Central Hawke's Bay's Flemington School children had a change from the normal routine yesterday morning when the Wilson sisters, stars of the TV One hit show Keeping Up With The Kaimanawas, paid a special visit.
They were there at the invitation of Central Hawke's Bay equestrian Claire Wilson, who knows and competes with the sisters.
"I was running a low-level class at the Central and Southern Hawke's Bay Show in January, and the Wilsons were there and suggested I could give away a spot prize for a young rider to meet them and sit on one of their horses," Claire said.
"As it turned out they were running a clinic in Taupo in the last few days and they agreed to come out to the school on their way to another one in Masterton."
The lucky winner of that competition was Flemington School student Zara von Dadelszen, 7, a keen horse rider and competitor herself.
Zara, and some other children who won a colouring contest organised by the sisters, had the extra treat of a short ride on the two horses that came to visit on Friday, Argo and Showtym Spotlight.
Vicky Wilson said she got Argo as a rising three-year-old from the biennial Department of Conservation Kaimanawa muster.
"He's four now. He was ugly when we got him but now he's started to grow. He doesn't get worked too hard and we will keep him forever - he's very special."
Argo proved how special he was, walking around behind a big ball kicking it with his front leg, and then lying down for children to come and sit on him.
Showtym Spotlight also had some tricks up his sleeve, holding his front leg up on command.
Last week the Kaimanawa Heritage Horses Welfare Society (KHH) was reeling from the unexpected news that the upcoming muster, usually held at the end of May, had been brought forward to the end of April this year.
About 100 horses were expected to be mustered by helicopters and removed from the Waiouru Military Training Grounds in the central North Island.
Kelly Wilson said the new timing for the muster meant the sisters had had to change their plans.
"We were meant to be in the United States working with Mustangs."
Once the muster is over, however, they will be heading to New South Wales, Australia, to work with wild brumbies.
"We'll be going in mid-June, which will give us long enough to tame the brumbies and fly back with them to New Zealand and keep working with the Kaimanawas."
She said while the brumbies were in New Zealand they would be taken to this year's Equidays being held from October 14 to 16 at Mystery Creek in Hamilton.
Applications for this year's muster close on April 1.
In Central Hawke's Bay Takapau's Tracey Thompson is a registered handler with KHH, and is in her third year of taking in horses from the muster.
As well as keeping them for herself, she is happy to help people out with the initial handling.
"For those of you who would love to take on a horse from the muster, but either don't have the experience to handle a wild horse or don't have the facilities, we can help."
In the past she said it had taken anywhere from four weeks to two months to get the horses ready and tame enough to go home with their new owners.
She said the horses' lives depended on people putting their hands up to help them.
"I can assure you, you won't regret it. It is a magical journey working with these magnificent horses."
-For more information, visit the Kaimanawa Krazy Facebook page.