Natrually wild


 In the foothills of the Kaimanawa Mountains and the Volcanic Plateau of the Central North Island of New Zealand live a special group of wild horses.
These horses are called Kaimanawa - say Khi ma na wah.
Kaimanawa translates from  Maori as 'eat the wind.' This means that the brave must survive on their own resources even when food is scarce and the future is in doubt, the brave will 'eat the wind' and somehow endure.
This pretty much sums up the plight of the Kaimanawa today.
Each year around 200 of them are rounded up by The Department of Conservation and associated parties in order to keep the numbers running free at around 500.
The captured horses are either sold to the public or sent for slaughter depending on their age and avialabity of approved homes.



The first horses to come to New Zealand arrived at the end of 1814.
The first recorded sighting of horses running wild in the Kaimanawa Mountain Range  was in 1876. Through the 1800's a variety of different breeds were either released or escaped to begin breeding in the wild.
Some of the breeds known to feature in the Kaimanawa's history are the Exmoor and Welsh ponies, Arabs, Thoroughbreds and the Clydesdale.
Early Cavalry and Stock horses have also influenced the Kaimanawa gene pool.



While the Kaimanawa of today can come in any colour and ranges in height from medium sized pony to small horse, their distinction lies in their intelligence, temperament, movement, soundness and robust health, all of which would be fully developed by being born in the wild and having to use their brain and body from the moment they stand up after birth in order to survive to adulthood.
What a shame they can't stay where they were born.


Photo courtesy of Martine Van Hove

Photo courtesy of Martine Van Hove

Photo courtesy of Martine Van Hove


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