Name of breed: Australian Stock Horse
Country of origin: Australia
Breed origin: The roots of the Australian Stock Horse date back to the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788 when nine horses came off the ships. Some of the original horse breeds in these imports included the Thoroughbred, Arabian, Welsh Mountain Pony, Timor Pony and the Cape of Good Hope Horse (largely descended from the Barb and Spanish horse).
Horses in Australia were bred for their stamina and strength, with weaker animals culled and only the strongest allowed to breed on. In the 1830s, additional Thoroughbreds were imported into Australia to improve the local strains, and the mid-20th century saw infusions from the American Quarter Horse.
Formal recognition of the breed began in June 1971 when over 100 campdrafters and horse breeders met in Tamwork NSW to form the Australian Stock Horse Society (ASHS).
Distinguishing features: The Australian Stock Horse has been especially bred for Australia’s harsh conditions and is noted for its endurance, agility, intelligence and good temperament. They are extremely sure-footed and strong. Heights range from 14 to 16.2hh. Well proportioned in all respects according to its size, desired traits of the ASH include well defined withers, a deep chest, strong and broad back and powerful hindquarters.
Modern day Australian Stock Horse: There are close to 170,000 Australian Stock Horses registered with the ASHS and are used in many competitive disciplines including polo, polocross, dressage, campdrafting, show jumping, eventing and endurance riding. Due to its lovely temperament, many Australian Stock Horses can be found being ridden by children in Pony Club activities, and of course they are used for stock work on cattle stations.
Image Credit: Narelle Wockner Photography