Kaimanawa Horses
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About Kaimanawa HorsesAbout Kaimanawa Horses



Kaimanawa are wild horses from New Zealand. The first horsesrnarrived in New Zealand in 1814, and mobs of feral horses were reported as earlyrnas the 1870s. The principal (and only remaining) herds became established in thernNorth Island's Central Plateau, where they became known in general as the "KaimanawarnWild Horses".

rnrnBecause of increasing concern by the public for their supposedrndeclining numbers, a Committee, under the umbrella of the Forest Service, was formedrnin 1978 to look after the horses' interests, and a protected area was establishedrnin 1981.

rnrnSubsequently, the Department of Conservation raised questionsrnregarding the impact of the horses on the environment in the area, noting that thernmajor threat to native plants and habitats within the wild horses’ range was thernhorses themselves. A culling program aroused great public opposition.

rnrnThe Department also carried out research that showed that thernanimals were not a distinct breed but were the result of many different geneticrninfluences. There was no genetic evidence of special relationships with breeds suchrnas the Exmoor pony as had been suggested by those supporting the herds’ retention.rn(While the Kaimanawa horses are listed by the Food and Agricultural Organizationrn(FAO) in its register of “biologically unique equines” (as recommended originallyrnby the ‘Wild Horse Committee’), their inclusion is currently being reviewed on therngrounds that they do not actually fit the criteria for inclusion.)

rnrnThe Department of Conservation currently holds an annual musterrnof Kaimanawa horses to maintain numbers in the wild at a manageable level, and capturedrnhorses are made available for domestication.

rnrnFor some years there has been strong public interest in thisrnferal breed, and groups (such as the Kaimanawa Wild Horse Welfare Trust) have beenrnformed to promote their preservation and protection, both in the wild and underrndomestication. A ‘Kaimanawa Consortium’, which includes representatives of theserngroups, plus bodies such as the SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals)rnand local iwi (Maori people), has also been formed to communicate support for thernwelfare of the horses to the New Zealand Government.

rnrnA breed register is being kept for domesticated Kaimanawa horsesrnand they have become increasingly represented in the show ring.

rnrnContent and Photo Source: New Zealand Rare Breeds (www.rarebreeds.co.nz  )rnrn

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