Date: 08 May 2009
Ever thought of adopting a Kaimanawa horse? If so, now is the time to get your application in, with the 2009 muster scheduled for early June.
The Department of Conservation (DOC) manages the herd on the Waiouru Military Training Area, off the Desert Road in the central North Island. Some of the horses are mustered for removal each year to control the population and maintain it in a sustainable and healthy state, and to prevent damage to threatened species in this fragile landscape.
Most of the horses to be removed this year will be from the Argo basin, and the area east of the Moawhango dam. The Kaimanawa Wild Horse Advisory Group has recommended that the herd size be reduced from its current 500 to improve the sustainability of both herd management, and re-homing processes in future years. Consequently the muster this year will be larger than normal to begin this reduction.
The Kaimanawa Wild Horse Welfare Trust (KWHWT) and the Kaimanawa Wild Horse Preservation Society (KWHPS) are working hard to find suitable homes for as many horses as possible. Elder Jenks, President of KWHWT, says “We are always most interested in finding homes for the young foals and yearlings first.” However, he suggests mares with foals at foot are a great option too for people with a bit more land. “They are more settled and easier to handle while their focus is on their off-spring” he said. “Mares are often in foal at the time of muster so people get great value with this option and the later thrill of the birth of a new foal”.
The Kaimanawa Wild Horse Advisory Group advises and assists DOC in managing the herd. Membership includes the two horse welfare groups, tangata whenua, RNZSPCA, Forest and Bird, NZ Veterinary Association, NZ Defence Force and NZ Army, Taranaki-Whanganui Conservation Board, and neighbouring landowners.
“Adopting a Kaimanawa horse is easy,” says DOC’s Area Manager Jason Roxburgh. “You just apply to either of the re-homing groups, who will talk you through the process and ensure prospective owners have a suitable environment for the horses”. Applications need to be submitted now if you are interested in adopting a Kaimanawa horse from the 2009 muster. Both groups have a similar process to approve owners, and offer follow up and support to people who to adopt horses.