26 May 2012

Kaimanawa horse muster about to begin

6:01 am on 26 May 2012

A muster to reduce the numbers of Kaimanawa wild horses is due to get under way in the central North Island on Friday.

A recent survey has identified that 179 horses will need to be taken out of the herd to bring the number back to 300, a figure settled on to provide a balance in allowing the horses to survive and protecting the environment.

Three helicopters will be used to help round up the horses.

The Department of Conservation says once the horses are corralled and veterinary checks done, some will be selected and given new homes.

It says about half will start new lives but the others, including all the stallions, will be sent to an abattoir.

The department says the muster costs about $70,000.

Rowan Turner has a 6-year-old Kaimanawa horse called Blaze on her property at Kihikihi.

She says her horse has a beautiful temperament.

Ms Turner says she understands the need for the muster but has fears about the future of the wild horses.

"They will eventually eradicate the horse completely, and that is not what or want, or I think part of New Zealand, I mean they're beautiful", she says.

The department says the muster costs about $70,000.