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PO Box 133 Patumahoe 2344

Applying for a Muster Horse

Here’s what you need to know before applying for a Wild Kaimanawa Horse Direct From the Muster.

We encourage you to consider your application early so you have plenty of time to get things ready for your potential new arrival. We have a team of Area Reps who are more than happy to help you through the process and we accept applications at any time.

The approximate date for the annual muster to take place is the end of April or early May, whenever the weather conditions are favourable. KHH has no influence over the timing of the muster.
If you think you would like to get a Kaimanawa Wild Horse from the annual muster you need to carefully consider the following information.

A Kaimanawa Wild Horse is WILD.  You cannot expect it to behave like a domesticated or handled horse fresh off the ranges. Kaimanawa Wild Horses do not know anything about:

  • Being left alone without other horses
  • Being handled
  • Being haltered, tied up, covered or stabled
  • Fences of any sort
  • Being transported (float or truck)
  • Vehicles, people, pets or other things we have around domestic life

Your application will require you to provide two referees, undergo a home check and pay an application fee. One referee must be a Vet, SPCA Welfare Officer, MPI etc. Your second referee will need to be able to discuss your experience with horses.

The Muster
The muster is under the sole control of the Department of Conservation (DoC). Horses are mustered in family groups and usually from specific areas with these areas being determined after the annual census of the herd is completed in February.

Once mustering has been completed the onsite vets decide which horses are suitable for re-homing and if any horses will require euthanising due to significant past injuries. Therefore, until this point is reached Kaimanawa Heritage Horses (KHH) does not know what horses will be available for re-homing.
Because KHH does not get to choose what horses we are able to offer, we do our best to allocate the horses provided to us to the applicants. The end result of this is that KHH cannot guarantee to supply you with the type of horse you request, or possibly (in the worst case) even supply a horse at all. Ages of horses are only approximate due to drafting procedures and are based on appearance. Applicants can choose the sex of their horse, with ages categorised as a foal, juvenile (1-3), or adult and you can choose a mare and foal combination if you would prefer.

Transport of your Kaimanawa Wild Horses from the muster yards will be arranged to your yards in a suitably approved truck. Horses will either be delivered directly to you or they will go to a distribution point managed by the KHH Muster Team to be delivered from there. Transport to your yards will be at your expense and we do everything possible to get the horses safely to you in a suitable truck with approved drivers. We do our best to group horses together to keep trucking costs down. We cannot send single horses long distances on their own due to welfare considerations and prohibitive costs.

You must state clearly on your application form the exact delivery details of where your yards are situated. Include Rapid/Rural numbers, letterbox colours, anything that will help the truck driver find you easily. Please be aware that due to the time of year it is most likely to be wet and muddy, and a truck needs to be able to get to the loading ramp, turn around, and get back on the road without getting bogged in your paddock.

The truck driver may refuse to unload the horses if he believes the facilities provided are unsafe for the horses, driver, or the truck.

Feed, Facilities and Training
You will need good strong cattle yards and a loading ramp with a minimum height of at least 1.8 metres. Sheep yards are NOT suitable as these horses can and will jump. We encourage all new applicants to have a plan for getting their new horses out of the yards as soon as possible so a small paddock adjacent to the yards will be required.

Grass, hay and plenty of clean water are required when a horse first arrives. Wild Horses are not used to lucerne or grain feeds. Grain feeds should be introduced slowly. Take care of initial grazing management and feed routines. Consult a veterinarian or KHH if you need advice. Kaimanawa horses do not know how to process modern grass varieties and will not cope with lush green grass well.

You must graze your new Kaimanawa horse with, or adjacent to, other horses. These horses have never been alone. Without the company of other horses, it will fret, become stressed, jump out of the yard, or even just give up on life.

Mares are likely to be pregnant. It is best to do as little as possible until after she has foaled. Stress is likely to trigger an abortion in pregnant mares. Just let her settle on your property with a paddock mate and let her get used to you coming to her paddock with hay, etc., and accept you.

Other Kaimanawa Wild Horses can be handled as soon as you feel they can cope – usually within a couple of weeks.

KHH will not transport unhandled horses to the South Island for safety and welfare reasons. Handled horses are able to be transported to the South Island and we have a number of Registered Handlers who will handle horses for south island homes.

KHH may be able to assist you with arrangements to have your new Kaimanawa handled by a third and independent party at your cost if required. Your horses will be delivered directly to the handler. KHH recommend basic skills should be taught such as catch, halter, lead and tie, pick up feet, and load. KHH will not be liable for the actions or costs of horse trainers or transport companies.

Stallions / Castration
Young stallions and colts should be gelded as soon as they have been handled enough to be able to undergo this operation. Gelding must be done by a qualified veterinarian.

Stallions can be most difficult to handle. They have been known to break down fences and travel considerable distances. It is a strong recommendation that all stallions are gelded as soon as possible because entire male horses can be unpredictable and dangerous.

KHH does not condone the breeding of your Kaimanawa while there are unplaced horses from the muster. KHH offers a rebate of $75 on receipt of a veterinary certificate for every mustered horse you have castrated.

These horses have high worm burdens and maybe lice-infested when captured. KHH will treat your Kaimanawa with a pour-on wormer before they are delivered to you. It is imperative to treat your Kaimanawa with a broad spectrum wormer as soon as possible because your horse will still be carrying a heavy worm burden. Please check for lice and treat if necessary.

The price of the first horse is $300, and additional horses are $270 each. Mare and Foal combinations are  $450 for the first pair and $400 for additional pairs. These prices include one-year KHH membership and horse registration. We encourage all new owners to participate in having their new horse identified with the database team so their history can be recorded.

You will get a $100 gelding rebate on receipt of a veterinary certificate.

Transport costs are dependent on distance, time, and numbers. Costs are either payable directly to the transport company, or to KHH. Transport costs can vary, depending on location within the North Island, although we do offer a capped rate of $500 where possible.

The application fee is $100 and must accompany your application for it to be considered. This fee will be deducted from the purchase price of the horse. The application fee is not refundable once KHH has commenced processing your application. It will only be refunded if, due to a shortage of mustered horses, KHH cannot supply you with a horse.

The balance of payment for your horses is due within 7 days of the date of invoice of the horses.

The horses remain the property of the Kaimanawa Heritage Horse Welfare Society until paid for in full, including transport costs payable to KHH. Should you decide not to pay for your horses, KHH reserves the right to uplift the horses supplied to you and to recover from you any costs of debt collection incurred by non-payment of your account.