Kaimanawa Feral Horses
 By Valkyrie   •   13th Jan 2010   •   4,161 views   •   14 comments
I'm sure you've all heard of Mustangs, right? Brumbies? Camargues?

There are many different types and breeds of feral horses in the world, but for some reason the Kaimanawa is always neglected from the breed books. I will celebrate the day I find them in one, but sadly it seems I will have to write my OWN book to achieve that.

The Kaimanawa (pronounced ky-man-ah-wah) is a feral breed of horses native to my home country of New Zealand. They live in a region called the Kaimanawa Ranges, on a protected area inside the Waiouru (wy-ooh-roo) Military Training Area, which lies in the mid-North Island. They are a hardy breed, used to extreme conditions and little food.

The first horses were brought to New Zealand by Samuel Marsden in 1814, and in 1876 wild horses were first reported in the Kaimanawa Ranges. Between 1858 and 1875, Major George Carlyon imported Exmoor Ponies and crossed them with local stock to produce a pony known as the Carlyon pony. The Carlyon pony was then crossed with two Welsh stallions to produce the Comet pony.

Some of the Comet ponies were released and crossed with the already feral stock (which was a mix of escaped horses and those released from the military area). It is also thought that an Arabian stallion was once released to improve the feral ponies.

Over the years the population has been culled to make way for farming land. It is said they pose a threat to native grasses (which they don't even eat), to military manouvres and to motorists driving on Desert Road (though no accidents for either have ever been recorded).

In 1979 only 174 ponies remained. In 1981 their population and statistics began to be measured officially and a protected area within the military training area was formed for them to habit. By 1994 over 1,750 horses existed.

Because of the mixes of breeds, Kaimanawas vary, much like Mustangs. They range in height from 12.2 hands to 15 hands high. Any coat colour, pattern and marking is accepted. They are very good-doers, managing well on little feed, and are hardy with good feet and muscle.

These days, Kaimanawas are used for a variety of things. Massey University students study their behaviour in the wild, to help understand how horses interact with one another. Every year there is a muster. The breeding stock is released, while the rest is sold off to horse lovers or the pet-food industry. There are many organisations dedicated to protecting and preserving the Kaimanawa breed, and special classes have been started in major New Zealand shows to encourage people to enjoy the ponies as competitive horses.

New Zealand has many horse breeds, but none are recognised internationally. Apart from the Kaimanawa, we also have the New Zealand Sporthorse, New Zealand Sport Pony, New Zealand Warmblood, New Zealand Stationbred (we've actually had one of these horses compete at the Athens Olympics called NZ Madison) and many other breeds that are just coming to light.
Horse News More In This Category:  Horse Stories      Horse News More From This Author:  Valkyrie
That is really cool. I've rarely heard of any of those breeds.
  Jan 13, 2010  •  2,485 views
Very good post!!! I have a mustang that i Team Sort and do Gymkhana on !! =D
  Jan 13, 2010  •  2,641 views
Interesting, I had never even heard of that breed before. You are right they aren't normally in breed books.
  Jan 14, 2010  •  2,486 views
It's an interesting article, when I think of it I've never heard or read anything about horses in NZ. I thought this was because there were no native breeds and therefore not an interesting country for breed books. So write that book!
  Jan 14, 2010  •  2,521 views
LCM London Girl Merger  MOD 
you def need to write that book on NZ horses, I' buy it :) great artical
  Jan 14, 2010  •  2,488 views
Comanche Ranch  
they're really cute, they have the form of my mustang. =]
  Jan 14, 2010  •  2,592 views
Valkyrie   MOD 
Hmm ... I think I just may write a bit more about New Zealand breeds lol.
  Jan 14, 2010  •  2,486 views
I read a book about them, it was a fictionional novel but it was still pretty cool. It was called "Wild Spirit" :)
  Jan 14, 2010  •  2,498 views
Apache Hills Valley  
I have actually hear about these breeds amazing. But thats only because My Cousin went there a few times. And he keeps going back. So he learned some of the horses breeds there and told me +)
  Jan 15, 2010  •  2,486 views
LCM London Girl Merger  MOD 
I found a site that sells the breeds.... veeeeery tempted if a 15hh comes up. P
  Jan 15, 2010  •  2,488 views
Valkyrie   MOD 
Wow it's great some of you guys have heard about them ^^
  Jan 15, 2010  •  2,486 views
kaimanawas are awesome one of my best friends owns one!!!
  Jan 16, 2010  •  2,497 views
Valkyrie   MOD 
She does? Wherabouts are you from? Do you have a pic?
  Jan 18, 2010  •  2,486 views
Holly My Hero  
I studied this horse last year for a school project. I was really intrigued by them. Great post.
  Aug 23, 2010  •  2,508 views
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