More than 200 Kaimanawa horses have been rounded up in the annual muster near Waiouru.
This year's muster is larger than in previous years, because of a plan by the Department to reduce herd numbers from 500 to 300.
Horse welfare organisations have managed to find homes for about 160 of the 209 horses caught. The rest will be sent to the abattoir.
Bill Fleury from the Department of Conservation says the cost of managing the herd is significant, and limiting the base population will reduce amount of mustering required.
He says reducing the number of Kaimanawa horses will save money and resources and reduce pressure on organisations to find homes for the horses.
The muster involved more than 50 Department of Conservation staff and volunteers.