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Free wild horse registrations this month

August 13, 2010

The Kaimanawa Horse Breed Society is offering free registrations to Kaimanawa horses and ponies this month, in a special promotion aimed at ensuring the breed's sustainability.

According to the society's secretary, Isabel Park, there are no stallions currently registered with the society. "Unless we do have a number of stallions, the Kaimanawa could be a dying breed," she said.

"I personally have been looking around as I would like to put my Kaimanawa mare into foal next season ... but without any luck."

Anyone with a Kaimanawa stallion should contact the society, she said.

The society is also offering to profile stallions on its website.

In other promotional endeavours, the society is planning a Kaimanawa Breed Show in March 2011, which is expected to be held at Waikanae Park as the venue. A variety of classes are on offer, including paced and mannered, turnout, best rider, and games and jumping classes.

Dozens of background articles on Kaimanawa horses are featured on the website of the society, which was formed in July 1997. Its aim is to preserve, promote, and protect the strain of the Kaimanawa wild horses in the wild, as well as those in captivity.

The society held the first Kaimanawa show in November 1998.

Kaimanawa Wild Horses are listed by the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations, Rome, as a special herd of genetic value. Scientific comparisons can be made between this population and other groups of wild or feral horses such as free living zebra, New Forest ponies, Assateague ponies and wild mustangs. The Kaimanawa population is of special value since there has been comparatively little interference by man.

In an article on the history of the Kaimanawa Wild Horse, James Boyd said that while the first horses were introduced into New Zealand by Samuel Marsden in December 1814, it was not until 1876 that the first wild horses were recorded in the Kaimanawa mountains.

Between 1858 and 1875 Major George Gwavas Carlyon imported Exmoor ponies to Hawkes Bay. These were crossed with local stock and a sure footed breed known as the Carlyon pony resulted.

Sir Donald Mclean imported two welsh stallions, Dinarth Caesar and Comet. When crossed with the "Carlyon" a small stature, sure footed, robust horse resulted. These became known as the "Comet" breed.

During the 1870s Mclean released a "Comet" stallion and several mares on the Kaingaroa plains. In later years this bloodline was reportedly apparent in the wild population.

Over the years that followed, other horses contributed to the bloodline of this wild population. There were escapes and releases of horses from sheep runs in the area and in 1941 horses from the mounted rifle cavalry units at Waiouru were released when a strangles epidemic threatened. It is also reported that Nicholas Korneff released an Arab stallion into the area during the 1960s.

With the varied gene input that followed their origins, the horses have generally become larger in stature than their pony forebears and there is also some variation in their conformation and build. The horses are, however, generally known for their calmness and inquisitiveness and in many of the bands, the classic characteristics of the Comet breed are still clearly exhibited.

Following the 1993 round-up, an equine expert with considerable experience of the Welsh and New Forest breeds commented that the herd bore a remarkable resemblance to the New Forest ponies.



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