It has taken two musters this year to reduce the herd of wild horses in the Kaimanawa/Waiouru area to a sustainable size, Conservation Department Central Plateau operations manager Dave Lumley said.

The first muster in April removed 175 horses. The second on June 9-10 in the Waiouru Military Training Area removed a further 131.

The musters are done every two years, to keep wild horse numbers at 300. This keeps the horses healthy and also reduces pressure on the delicate Moawhango Ecological Region, which contains many rare plants.

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A total of 306 horses were captured this year and new homes were found for all but seven. These seven were in such poor health they were unsuitable for rehoming, and were euthanised on site by a vet.

Kaimanawa Heritage Horses and Kaimanawa Wild Horse Preservation Society find homes for the horses.

They, and an environment group, the New Zealand Defence Force, Ngāti Rangi, vets and the SPCA, advise the department on horse management.