The Light Horse Story

The gallant soldiers of the Australian Light Horse, noted for their unique and legendary military skills, feats of endurance, courage and mateship have played a part in Australian military history.

Recruiting for the Australian Light Horse began in 1914 for the war against Germany, prior to this there were already Light Horse Regiments made up of militia volunteers. Earlier mounted regiments were offshoots of British infantry regiments that policed convicts and colonial settlements alike.

From the initial four regiments of 2000 men, it grew by the end of the war to 15 actively serving regiments. Recruits underwent riding and medical tests, those who passed were allowed to bring their own horses, which if they met army standards were bought by the Commonwealth. Others were given horses called ‘Walers’ that were bred in New South Wales by graziers and breeders from a combination of draught horse and thoroughbred.

Horses were fitted with special military equipment so that the Light Horse Trooper could carry everything he needed to live and fight. Walers could carry huge loads for long distances, in searing heat, for hours at a stretch, the bond between man and horse growing as their lives came to depend on each other.