Kaimanawa Heritage Horses Welfare Society (KHH) Press Release
Thursday, 17 March 2016, 12:29 pm
The Kaimanawa Heritage Horses Welfare Society (KHH) is reeling from the unexpected news that the biennial Department of Conservation muster of Kaimanawa horses, has been brought forward to the end of April, this year.
“The musters [roundups] have always been conducted around the end of May, beginning of June, so to be told just two days ago, that we’ve lost a month of campaigning for suitable homes, has really put us on the back foot!”, says Elder Jenks, Chairman of the Society. “The timing of the musters has always been critical to ensuring that foals are old enough to be weaned from their mothers and the mares (who are usually heavily in foal) are fit to travel. We’re really concerned that bringing the date forward by a month, could seriously impact both the welfare of the horses and our ability to find enough suitable homes, in time.”
Around 100 horses are expected to be mustered by helicopters and removed from the Waiouru Military Training Grounds in the central North Island.
“We’ve been told to expect the muster to commence on the 26th of April so we only have a matter of weeks to find suitable homes for the horses to go to, complete our checks of prospective homes and arrange transport. It’s a monumental task!” says Jenks. “Those that don’t have homes to go to will be sent to the abattoir, so our volunteers are working every available hour to get word out to the public, and try to secure homes”.
The Kaimanawa Heritage Horses Welfare Society rehomed a record number of horses from the 2014 muster with just 15 sent to slaughter.
Nineteen stallions from that muster were allocated to professional horse trainers around the North Island to compete in the society’s first training initiative, the ‘Kaimanawa Stallion Challenge’, to promote the trainability of once wild horses.
“It was an enormous success which exceeded everyone’s expectations. The publicity generated was hoped to increase interest in the horses and encourage more members of the equestrian public, to take up the challenge and train a wild horse for themselves, in 2016”, says Jenks. “Although the Stallion Challenge well and truly achieved our objective at the time, we really need all those who were inspired, to come forward now and put in their application for a horse”.
Despite the success of the competition and increase in public interest, the society is yet to receive a single application for any of the 100 horses due to be mustered. The Society’s muster coordinator, Simone Frewin advised that another Stallion Challenge is being planned for professional horse trainers, again this year, which will help homes at least 10 of the older stallions, but that still leaves around 90 horses vulnerable to slaughter.
People looking to adopt horses from the muster, will need to have secure stockyards and some experience with unhandled horses. However, there are options available for those who either don’t have the facilities or experience to handle a wild horse from scratch.
“We have a very experienced network of horse handlers who are available to handle wild horses on behalf of new owners”, she said. “These horses may be wild but they’re more scared than anything. With time and patient handling, they make incredible riding companions and sport ponies. Too many good ponies go to slaughter simply because people hesitate and the deadline passes”.
Applications close on the 1st of April. For further information, visit Kaimanawa Heritage Horses website http://www.kaimanawaheritagehorses.org. Contact Simone Frewin 09 431 6111 or Elder Jenks 09 236 4115
ABOUT THE HORSES
Kaimanawa horses are distinctly important to New Zealand’s history. They are identified by their unique characteristics and their “Willing to Please” personalities which make them the perfect all round pony for all ages.
Every 2 years, the Department of Conservation (DoC) round up approximately 140 horses out of the ranges, which have to be vet checked, and then it is decided if they are suitable to be rehomed or if they need to go to slaughter.
Featured Image: Kaimanawa wild horses. Also from http://kaimanawahorses.neocities.org/