Wild horses won’t drag you away but may capture your heart

Regular mustering by the Kaimanawa Heritage Horses Welfare Society helps to keep the wild horse herd in a healthy condition. Photo / Supplied

Foxton local Julie Crombie has always had a passion for horses, but didn’t get on the back of one until she was in her teens, earning her owner/trainer license at 17, then breaking in her first horse.

“It’s in my blood now,” said Julie, which probably explains why she has 30-year-old Imagine, 16-year-old Cody, a couple of miniature ponies and three Kaimanawa rescues on her 30-hectare lifestyle block on the Foxton -Shannon Highway.

The annual wild horse muster in the central North Island usually takes place in late April, though the 2020 event was canceled due to Covid-19, and Julie took on her first Kaimanawa horse in 2018.

Cisco is a 6-year-old gelding, who was adopted by Julie Crombie from the Kaimanawa wild horse muster in 2018. Photo / Supplied
Cisco is a 6-year-old gelding, who was adopted by Julie Crombie from the Kaimanawa wild horse muster in 2018. Photo / Supplied

Cisco was a 2-year-old colt [at the time] and within 37 days I had him haltered and handled enough to get him gelded,” Julie said. “He’ll be 6 this year so the next step is to get him ridden.”

Putting in an application with the Kaimanawa Heritage Horses (KHH) Welfare Society for two horses last year, 6-month-olds Floki and Ragnor joined the Crombie family in April 2021.

Sadly, with Covid restrictions placing a strain on many, only 130 homes were found for the targeted 206 horses in 2021.

Latest additions to the Crombie family - Floki and Ragnor were adopted as yearlings during the 2021 Kaimanawa wild horses muster.  Photo / Supplied
Latest additions to the Crombie family – Floki and Ragnor were adopted as yearlings during the 2021 Kaimanawa wild horses muster. Photo / Supplied

KHH chairwoman Sue Rivers said the total number of target homes not being reached last year has placed a significant risk to the increasing herd remaining in the Kaimanawa Ranges.

“Alternative options will need to be explored if homes can’t be found [this year] as maintaining a total number of 300 allows for the horses … to maintain best condition and also protects the fragile ecosystems…”

If you have a love for horses, and natural horsemanship, Julie definitely recommends taking on the challenge of adopting a Kaimanawa horse, “you just need to understand that time and patience are needed”.

According to KHH, Kaimanawa horses are known to be curious, honest and friendly, and are gaining favor among the equestrian community as highly competitive sport horses, pony club mounts and good all-rounders.

The KHH remains involved with everyone who rehomes the wild horses, offering support and advice as needed and ensuring the horses stay safe in their new environment.

With only a few applications for Kaimanawa horses received to date, time is fast running out for interested parties to apply before the deadline on April 3.

For more information about rehoming a Kaimanawa wild horse, check out the KHH website www.kaimanawaheritagehorses.org or email: [email protected]

The Crombies won’t be taking on any more Kaimanawa beauties this year, as the three they already have need more work to get them ready to be ridden so they can be sold on to their forever homes.

But Julie is more than happy for anyone who is thinking about adopting a wild horse to get in touch on 021 975 920 so they can come and meet ‘the boys’.

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