Homes are again being sought for Kaimanawa horses after the Department of Conservation announced it will remove a further 111 wild horses from the Kaimanawa ranges.

Managing the herd numbers allows the horses that remain to maintain best condition and also protects the fragile ecosystems.

The Kaimanawa Heritage Horses Welfare Society (KHHWS) is once more taking up the challenge of a slaughter-free muster.

In the past more than 2680 horses have been removed from the ranges, with at least half of those being sent to slaughter.

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KHHWS spokesman Elder Jenks said adverse conditions, including limited food, drought-like conditions and the threat of a saturated market, made them worried about the possibility of finding suitable homes for such a large number of horses.

However, the society will continue to do everything possible to ensure the safety and survival of New Zealand's wild horses, Jenks said.

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Since 2014 every horse suitable to re-home has been saved and the society is hoping for another successful muster, considering the successes the breed is now achieving.

They are teaming up with Kelly Wilson, whose work featured in the television 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," she said.

The society will use the Freedom to Friendship training incentive where professional trainers will tame Kaimanawa stallions over a six-month period before competing for more than $10,000 in cash and prizes.

There will also be a wild card challenge where selected trainers will go head to head with professionals.

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The society will use the Freedom to Friendship training incentive, which will see professional trainers tame a stallion over a six-month period. Photo / File
The society will use the Freedom to Friendship training incentive, which will see professional trainers tame a stallion over a six-month period. Photo / File

In 2018, the Wilson sisters - Kelly, Vicki and Amanda - worked with 24 horses from the muster and mentored first-time trainers aged 12 to 23 years.

"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," they said.

A number of training initiatives, mentorship programmes and handling opportunities are being offered this year to make the horses more accessible to everyone.

The society encourages anyone interested in working with Kaimanawa horses to share their knowledge and register with the society.

They are also giving people the chance to sponsor the life of a wild Kaimanawa which will be placed with an approved trainer to ensure it gets the best start to domestic life.

Registrations close on April 1 and support is offered throughout the process for those interested.

To sponsor a Kaimanawa horse email sponsoralife@kaimanawaheritagehorses.org

All information and registration can be found online at www.kaimanawaheritagehorses.org