Top End horse breeder Janette Wilson has finally retired her once wild bush stallion, who has featured in many ceremonies honouring the Australian Light Horse soldiers and the Waler warhorses they rode in World War I.

Story Kerry Sharp   Photos Shane Eecen

“C’mon old man, c’mon,” Janette Wilson says as she gently coaxes her big bay stallion through his paces at her Lake Bennett horse sanctuary, 90 kilometres south of Darwin. Noble Comrade is in his late 20s and taking life fairly easy these days, but he still nuzzles up close, and bows and canters on command like he’s done for captivated audiences for 13 years. 

Watching the pair work so comfortably together, it’s hard to believe Janette would once never risk walking behind the stallion. “He was big, powerful and dangerous, and at first glance I doubted I could tame him enough to handle him safely. But he took a liking to me,” she says. “Once you win a Waler’s trust, it places its heart in your hand – and will die trying for you.”

The skilled Northern Territory horsewoman’s triumph in breaking in the feisty stallion produced a star performer for her small Waler stud and for public appearances across the country.

This story excerpt is from Issue #118

Outback Magazine: April/May 2018