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NZ wild horses looking for new homes

April 14, 2007

A wild mare and foal on the Kaimanawa ranges.
Photo: KWHWT website
Wanted: around 100 new owners, ready to 'take a walk on the wild side' with one of New Zealand's iconic wild horses.

In late May, up to 140 wild kaimanawa horses will be mustered out of the Kaimanawa Ranges as part of the area's ecological management strategy. The Kaimanawa Wild Horse Welfare Trust Inc. (KWHWT) is taking applications now from people interested in homing a horse or horses from the muster.

"Kaimanawas are truly extraordinary horses," said KWHWT Chairman Elder Jenks.

"Once handled, they are clever, affectionate and versatile companions.

"Horses that have come out of the musters since 1993 are now doing everything you would expect from a domestic breed. All over the country there are kaimanawas in action on farms, trekking operations, at Pony Clubs and in all disciplines of equestrian competition."

Prospective owners who apply to KWHWT for a horse before the May 15 closing date will have their property checked for suitability by a KWHWT member, who can also offer advice on initial handling.

Waikato horse advocate Michele Haultain, owner of Liberty Kaimanawas and a KWHWT committee member, has handled many kaimanawas at her Ngahinapouri property. Haultain encouraged potential kaimanawa owners to do their research carefully before applying.

"The kaimanawas coming out of this muster are true wild horses who have never been in contact with humans," said Haultain. "In time they will do anything their owners ask of them, but in the early days they need sympathetic handling to ensure they make a successful transition to domestic life."

The cost for taking a kaimanawa from this year's muster has been set at $200 for the first horse and $170 for subsequent horses. This cost includes; initial property check, transport from the muster site to a central pickup point and membership and registration of the horse with KWHWT. A gelding rebate of $75 is also available to new owners who take colts.

"Including membership and registration costs within the purchase price is a vital strategy to help us keep track of the horses - and in touch with their new owners," said Elder Jenks.

"We can offer new owners any help, support and advice they need as they enjoy a lifetime of 'walking on the wild side' with a kaimanawa."



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