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Posted on Wed, May 30, 2007 22:00

week-long delay in the Kaimanawa Wild Horse Muster has given several horses another chance at life, after organisers were able to find more approved homes able to adopt the horses. But horses for whom homes cannot be found are destined for slaughter. Since the delay and the need for more help was publicised, the response from concerned people has meant the number of approved homes for horses has almost doubled. Several sponsors have also been secured to ensure the future of more horses. The prospect of bad weather over the time of the 2007 Kaimanawa Wild Horse Muster has meant yet another delay, giving a little more breathing space for welfare agencies involved with the Kaimanawa horses time to find homes and sponsors for the horses. The Department of Conservation is aiming to begin mustering on May 30-31, but this is weather dependant. The weather in the Kaimanawa Ranges is often extreme with low cloud closing, in making visibility impossible. Due to the use of helicopters to conduct the muster, weather conditions must be near perfect for the safety of all concerned. While the previous delay was welcomed by KWHWT Inc. in order to find more homes for horses, this latest delay has come as a blow as it coincides with the movement of cattle around the country as sharemilkers embark on "gypsy day" on June 1. This provides new challenges with rescheduling stock trucks for horses and ensuring space for them at holding yards which are due to be full of cattle at the same time. The Kaimanawa Wild Horse Management Plan indicates that the muster must be completed by the end of June to minimise the stress on pregnant mares. The cost for taking a kaimanawa from this year's muster has been set at $200 for the first horse and $170 for subsequent horses. This cost includes initial property check, transport. Sponsorship options are also available for those unable to have a horse. Sponsoring a horse costs $170, which includes two worming doses for the horse, registration and transport from the muster yards in Waiouru. There's also an ongoing sponsorship programme of $10 per week towards the cost of keeping one horse; or interested people can make a one-off donation. More on sponsorship Up to 120 Kaimanawa horses face the prospect of slaughter, with just 30 homes found for the estimated 150 horses to be taken from the volcanic plateau before the end of the month. The muster has been delayed by authorities in a bid to give welfare organisations a chance to find more homes. However, it will proceed on May 24 and 25, and people interested in adopting need to contact the Kaimanawa Wild Horse Welfare Trust (KWHWT) as soon as possible. "The Kaimanawa Wild Horse Welfare Trust has so far approved homes for 30 of the 150 horses coming out of the Kaimanawa Ranges in this year's muster," said KWHWT Chairman Elder Jenks. "That leaves a lot of horses still needing caring homes with suitably experienced new owners. "Any mustered horses which do not find homes will go to the slaughterhouse and be turned into pet food. That is a tragic and unnecessary end for animals that are unique to New Zealand and treasured by many as a national icon." Mr Jenks encouraged anyone who has ever considered taking a kaimanawa to contact The Kaimanawa Wild Horse Welfare Trust urgently. "Trust members would be delighted to offer prospective new owners any help, support and advice they need as they apply to 'take a walk on the wild side' with a kaimanawa."


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