Caring homes are needed for horses with an "X-factor".

At least 70 Kaimanawa wild horses will be removed from the Waiouru Military Training Area in the next few months. Managing the herd numbers allows the horses that remain to maintain best condition and also protects the fragile ecosystems unique to the Moawhango Ecological Zone.

Kaimanawa Heritage Horses (KHH) chairwoman Kimber Brown and Kaimanawa Wild Horse Preservation Society (KWHPS) chairperson Sharyn Boness want to hear from people who are interested in taking a horse or horses from the muster, as well as those interested in sponsoring the placement and upkeep of a wild horse.

Applications for horses close on April 1 and so far only 13 have been received.


KHH welfare officer Michele Haultain said the horses are true wild horses which have never been in contact with humans.

"In time they will do anything their owners ask of them, but in the early days they need sympathetic handling to ensure they make a successful transition to domestic life," Haultain said.

"Kaimanawas have an X-factor, their senses are acute and they have proven to be very trainable.

"Given the right environment they are very curious, honest and friendly and are suitable for a variety of equine disciplines."

They have become popular as sport horses, with the reduction in herd numbers improving the horses' condition and their height.

"Ideally all suitable horses will be rehomed, as was the case for the horses mustered in 2016 and 2018," Department of Conservation operations manager Dave Lumley said.

"However, we know it's a real challenge for the rehoming groups to find so many suitable homes."

As many horses as possible will be rehomed, but any deemed medically unfit by a vet will be euthanised under vet supervision.


The rehoming groups can offer support and advice to new owners.

More information and an application form are available online at Applications close on Monday, April 1.