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Source: Kaimanawa Heritage Horses

Despite limited food, drought like conditions across the country, and the threat of a saturated market, Kaimanawa Heritage Horses Welfare Society are again taking up the challenge for another slaughter free muster, following the announcement that the Department of Conservation will be removing a further 111 wild Kaimanawa horses from the ranges in April.  

“Regardless of these adverse conditions, that naturally make us worried about the possibility of finding suitable homes for such a large number of horses, we will continue to do everything possible to ensure the safety and survival of New Zealand’s wild horses,” says KHHWS spokesperson Elder Jenks.

In the past over 2680 horses have been removed from the ranges, with at least half of those being sent to slaughter. Since 2014 however, every horse suitable to re-home has been saved and Kaimanawa Heritage Horses is hoping for another successful muster considering the ongoing successes the breed is now achieving.

Kaimanawa Heritage Horse Welfare Society, are again teaming up with Kelly Wilson, whose work with New Zealand’s wild horses featured in the television hit-rating show Keeping Up With The Kaimanawas, and she urges people to get involved.

“The wild Kaimanawa horses have a remarkable ability to adapt to domestication and embrace the many changes ahead of them. They truly deserve a second chance at life.”

In recent years mustered Kaimanawas’ have gone on to become ultimate Pony Club all-rounders, some of New Zealand’s leading Grand Prix show jumpers, and quiet children’s ponies, while others have trekked the length of New Zealand or gained a huge public following as iconic ambassadors of the breed.

Kaimanawa Heritage Horses will be building on the success of the Freedom to Friendship training incentive, which will see professional trainers’ tame a stallion over a six-month period before competing for over $10,000 in cash and prizes. A wild card challenge will also see nominated and selected trainers go head to head with the professionals.

A number of training initiatives, mentorship programs and handling opportunities are also being offered this year to make these remarkable horses more accessible to everyday people.

In 2018, the Wilson Sisters worked with 24 horses directly from the muster, mentoring 10 first-time trainers, aged 12 to 23 years, and said it was a life changing experience for everyone involved.

“The skills you learn taming a wild horse isn’t possible anywhere else; the Kaimanawas body language is much more authentic than a domestic horse, and they really do enhance your horsemanship”.

We have a growing list of professional trainers who are willing to share their experience and knowledge of working with Kaimanawa horses and we encourage people to register their interest early as these opportunities prove very popular.

This year Kaimanawa Heritage Horses are also offering people the chance to sponsor the life of a wild Kaimanawa, with sponsored horses being placed with approved trainers to ensure they get the best start possible to domesticated life. Tax deductible donations can be made by emailing or by visiting our webstore.

Applications for homes close on the 1st April with full support offered throughout the entire process. A committed and highly trained team of Area Representatives are available throughout the country.

For more information regarding applying for a Kaimanawa horse, visit