A Comprehensive Comparison | 4 Australian and South American Warm Blooded Horse Breeds

Have you ever questioned if Australian and South American warm-blooded horse breeds are comparable? Search no further; this write-up is exclusively a treat for you! 

The article will provide you with an in-depth comparison of four Australian and South American Warm Blooded Horse Breeds. 

So keep reading to learn more about each horse breed’s main characteristics, origin, height, color, physique, and other helpful information.

Table of Contents (Horspedia)

Australian horse breed Waler | Characteristic traits and origin

The Waler is an Australian breed of riding horse, that descended from horses brought to the Australian colonies in the nineteenth century. In the table below, you can see what its origin, height, color, and character are. 

Origin Australia
HeightVaries; About 16hh is preferred
ColorAll colors
Character Brave, sensible, and enduring
Origin, height, color, and character of Waler Australian horse

Physique of the Australian horse breed waler

Varies considerably. The best have an alert head with a straight face, wide nostrils, longish ears, neck well set on strong shoulders, good depth of girth, strong back and hindquarters, clean legs with plenty of bone, and strong hocks.

Australian horse breed Waler/ all you need to know, contained in just 4 paragraphs

Horses are not indigenous to Australia. The earliest forerunners of the Waler-one stallion, three mares, a colt, and two fillies of predominantly Spanish blood were brought from the Cape of Good Hope with the First Fleet of settlers in 1798.

During the next few years, other, better quality imports were brought from England into the early settled territories then collectively known as New South Wales, from which the name “Waler” derives.

Waler Horse Breed Physique
Waler Horse Breed Physique

Australia’s extensive rich pastureland and warm, dry climate was and remain favorable to horse breeding, and the small numbers of early stock were easy to multiply. In 1810 Australia had 1,134 horses; in 1821, there were 4,564.

Massive improvement with top quality Arab and Thoroughbred imports produced a horse which, during the first half of the 19th century, came close to being an Anglo-Arab in all but name. It was highly regarded as a saddle horse and was much in demand as a cavalry remount by the British Army in India. 

What Caused the Rapid Deterioration of the Waler Pony Breed?

The gold rush of the 1850s and 1860s was responsible for the rapid deterioration of the Waler. Farming was neglected, and horses were allowed to roam pretty freely and often to breed as they chose; and in addition, demand for small draught horses to pack the gold encouraged many breeders to disregard the true saddle horse type.

Not until the 1880s, when accumulated gold began to burn the pockets of the newly rich, did interest tum to luxury hobbies such as racing and the breeding of quality horses. Then it was that the Waler was regenerated.

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As quality saddle stock, the Waler had its heyday early in the 20th century. Subsequent mechanization has led to a decline both in numbers and inconsistency of quality so that the Waler of today is more of a type than a breed. It had its finest hour during World War I, when more than 120,000 were exported for the Allied armies in India, Africa, Palestine, and Europe. 

Australian horse breed Brumby/Characteristic traits and origin explained

In the table below, you can find some of the most common character traits and origin of the Australian horse breed Brumby such as; the origin, height, color, physique, and character. 

Origin Australia
HeightVaries widely – usually a degenerated scrub horse.
ColorVaries widely – usually a degenerated scrub horse.
PhysiqueVaries widely – usually a degenerated scrub horse.
CharacterGenuine wild horse of considerable intelligence. Almost impossible to catch and, once caught, almost impossible to train. 
Origin, height, color, physique, and character of the Australian horse breed Brumby.

Origin of the name Brumby, revealed 

“Brumby” is the Australian name for “wild horse.” The origin of the name is not known, but it is thought to have come from one of three sources: from a pioneer, horse breeder called James Brumby, from “baroomby,” the Queen’s land aboriginal word for wild, or from Baramba, the name of a station and creek in Queensland. You will find information on the origin, height, color, and physique in the table below.

Brief History of the Australian horse breed Brumby

During the great gold rush of the mid-19th century, many domestic horses were turned loose on the ranges, breeding freely and in many cases becoming inbred and deteriorating in quality.

As is usual, when domestic horses run wild, only the most adaptable and the brainiest survive, but the Australian climate suits horses well, and Brumbies soon became so numerous that they became a threat to agriculture. 

Mechanization following World War I added to the problem when different quantities of unwanted domestic horses were set loose, and soon Brumbies were regarded as pests through the damage caused to pasture, fences, water holes, and their perpetual invitation to station horses.

Culling became necessary by gun, “running” into traps, and trapping through building concealed corrals along their favorite routes. In the early 1960s, Brumbies were hunted with jeeps, motorcycles, and light aircraft. Comparatively few remain: and these when caught, are hard to train and scarcely worth the effort.

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CRIOLLO | South American horse breed – Characteristic traits and origin

In the table below, you’ll find some of the most common characteristic traits of the Criollo South American horse breed, including; origin, height, and color.

Origin South America 
Character Immensely tough, willing, and possessing outstanding endurance.
Origin, height, and character of Criollo South American horse breed.

Color of the Criollo South American horse breed

Preferred color dun with dark points, a dorsal stripe, a dark snippet on withers, and slight zebra stripes on legs.

Usually, there are white markings on the legs and face. Other common colors include red and blue roan, liver chestnut palomino, mixed colors such as blue and white. Chestnut, gray, black, and bay are also seen.

Physique of the Criollo South american horse breed

Compact, sturdy, handsome animal. Head short and broad, tapering to a fine, pointed muzzle, straight face with wide-set, expressive eyes, short pricked ears.

Criollo Horse Breed Physique
Criollo Horse Breed Look

Muscular neck set on a deep, strong shoulder with a broad chest. Back short with well-sprung ribs and powerful loins. Rounded. muscular hindquarters. Legs are short with excellent bone, short pasterns, small, hard feet.

Key Points to note about South America horse breed

  • South America produces one of the hardiest breeds of horse in the world – the little Criollo, the mount of the gauchos of the great stock ranges of the central part of the continent.
  • With slight variations in height and refinement of type, it appears as the Criollo of Argentina and Uruguay, the Crioulo of Brazil, the Costeño and Morochuco types of Peru, the Caballo Chileno of Chile, and the Llanero of Venezuela. 
  • Though some of the forenamed types are pretty well distinct from the primary Criollo type shown in the illustration, all are descended from the same Spanish stock imported by the Conquistadors in the 16th century.
  • Refinements in the breed are due to variations in temperature and quality of pastureland, reared on the hills or in the plains, and selective breeding for particular qualities according to the local requirements.
  • The basic blood is Andalusian, Barb and Arab; the smallness and toughness is due to some 300 years of rigorous natural selection, during which herds of Criollos ran wild or semi-wild on the plains. And the curious range of sandy and dun colorings, unique in the Criollo, is held by many to have evolved as protective coloring in the wild.
  • In Argentina especially, people take great pride in the Criollo’s endurance, and stamina tests are held to select the best for breeding.
  • An annual ride is conducted by breeders in which the horses must cover 470 miles in 15 days carrying 17 stone (242lb), with nothing to eat or drink along the way; Except such food, as they can find for themselves during their periods of rest.
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MANGALARGA Brazilian horse breed/Characteristic traits and origin

Some of the most common characteristics of the Mangalarga Brazilian horse breed, such as origin, height, and color, are listed in the table below.

Origin Brazil
HeightRoughly 14.3hh
Color Bay, chestnut, gray, roan. Physique: Rather long, alert head with intelligent eyes.

Strong, sloping shoulder, prominent withers, short back with strong loins, powerful, rounded hindquarters with tail low set on. Legs are long, with good bones.

A lighter-framed horse than the Criollo, being less stocky in the body and longer in the cannon bones and patterns.
Origin, height, and color, of the Mangalarga Brazilian horse breed

The Mangalarga Brazilian horse breed is about 100 years old and is the product of Andalusian and Portuguese Altér stallions used on Crioulo mares.

Mangalarga Horse Breed Physique
Mangalarga Horse Breed Physique

The result is a riding horse of some elegance. In some instances, it has an unusual gait called the Marcha, which is a comfortable rocking movement between a trot and a canter. 


A similar but somewhat heavier breed called the Campolino exists in Brazil, useful under the saddle and also for light draught work.

It has more depth of girth and chest than the Mangalarga and is shorter in the pasterns and cannon bones. It was founded a century ago by Sr Cassiano Campolino.

PERUVIAN STEPPING HORSE breed/Characteristic traits and origin

You’ll find in the table below some of the most common characteristics of the Peruvian Stepping Horse breed, such as origin, height, color, character, and physique. 

Origin Peru
HeightRoughly 14-15.2hh
Color Preponderantly bay and chestnut, but can be any color
CharacterTypical Criollo personality – enormous endurance, and thrives under stress.
Physique Broad, deep chest, providing superior room for heart and lungs. Strong loins and quarters. Unusually long hind legs with great flexibility of the joints. Good bone, long pasterns, hard feet.
Origin, height, color, character, and physique of the Peruvian stepping horse breed.

 The Peruvian Stepping Horse also called the Peruvian Paso, has a unique gait specially developed to carry a rider long distances with minimal fatigue.

In Paso, the forelegs move in an extravagant paddle while the hindlegs move in a long-striding straight line with the hindquarters held low and the hocks well under the horse. 

The action appears similar to the medieval gait called the amble which is now and almost certainly to our disadvantage- unknown in Europe. Similarities to the Paso exist in some of the gaits of North American horses, such as the rack and the singlefoot, but it has no exact parallel.

It is a gait that can be kept up untiringly by the horse, even in rugged country terrain, and it is effortless on the rider. It has an average speed of about 11mph.

The Peruvian Stepper has been bred for 300 years, which explains its abnormal physical development. It is thought to have stemmed from three-quarters Barb and one-quarter Andalusian ancestry.

Still, under the same pressures of climate, terrain, and pasture that created the Criollo, it has evolved into a distinctive South American Criollo type.

To give a brief, through selection, inbreeding, and outcrossing, humans bred horses for speed, strength, endurance, size, good nature, hardiness, beauty, and athletic ability.

Today, there are over 300 horse breeds, Australian and South American horse breeds inclusive, with each breed being uniquely adapted to the purpose for which it was created. Therefore all horses are comparable.