Horse Isle 3: Big Book of Breeds
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Big Book of Breeds
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[ INDEX ] Equine Type: Horse Breed: Kaimanawa   [ PREV ] [ NEXT ]
The Kaimanawa is a feral horse breed that roams New Zealand.

Horses are not native to New Zealand, and were first introduced there in the early 19th century, by British people who brought horses from Australia, which then belonged to the British Empire. Starting from 1858, plenty of Exmoor ponies were shipped to New Zealand, by the orders of Major George Gwavas Carlyon. These ponies were crossed with the horses that were imported earlier, and this resulted in a new pony breed which became known as "Carlyon Pony". These ponies became well-established in New Zealand, and as such the pony shipments stopped in 1875.

In 1870, Sir Donald McLean imported a Welsh Pony stallion called Comet, and crossed him with Carlyon ponies. The crossbreds became known as "Commet Ponies", and some of them were released to the wild in North Island of New Zealand, to roam and breed freely. By 1876, the wild herd was first documented in the Kaimanawa Range. Over the next couple of decades, more horses of various breeds were released to the wild, and bred with the feral horses. Out of this mix of breeds, the Kaimanawa horse was born.
Kaimanawa horses flourished in the wild, and their herds grew larger. This led residents on the North Island to hunt the horses in order to downsize the herds. In 1981, in order to protect the horses, the Kaimanawa Horse was declared as a protected animal in New Zealand.

Problems began to arise again in the early 1990s, when the damage that the feral horses caused to the native flora in the Kaimanawa Range became apparent. Many species of plants were about to go extinct due to the activity of the Kaimanawa horses, so the government decided to act, and began to manage the size of the feral herd.

Originally, Kaimanawa horses were culled and sent to slaughter. However, starting from the early 21th century, more efforts were directed towards rehoming the horses when possible. Today, Kaimanawa horses are being rounded up every two years, and horses are removed from the herd to maintain a fixed herd size of 300 horses.

Tamed Kaimanawas are all-around horses who are known for their intelligence, and serve for a wide range of disciplines, such as recreational riding, endurance riding, show-jumping, and driving.

Breeding freely in the wild, Kaimanawa horses can have a variety of conformations. That said, in general, they have large eyes, a short and thick neck, a short or medium back, a deep girth, long legs, and small yet solid hooves. The mane and tail often grow long.

Kaimanawa horses are usually bay or chestnut in color, but the colors of brown, black, and grey exist in this breed as well. They often have white markings, including sabino markings on their face, legs, and abdomen. The coat can be mealy, and have a dorsal line. The mane can have a golden-tan shade that lighter than the body, but this phenotype doesn't exist in Horse Isle. Kaimanawa horses usually stand between 12.2hh and 15hh, but when they are raised in captivity from a young age they can be as tall as 16hh. Therefore, the entire height range of this breed in Horse Isle is 12.2hh to 16hh.

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