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Kaimanawa muster delayed, but enough homes found

May 26, 2010

by Neil Clarkson

Poor weather has delayed the Kaimanawa horse muster, but a late surge of applications has ensured all animals suitable for rehoming will move on to a new life.

Horses are yarded following an earlier Kaimanawa muster. © Waikato Times/Kaimanawa Wild Horse Welfare Trust
Kaimanawa Wild Horse Welfare Trust chairman Elder Jenks said his group had homes arranged for more than 80 horses.

"We have more homes than horses," he told Horsetalk.

Another group dedicated to the horses, The Kaimanawa Wild Horse Preservation Society, said it had managed to secure homes for 18 horses.

The muster was scheduled for today, subject to weather. However, low cloud, rain and wind had affected the Kaimanawa Ranges for days.

Jenks predicted the helicopter-driven muster would not get under way until the weekend, or early next week.

Between 118 and 148 horses will be targeted.

Typically, the muster will comprise roughly a third of older males (three years and older), a third mares and a third foals and yearlings.

Jenks said most offering homes sought younger stock, but there was a broader mix of requests this year, with a lot more requesting two to four-year-old stock than usual.

Bringing in horses from the ranges in 2008. © Waikato Times/Kaimanawa Wild Horse Welfare Trust
The trust checked the homes of all prospective applicants and about a dozen were turned down. He said it was impossible to bring on a wild horse without the proper facilities, including secure fencing and proper pens.

Most of the males three years and older will go slaughter within 24 hours of the muster to minimise the stress on them, although some will be found a home.

Jenks said the number of horses ultimately available for adoption would depend not only on the numbers pulled from the range, but on the number of animals assessed by a veterinarian as being in good enough condition for rehoming.

He says, with the likelihood they have more homes than horses, some people may ultimately be disappointed. He said his trust had already cut back numbers among those seeking multiple animals.

Preservation Society spokeswoman Kathy Meredith said her group had found homes for 18 horses, mostly in the Wairarapa, which had been unaffected by drought.

Eight homes were for youngsters, and the other 10 for mares, fillies and colts in the two to five-year age bracket.

She said checks had been run on the prospective homes.



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