Freedom to Friendship

Kaimanawa Heritage Horses created the Freedom to Friendship competition in 2018 in order to recognize and highlight the value of Kaimanawas through a national training competition, taking over from the Kaimanawa Stallion Challenges which were held in 2014 and 2016. 

Invited trainers will in 2019 showcase the beauty, versatility and train-ability of New Zealand’s wild horses which are found in the Kaimanawa Ranges of the central North Island.

Stallions & Professionals Class

The purpose of the Stallions & Professionals class is to place mature stallions with professional trainers which have previous experience taming wild Kaimanawas, to ensure they have the best start possible to domesticated life. After being selected to compete, trainers are randomly assigned an adult Kaimanawa stallion that has never been touched by humans. With approximately 177 days before Equidays, the stallions must be gelded and trainers must build trust and develop a relationship with their horse. Together they will compete in a Handling & Conditioning class, followed by an Obstacle & Freestyle class to showcase their Kaimanawas’ abilities and talents.

The Kaimanawa Heritage Horses mission is to increase successful adoptions of wild horses and to promote the horses’ versatility and train-ability. Only 300 wild horses are permitted to remain in the wild and now annually approximately 100 wild horses are in need of adoption during the musters. DOC removes horses from the ranges in order to protect endangered plants and to sustain the natural resources necessary for the wild horses. 

KHH works with horsemen and women who have the knowledge, experience and facilities to gentle and or train a wild horse. Every time a horse is adopted it is saved from being sent to slaughter, but more importantly, it is transformed from a wild horse into a sensitive, yet hardy, authentic equine partner. The horse is not the only one being transformed by the experience. Horsemen and women find that working with a wild horse creates an unspoken bond while also improving their horsemanship skills. We hope the Major Milestone and Youth & Yearling will inspire others to adopt Kaimanawas in an effort to protect the wild herds and inspire future generations to love New Zealand’s wild horses.