Frequently Asked Questions
To be able to apply for a horse from the muster, a good set of cattle yards with a safe unloading ramp are required.
Yards must be a minimum height of 1.8m as kaimanawa horses are very good jumpers!! There are ways that yards can be altered to suit these requirements so if you are unsure, please get in touch with us and we will put you in touch with one of our area reps who can come and view your yards and discuss the best options.
The yards need to be free from debris with all potential hazards removed. This includes loose nails and checking that gate gudgeons cannot cause injury. They also need to be of a reasonable enough size to be able to safely house the number of horses you apply for and be easily accessible for a stock truck.
There needs to be access to a paddock from the yards to enable your horse to be let out as soon as possible. A paddock mate, preferably one that is not wearing a cover, needs to be made available as kaimanawa horses have never been on their own. Most kaimanawa horses are quite sensible when it comes to new surroundings and can be managed with electric tape.
A loading ramp is required to get your horse safely off the truck. We do not allow horses to jump off the trucks.
NOTE: In some areas, it is possible to hire loading ramps where facilities are not complete. If you are going to explore this option, please consider how easy it is to hire the ramp again in the case of an emergency.
The floor surface of the yards also needs to be considered, as the musters are usually held when we are coming into the wet season. Trying to deal with a wild horse in deep mud is not only difficult but dangerous. Excessive stones or a loose surface in your yards could result in injury and feet bruises. Old carpet laid in the yards can help with keeping the footing more suitable.
We have the perfect solution! We have great relationships with a lot of trainers around the country with experience with wild horses, and are happy to recommend them. The horses are sent directly to them from the muster, and they can get the basics done for you. It is a common misconception that you lose the ‘wild horse’ experience by not being the one to do the initial handling – there will still be PLENTY for you to do with your horse once they arrive at your place, and some great photo moments guaranteed! They will be very grateful for the one-on-one relationship building that you can provide after the drama of the muster, and will look to you as the central person in their lives as they begin their journey into the human world.
We rely on generous donations from the public to carry out the work we do for kaimanawa horses. We have horses in permanent care, welfare cases, rehoming cases, and horses that have been saved from previous musters because of sponsors.
Sponsoring a horse means different things to different people so here is a list of ways your donations or sponsorship can help.
Horses in permanent care
We currently have seven horses that will be under the care of KHH for the remainder of their lives. These horses are either old, permanently injured or have special requirements that our welfare team are trained to deal with.
The average cost per week to keep each of these horses is $60 as well as their annual dental and six weekly farrier visits. Unforeseen circumstances and age-related changes can sometimes push the annual cost well above $3500 per horse.
Some of our older permanent residents are lucky enough to have sponsors that cover their entire costs for the year while others rely on the support by a collection of people. We are thankful for every person who supports our goal of giving every domesticated kaimanawa horse a home for life.
Horses in long term care
We currently have a list of horses that will be with us for a while so we can ensure they have the right skills and mindset to be rehomed. Some of these horses may have come from the muster and haven’t yet coped with the transition to domestic life while others may have come from previous homes where situations weren’t ideal. Regardless of their story, they will be given the time it takes to ensure they will be safe, healthy and happy members of domestic horse life.
Some of these horses also have the additional cost of training and body work over and above what is listed as the average annual cost listed above.
Previous muster horses
Each year we do everything humanly possible to save every horse that comes in as part of the muster. These horses are placed with our trusted trainers who do the initial handling and ready the horses for potential new homes. We can only do this if there is enough space with the trainers and enough money in the sponsor account to cover the costs for each horse. The costs to do this includes the purchase price, the cost of transport, their initial handling and training, having their feet and teeth done, gelding costs as well as their weekly grazing, food, and health care costs. Ideally, these horses don’t stay with the trainers any longer than necessary but unfortunately, at times they can remain with us for a while.
Newly mustered horses
Each year people come forward who would like to sponsor a horse directly from the muster. The harsh reality is that we have to have somewhere for these horses to go in order for us to save them at muster time. We also have to remain committed to the horses that are currently under our care.
Where space allows, we will take as many horses without homes as possible and in these cases, we rely strongly on assistance from the public to do this.
For each horse we take from the muster, we need to ensure there are enough donations to cover their costs for a considerable time if necessary, so we aim to have around $4000 per horse.
For this reason, all sponsorship donations specifically for newly mustered horses are pooled together.
If you are interested in sponsoring one of the horses that are currently in KHH care you can check them out HERE.
Help get a horse to the south island
We have a growing list of people who live in the south island who would like to open their homes to a kaimanawa horse but find the overall costs prohibitive. With the horses having to be handled before they can journey south, many potential applicants for horses in the south island, have considerable additional costs on top of their application costs and transport costs to the south island.
Sponsoring a horse to get to the south island is another way you can help save a life.
Help save a stallion
Last year we trialed a new initiative to ensure all mature stallions found a home. This would not have been possible without the support of sponsors. Each stallion was sent to a trainer who then went on to showcase their horses at the Freedom to Friendship challenge at Equidays.
Absolutely!! A lot of our work relies on the generous support of sponsors and without them, we wouldn’t be able to save the horses that we do.
At times, our welfare team and trusted trainers, make room to be able to save more horses each muster. This is only possible because of the generous sponsors that step in to help us save an extra life.
2020 Muster Prices
- $250 for the first horse
- $220 for each additional horse
- $400 for a mare and foal combo
- $370 for each additional mare and foal combo
These prices include:
- 12 months membership to KHH
- A wormer for each horse
- $75 gelding rebate for colts & stallions
Click HERE to download a muster application form.
Transport costs are additional and will vary depending on the number of horses going to your area. Please see the “What are the transport costs” question for more information.
No. The muster is a highly stressful time for the horses and everything is done to ensure their safety at all times. There are a very limited number of highly trained professionals that are present at the muster and this team of people is incredibly focused on making the muster run as smoothly as possible.
We are lucky enough to be able to have a representative on-site for the purposes of photographing the horses as they come into the yards and these images are shared as soon as possible so that people can begin to dream about which one will get off the truck at their place. These photos also prove to be a great reference point for finding where potential family members of your horse ended up going.
It is very difficult for us to give a definite answer regarding the costs of transport due to a number of variable factors:
- The trucking companies are often unable to give us estimates of costs due to the changing fuel prices.
- Some horses are sent to their new homes directly from the muster while others go to satellite yards to be drafted and loaded for their final destination. The costs for transport to the satellite yards are covered as part of muster costs so people in more distant areas are not necessarily paying for transport from Waiouru.
- The final cost of transport will depend on the number of horses that are on each truck. The total transport cost for each truck is divided by the number of horses.
We do however offer a capped rate for transport so you don’t get a nasty surprise when your invoice arrives. By offering this rebate, we hope to get kaimanawa horses into more areas where the cost of transport would otherwise be prohibitive.
You can, but you must have the horse handled before it can travel across the Cook Straight.
There are very strict requirements regarding the transport of livestock across the Cook Straight and wild, unhandled horses simple do not qualify. The welfare and safety requirements alone make it too risky for the horses and the people responsible for their care.
There are a number of options for south island residents that would like to welcome a kaimanawa horse into their family.
a) Consider one of the horses currently in the care of KHH. While some of these horses may have arrived with us due to unfortunate circumstances, some of these horses are those we have managed to help from previous musters. They have had their basic handling established, their immediate health care needs have been met and they are ready to go on to their new adventures with a family of their own. You can see who is waiting for their home by going HERE.
b) Consider employing a trainer to get the initial stages completed on your behalf. We have a list of TRUSTED TRAINERS who we know are experienced with horses straight from the muster and have proven their capabilities in giving the horses their best start to domestic life.
c) Consider taking a holiday and participating in a Wild Horse Workshop with Kelly Wilson.
We are supportive of helping south island residents welcome a kaimanawa horse into their world and we do have a number of Area Reps that are available to help. We also offer a rebate of $200 to help towards the cost of getting your horse home.
The annual musters are a part of the overall strategy for the management of the wild kaimanawa horse herd which is managed by the Kaimanawa Wild Horse Advisory Group. This group is made up of representatives from KHH, NZ Army, Department of Conservation, KWHPS and other involved parties for the purpose of working together to make sound decisions in regards to how the horses and their environment are managed.
The decisions relating to when a muster is held and how many horses will be removed are completely out of our control. We will continue to do what we can for the horses that are mustered in each year.
For more information relating to the muster click HERE.
Fear not! Depending on your experience, we usually recommend that people new to wild horses adopt a younger horse. Kaimanawa Heritage Horses is there to support you for the duration of your journey together – no question is ever too small or silly. We are more than happy to offer advice, and it is highly unlikely that your situation is one we haven’t encountered before. Please don’t wait until you feel overwhelmed to ask for help – we were all first-timers too at one point and remember what it was like! KHH is passionate about bringing Kai owners together, and it our aim is for you and your horse to have the opportunity to be part of a great little community!
Kaimanawas are just like other horses, and, like most prey animals, are not aggressive by nature. It is perfectly normal to be a little nervous when your new horse arrives – it’s a bit like a blind date! It pays to remember that your horse will be far more nervous than you – their whole world has changed! Kaimanawas build their lives around family and relationships – this is what they understand. You shape the experience your Kaimanawa has – if building a relationship with your wild horse is forefront in your mind, you will be less likely to place your new horse in a position where they are confused and feel confronted.
Unfortunately, no. Whilst we do endeavour to select a horse that meets your requests, our selection depends primarily on the horses that are mustered in. If the horse we have selected for you is wildly different from your requirements, we will discuss it with you and check that you are happy to proceed. As many new owners will tell you – it is love at first sight, and the magic of the first glimpse of your new horse as he or she steps off the truck cannot be described.