Homes found for all Kaimanawa horses

By melissa.nightingale@wanganuichronicle.co.nz

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LAST LOT: The final group of horses for this year are mustered from the Kaimanawa on Wednesday afternoon.
LAST LOT: The final group of horses for this year are mustered from the Kaimanawa on Wednesday afternoon.

For the first time ever, all the horses caught in the Kaimanawa muster can be rehomed.

More than 100 horses were rounded up on Wednesday for this year's muster, but none will be heading to the abattoir.

Kaimanawa Heritage Horses Trust chairman Elder Jenks said one of the 104 horses mustered had to be put down because it had an injury, but they had homes available for the other 103.

At the end of March the trust was desperate for applications from people wanting to rescue one of the wild horses.

They had received only 17 applications and there were just several days left for people to apply.

"The media got behind it," Mr Jenks said. "It just happened very quickly."

With the attention given to the issue, applications poured in within "virtually a few days".

"They were coming in thick and fast."

In the end, rehoming organisations received more than 160 applications and were able to look at 120 potential homes.

Mr Jenks said it was the first time they were able to rehome all of the horses, instead of sending extras to the abattoir.

Community ranger Amelia Willis said there were 109 homes available after the vetting process.

"The rehoming groups have done such a fantastic job in finding homes," she said.

Miss Willis called Wednesday's muster a "successful operation".

"It went really well ... everything went really smoothly.

"Everyone's really happy with how it's gone this year."

The Department of Conservation operation aims to keep the horse population in the Kaimanawa Ranges at 300 to protect the environment and the condition of the animals.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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