Kaimanawa horse Yogy is wild no more

ERICA DONALD
Last updated 05:00 10/04/2014
Dharini Marinkovich on Yogy
SADDLE UP: Dharini Marinkovich on Yogy.

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He's pretty good at posing for photos, he approaches strangers for cuddles, is incredibly trusting - and he was once a wild horse.

Yogy is a Kaimanawa, rescued from slaughter when he was young, after he was mustered off the Kaimanawa Ranges.

Now he lives happily in Taupaki with owner Dharini Marinkovich, enjoying treks around the farm and going out on hunts.

The 21-year-old got Yogy when he was 4, from a woman who trained him after the muster.

"Yogy was wild, but you wouldn't think it. He's very trusting," Marinkovich says, recalling a time when Yogy got his front legs stuck in a fence.

Instead of panicking and injuring himself as most horses do, Yogy waited patiently for the human he knew would rescue him.

Marinkovich joined the Waitemata Hunt so Yogy could enjoy the feeling of being back in a herd, running around farmland together.

"It's a fast sport, but Yogy has been really safe. Kaimanawas are so sturdy on their legs because they have come from that wild background," she says.

"When there is any rough terrain I just let Yogy take over because he will know the best way to get through it."

Applications to rescue a horse from the 2014 muster close on April 30.

With more than 200 horses expected to be mustered they need as many applications as they can get. Any horses that are not adopted out are slaughtered.

"I would definitely recommend that people rescue a Kaimanawa. They have an ability to learn so fast," Marinkovich says. "But they are wild. They need professional training and you can't expect them all to be easy to break in."

Wild horses have been recorded in the Kaimanawa ranges since 1876 and were first mustered in 1993 after the Department of Conservation noted rare plants were being threatened with extinction because of the large number of horses.

Kaimanawa Heritage Horses has been finding homes for these wild horses since 2003.

If you don't have the skills or facilities for the initial handling of the horse the group may put you in touch with a registered handler who can do so.

Or you can make tax deductible donations which allows the organisation to take on the horses until they can find them permanent homes.

Visit kaimanawaheritagehorses. org for information.

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