For­mer wild horse en­joys a quiet life

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS -

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. Kai- man­awas 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 then 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.

Sad­dle up: Dharini Marinkovich on Yogy.

Photo: KELLY WIL­SON

Round up: The bi-an­nual muster is ex­pected to take place in late May or early June, depend­ing on the weather.

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