Wild horse muster to go ahead

More than 200 homes are required to meet this year’s Department of Conservation (DOC) muster target.

DOC Operations Manager, Dave Lumley says rehoming of as many horses as possible was an important part of a successful muster.

“Ideally all horses would be adopted, as was the case in 2018 and 2019, however we know it’s a real challenge for the groups to find so many suitable homes.”

“The number of horses to be removed was confirmed late February after the annual aerial survey. “With the herd in such good condition the reproduction rate is up at around 25% per year” Mr Lumley said.

He said the horse population had nearly doubled with no muster held in 2020 due to COVID-19.

“A herd greater than 300 not only impacts on the fragile environment and the condition of the horses but also increases the risk of horse migration towards SH1/the Desert Road and the related public safety concerns.”

All mustered horses that are fit for travel on a truck will be rehomed, but any horses deemed medically unfit by a vet, will be euthanised under vet supervision.

“The Department of Conservation would like to acknowledge the continued commitment and effort of the two rehoming groups Kaimanawa Heritage Horses and Kaimanawa Wild Horse Preservation Society in finding suitable homes for these horses,” he said.

The muster is now held on an annual basis.

“This allows DOC to manage the herd at the sustainable level of 300 horses within the Waiouru Military Training Area, as recommended by the Kaimanawa Wild Horse Advisory Group (KWHAG).”

This number allows for the horses in the herd to maintain best condition and protects the fragile ecosystems, unique to the Moawhango Ecological Zone.

The unique tussock grassland where the horses roam contains threatened plants, including at least 16 species in the New Zealand Threat Classification System, some of which are found nowhere else in the world.

Many of these plants occur in habitats that can sustain very little disturbance from horses.

Apply for rehoming

Contact the following for information and applications on rehoming a Kaimanawa wild horse.

Kaimanawa Heritage Horses Welfare Society

Kaimanawa Heritage Horses Welfare Society website (external site)
Email: muster@kaimanawaheritagehorses.org

Sue Rivers
Phone: +64 27 223 1637

Michele Haultain
Phone: +64 27 431 8082

Marilyn Jenks
Phone: +64 21 933 129

Kaimanawa Wild Horse Preservation Society

Sharyn Boness
Phone: +64 27 457 2040
Email: kaimanawawhps@gmail.com