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Kaimanawa Horses Passed Muster

Kaimanawa Horses Passed Muster



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Kaimanawa Horses Passed Muster

20 MAY 2008

A recent appeal for people to re-home Kaimanawa horses from the annual muster has left many potential owners having to wait patiently until next year. While not all horses mustered are suitable for re-homing due to their age or condition, for the second year running, all that were suitable found a good home. Thus the muster had positive results for both horse lovers and environmentalists as not only is the habitat protected and a healthy Kaimanawa horse population maintained but also the population of well cared for Kaimanawa horses in private ownership continues to grow..

New homes for 67 of the horses have been found, with 36 either assessed by vets as unfit for re-homing or older horses that people are less willing to home. Marilyn Jenks from the Kaimanawa Wild Horse Welfare Trust (KWHWT), the group that re-homed all the horses this year, is encouraging people to plan now for next year. “Make contact with us soon to make sure you get the kind of horse that suits you best.” She encourages experienced people to consider taking older horses. “The more mature 3-4 year old horses can still be excellent pets and are beautiful animals” she enthused.

The horses were mustered from the Waiouru Military Training Area over the weekend in perfect weather conditions, 86 coming from the southern section where the herd is maintained at around 500. The balance came from the remote and ecologically more fragile northern section. The horses mustered from the northern section have been kept together as a herd on a property near Dannevirke.

This year there were proportionally less juveniles, which are very popular to re-home as they adapt more easily to being handled, than normal. The mustered horses are not selected for their condition, age or qualities. In order to keep a natural balance of gender and age in the herd, entire groups are kept together.

Bill Fleury was overseeing the operation for the Department of Conservation (DOC) this year. He has been closely involved since annual musters began in 1993. “The muster is an intense event requiring good weather conditions, skilled helicopter pilots, robust logistical planning and an experienced mustering team. It all came together this year without a hitch”. DOC has been fortunate to have retained the same mustering team since 1993 and to have the expertise of Feilding veterinarian, Nigel Coddington, a key figure in assessing and advising on the health of the mustered horses.

The Kaimanawa Wild Horses exhibit a genetic background of thoroughbred and standard bred stock and most likely originated from Cavalry horses turned out from Waiouru in 1941, along with farm escapees and liberations of stock horses from surrounding farms as motorbikes and 4WD vehicles became the preferred form of transport.

People interested in adopting a Kaimanawa horse next year are encouraged to make contact now. Details of the re-homing groups on the DOC website www.doc.govt.nz

ENDS

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