Wild horse choice a mare dif­fer­ence

The Leader (Nelson) - - COMMUNITY COOKBOOK - NINA HIND­MARSH

A young Motueka woman who saved a wild Kaimanawa stal­lion from slaugh­ter made a sur­pris­ing dis­cov­ery upon meet­ing her new friend.

So­ley Pauls, 15, from River­side Com­mu­nity in the Motueka Val­ley, trav­elled to Whangarei last month to train what she was told was a wild Kaimanawa stal­lion.

Pauls fundraised over $1800 through her Givealit­tle page to pay for her and the horse’s re­turn trip. She is be­ing men­tored by the Wil­son Sis­ters, known for their hit tele­vi­sion se­ries Keep­ing Up With The Kaimanawa.

Pauls said she was ‘‘sur­prised and a bit dis­ap­pointed’’ when she ar­rived to dis­cover the stal­lion was ac­tu­ally a mare – and she was maybe even preg­nant.

‘‘Then I was given the choice to choose a dif­fer­ent horse, but I chose to stay with her,’’ she said.

‘‘I’m glad I did be­cause she’s my favourite out of all of them.’’

The dark bay mare, now called Ruru, has a ‘‘white star’’ on her fore­head. Pauls said they had been bond­ing over the past few weeks.

Ruru was one of the most ‘‘ner­vous’’ and ‘‘flighty’’ horses who ar­rived, and would hide in the cor­ner. Pauls said she couldn’t even raise her arm with­out her bolt­ing.

How­ever, af­ter three days Ruru was eat­ing out of Pauls hand, and she was ble to lead her.

On Mon­day they went to the beach, and she loved rolling in the sand and swim­ming.

‘‘By the end of the week, I’m plan­ning to pick up all her feet and brush her all over.’’

Pauls said she was ini­tially told Ruru was preg­nant, but now she had her doubts.

Although Ruru ‘‘looks preg­nant’’, she was ‘‘act­ing in sea­son’’ with an­other stal­lion just re­cently.

Only time would tell, Pauls said.

A muster is held every two years by the Depart­ment of Con­ser­va­tion to man­age the wild herd that live in the Kaimanawa Ranges, near Waiouru. DOC wants to keep the herd to 300.

This num­ber helps the horses main­tain a healthy con­di­tion and pro­tects frag­ile and unique ecosys­tems in the Moawhango eco­log­i­cal zone.

KELLY WIL­SON

So­ley Pauls’ wild Kaimanawa mare loves the beach.

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