Wild Horses in Central New Zealand

Postcard from the collection of Val Mills
By Val
@valmnz (12758)
New Zealand
January 6, 2017 10:59pm CST
The central plateau of New Zealand is quite a barren place, in the volcanic region of the North Island. The highway known as the Desert Road passes by three major mountains, Mt Ruapehu, Mt Ngauruhoe and Mt Tongariro. To the east of this road, toward more fertile land, roam the wild horses known as Kaimanawa horses. Horses were introduced into New Zealand in 1814 and the first wild horses in the Kaimanawa region were first reported in 1876. These horses had either escaped from their remote farms or had been released into the wild for one reason or another. Today the Kaimanawa wild horses have developed into their own breed and their population has to be controlled, to protect the numerous native endangered plants in the area. The horses are culled every year and many find new homes as farm or domestic pets, once they have been broken in and tamed. I cross the Desert Road once or twice every year, but only once have I glimpsed any wild horses roaming in the area. They tend to stay quite removed from the main highway, where the vegetation provides a better habitat for them.
17 people like this
17 responses
@Happy2BeMe (74743)
• Canada
7 Jan 17
They must have been beautiful to see.
2 people like this
@valmnz (12758)
• New Zealand
7 Jan 17
Many people don't like seeing them culled, but it's important for environmental reasons.
2 people like this
@Happy2BeMe (74743)
• Canada
7 Jan 17
@valmnz yes I can understand that. They are such beautiful animals too.
2 people like this
7 Jan 17
@Happy2BeMe @valmnz I agree with you.
2 people like this
7 Jan 17
Is that "natural" around that place?
2 people like this
@valmnz (12758)
• New Zealand
7 Jan 17
Do you mean the wild horses? They are only found on the central volcanic plateau.
2 people like this
7 Jan 17
@valmnz Thanks for the info.
2 people like this
• United States
13 Jul 17
i've great hopes that'cher country 'tis more kind to yer wild horses than they're 'round these parts.
1 person likes this
@valmnz (12758)
• New Zealand
14 Jul 17
I think they try and find the right homes for them, but many do have to be destroyed. We don't have the same open spaces you do in your country for roaming animals. They are not native to NZ.
1 person likes this
• United States
14 Jul 17
@valmnz i find such most heart-breakin', ms. val :( 'tis not their fault that mankind initially abandoned 'em. do they use birth control (pzp) to help with the population? such's been used quite successfully 'p'n canada, 's well 's some portions 'f the u.s. the ranchers claim they aint native to these parts either, but then, they've been here longer'n the cattle 'n sheep...
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@valmnz (12758)
• New Zealand
14 Jul 17
@crazyhorseladycx our main highway goes through the centre of the area. Culling is deemed essential each year, and every effort is made to find homes through auctions. There's one lady who buys most years apparently. Whilst the horses are not protected I believe they are considered an element of pur culture to be preserved.
1 person likes this
@silvermist (20100)
• India
7 Jan 17
@valmnz Is that Smooch on the profile photo?It is interesting to know about the central plateau of New Zealand and the Kaimanawa horses.As usual great picture.
1 person likes this
@valmnz (12758)
• New Zealand
7 Jan 17
Yes it is taken a few years ago
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@silvermist (20100)
• India
7 Jan 17
@valmnz Yes,I thought so.Looks a little slim.
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@valmnz (12758)
• New Zealand
8 Jan 17
@silvermist he still is exceptionally slim , old and skinny. Maybe you've only seen photos of him curled up asleep ??
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@sallypup (27095)
• Moses Lake, Washington
7 Jan 17
Beautiful reporting and beautiful photo. Its hard to imagine needing to harvest horses like a person harvests carrots but you are right, the habitat suffers.
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@valmnz (12758)
• New Zealand
7 Jan 17
Especially as they are an introduced species and many of the plants in that area are native to New Zealand and endangered.
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@sallypup (27095)
• Moses Lake, Washington
7 Jan 17
@valmnz Such hard choices.
@allknowing (65091)
• India
7 Jan 17
Horses and wild is not something one comes across. Wonder how they behaviour would be!!
1 person likes this
@valmnz (12758)
• New Zealand
8 Jan 17
They have developed into a unique breed since they were released by the early settlers. They are wild, never known human limitations. But there have been wonderful success stories of those who have taken one on and broken them in. Many go to farms and with patience become good working animals.
1 person likes this
@stbrians (15106)
• Kakamega, Kenya
7 Jan 17
After breaking and taming them, do they not remember the wild?
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@valmnz (12758)
• New Zealand
7 Jan 17
I have no idea on that one.
@IreneVincent (16025)
• United States
7 Jan 17
I enjoyed reading about the wild horses. Thanks for sharing these facts. Kaimanawa, I'll try to remember that name. We also have wild horses here in Virginia. I wrote a post about it some time ago.
1 person likes this
@valmnz (12758)
• New Zealand
7 Jan 17
Were they like ours and released from original holdings?
@youless (91494)
• Guangzhou, China
17 Jan 17
It seems that New Zealand is a suitable place for animals to grow
1 person likes this
@Jessicalynnt (47872)
• Centralia, Missouri
7 Jan 17
it's neat to find a place, and even cooler that some are caught and homed, I am assuming they add a new wild one now and then to keep the breed healthy
@jaboUK (53935)
• United Kingdom
7 Jan 17
So horses aren't indigenous to New Zealand?
@Susan2015 (20579)
• United States
7 Jan 17
Horses are such beautiful animals and should be treated as such. Relocating would be a good way.
@Asylum (48281)
• Manchester, England
7 Jan 17
I would be wild too if people wanted to cull me.
@JudyEv (123167)
• Bunbury, Australia
7 Jan 17
Australian brumbies are culled by various means too amid much controversy usually. Together with camels and goats, brumbies cause a lot of damage one way and another, in particular competing with domestic livestock for feed and water.
@LadyDuck (157308)
• Switzerland
7 Jan 17
We have wild horses here. Every year in late October volunteers accompany the horses in a protected area where they can be fed during the winter if we have a lot of snow. I know that they control the population spaying some horses, nobody like to see them culled.
• Eugene, Oregon
7 Jan 17
Fascinating! We have upwards of 60,000 wild horses and burros roaming the eastern part of my state of Oregon and eight other western states. Their management is quite controversial here. They are currently trying birth control for the population control.
@MattMeng (3261)
• Hangzhou, China
7 Jan 17
I want to live in New Zealand in my next life, because it is so beautiful.