South Island lifeline for Kaimanawa horses

One of Jill Dickie's Kaimanawa horses.
One of Jill Dickie’s Kaimanawa horses.

A Christchurch woman is spearheading efforts to bring New Zealand’s Kaimanawa wild horses to the South Island from this year’s muster.

Jill Dickie, one of two South Island representatives for Kaimanawa Heritage Horses who check and approve applicants wanting to rehome horses from the Department of Conservation musters, said no South Islanders had yet applied to take a horse from the roundup. “It hasn’t been helped by the muster being brought forward.”

Potential South Island adopters of wild horses  face extra costs in rehoming the horses. In her experience, it is usually around $1300 to $1400 to bring a Kaimanawa wild horse to the Canterbury area after the muster, including purchase, handling, and transport.

Dickie, whose Facebook page Kaimanawas of Tannahill gives updates on her horses from previous musters, said it is a requirement for horses to be halter-trained and be able to be led before they are trucked to the South Island.

“We have to pay a North Island handler, and this can cost around $5oo to $600, depending on how long it takes and the horse’s needs.”

Transport to Christchurch can be about $500.

But the long-time Kaimanawa supporter is determined to help save as many horses as possible, and is seeking help with the costs associated in getting horses across the Cook Strait.

“Every horse adopted or sponsored is a life saved. Those that do not have an allocated home will be trucked to the abattoir. All of us working with the Kais wish this did not happen, but this is part of the non-negotiable rules and we are very lucky to be able to adopt as many as possible instead.”

Dickie urged those wanting to help to consider donating to the cause to get some of the horses to the South Island.

“If people are not able to adopt then there is the sponsorship option,” she said.

“I think they’re worth saving.”

Those wanting to support Dickie’s effort to bring horses to the South Island can do so here. Those wanting to support Kaimanawa Heritage Horses directly can do so here.

Other important links in relation to the adoption process, the application form, and Kaimanawa Heritage Horses can be found at the foot of this story.


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