timors, and Welsh Mountain ponies which further improved the breed for the strength and stamina required to survive in the harsh, wild Australian outback. They were bred for use by explorers, stockmen, settlers, and bushrangers, and round 1850, Australian Stock Horses were exported to India for use by the British as cavalry mounts ‒ a job at which they excelled due to their endurance and soundness.
The Australian Stock Horse Society was formed in 1971 to maintain a studbook and promote the breed, of which there are currently about 50,000 registered horses. Their Prominent Breeder’s List is a who’s who of Australian equestrian society. The list is updated annually to include all Members who breed and register a significant number of horses. The member must have bred and registered a minimum of six horses, foaled during the previous two breeding seasons at time of update.
Australian Stock Horses have fine heads, broad foreheads, straight noses, alert ears and expressive eyes. They are intelligent and kind-looking, with broad chests, long necks, well-developed quarters, strong legs and tough hooves. The breed is renowned for its intelligence, athleticism, speed, stamina, obedience and pleasant temperament. Any solid coat colour is acceptable, although bay is the most common. These horses generally stand between 14-16.2 hh.
Australian Stock Horses are suitable for general riding and stock work on farms, but have also had success in equestrian sports including dressage, polo and polocrosse, eventing and pony club events. They are also used in campdrafting, a popular Australian sport where the competitor cuts one animal from a herd of cattle and works it around a course.
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