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Applications open for Kaimanawa wild horses

April 24, 2010

Homes for about 100 wild horses are needed urgently.

Applications are now open to buy a Kaimanawa Wild Horse from this year's Department of Conservation muster.

The Kaimanawa Wild Horse Welfare Trust says the upcoming muster may prove to be one of the last, with the possibility long-term contraceptives will be used to control horse numbers.

The muster will take place at the end of May or beginning of June, depending on the weather. About 100 horses of the 150 scheduled to be removed will be in need of suitable homes.

Those interested in taking on a Kaimanawa horse will need solid stock yards (suitable for cattle, not sheep) with good winter access for a stock truck. They will also need to be experienced with handling horses and preferably have experience with young or unhandled horses.

All potential homes are checked for suitability prior to placement of horses.

The wild herd is currently being reduced from 500 horses to 300 and it is anticipated, if the trials are successful, that immuno-contraception will become the preferred method of population control.

It will mean horses will need to be mustered only every 2-3 years instead of annually, which will significantly reduce the cost of managing the population and also negate stress placed on horses by the muster process.

However, this also means that wild horses may no longer be available to the public for purchase.

"If you have ever considered owning a wild horse, NOW is the time to do it!" trust spokeswoman Simone Frewin said.

"It is an incredibly rewarding experience for those who enjoy working with unhandled horses."

She urged anyone not able to take a horse to consider becoming a sponsor, as those unable to be placed are sent for slaughter (details appear below).

Kaimanawa Wild Horses have incredible temperaments and are delightful to interact with, she says.

"They're flourishing in pony clubs around New Zealand as great all-rounders and are highly sought-after as jumpers, eventers and games ponies."

Frewin says anyone who doesn't have a stock-loading ramp or suitable yards, or aren't sure they can cope with a wild horse can still get in touch.

"We may be able to help. There are options available to have your wild horse halter broken and taught to lead before coming to you for a little additional cost," Frewin said.



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