Meet the Wild Stallions that feature in my online Wild Kaimanawa Workshop
13th June 2018
I am so excited to be taming four Kaimanawa stallions from the latest muster, as a follow up to mentoring and taming 14 wild horses from the April 2018 muster as part of my Wild Kaimanawa Workshop. During this workshop I had 10 riders, aged 12 to 23-years, based at my property full time for four weeks as they were mentored through the process of taming their very first wild horses.
The outstanding success of this training initiative inspired me to repeat the process with wild horses from the latest muster, this time videoing every session so the public can watch and learn throughout every stage of the taming process. My hope is that this video series inspires people to save wild Kaimanawas from slaughter in future musters, and gives them the knowledge to be able to help their horses transition to domestication as seamlessly as possible.
The 14 Kaimanawas we trained as part of the Wild Kaimanawa Workshop ranged in age from four-month-old fillies, right through to a 10-year-old lead mare and an 11-year-old stallion. I was hoping for a similar variety of age and genders in the horses we applied for from the June muster but a surplus of stallions, and limited homes suitable to be able to manage them, meant all six horses that arrived at our property were mature stallions.
Four of these horses will feature in the online series, where you’ll be able to follow every training session, throughout every stage of their journey. Of these I will be training three, and the fourth stallion will be trained by Taylah, an Australia rider who I mentored through the process of taming Poppy, an 18-month old Kaimanawa filly from the April muster. This will be the second wild horse she’s ever worked with and her very first stallion.
The online Wild Kaimanawa Workshop launches tomorrow, with videos of the horses initial handling sessions, as well as insightful blogs on my experiences taming wild horses and what they've taught me over the years.
At about 17-years-old and 14.2hh, Admiral is one of the oldest and biggest stallions I’ve trained directly from the wild. I first saw him in the summer of 2014 and 2015 when I photographed his herd in the Kaimanawa Ranges, so seeing him come off the stock truck was heartbreaking. It always saddens me greatly when the old stallions lose their freedom and that first sighting of him covered in blood, through the stock truck door, was very reminiscence of my old grey stallion Elder KH who I saved from slaughter in 2014; both had streaks of red marring their snow white coats.
While they may be similar in age and looks, fortunately Admiral seems to be far more trainable. He is very confident and relaxed around people, although does show lots of aggression towards the other horses and is very fast with his teeth so I am very careful working with him.
This 6-year-old stallion stands at about 14.2hh and is the most stressed of the horses we've saved from the 2018 musters and is constantly on edge. He is striking in looks, with a big white blaze and two socks on his near side, as well as having a curly grey mane. Of all the horses this one shows the greatest fear of humans and even a week after arriving has had minimal interactions with people due to his strong flight mode.
He will be worth waiting for though and is already showing the signs of a horse that will be a pleasure to work with. He is very focused and sensitive so once he relaxes he should have a great ability to learn and be very light and responsive to the subtlest of cues.
In some regards Louie is a very gentle and timid soul, yet also one of the bravest wild horses I've ever met. He already stands at 15hh and since he's only rising 4-years I'm hoping he'll mature about 15.2hh. From the moment he walked off the stock truck he was everyone's favourite and with his looks, temperament and conformation he will undoubtedly be an exciting prospect for the future.
I am thrilled to have a wild horse of this size to train as a riding prospect for myself, seeing as many of the wild horses I've worked with range from 13.2hh to 14.2hh.
This black stallion is about 14.1hh and 7-years old. He appears to be a soulful sort and has already won the hearts of the public after we posted photos of him coming off the stock truck skinny, battered and bloody. He arrived very reactive and stressed, but has settled a little. He appears very intelligent and although he's genuinely scared he is trying very hard to trust us.
He will be trained by Taylah, a 20-year-old from Australia. This will be the second wild horse she has ever trained; I first mentored her through the process of taming a wild 18-month-old filly from the April muster as part of my Wild Kaimanawa Workshop.