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Hi all
I currently live on a 600 acre farm
Every year I feel really bad when the un-adopted kaimanawas get killed. I really want to help them
I was thinking every year that I could adopt around 7-11 horses and let them run wild again over my farm.

Do you think this is a good or bad idea?
Do you think it will work?
How many do you think I should adopt each year?

If you had the chance to do this would you??


Thanks In Advance
 

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Hi,

Yeah....
Um....
I don't know....

You sound like you have a good heart, but that is a major project.
Look. You have to be realistic. As harsh as it sounds, horses get killed - tens of thousands of each year. You can't save every one.

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You technically could do it, but what happens if you ever need to sell the farm/move? What will happen to the many untrained "wild" horses?

This isn't a "it's going to be free - set them free and forget about them." This could be costly - in both time and money.

What happens if one get hurt, sick, or needs medical? Are you willing to pay for that? If so, can you afford it? As soon as you sign that dotted line, they are yours - your responsibility on your property.

Are you willing to have them gelded? If so, can you afford that? It's a catch 22. That is how over-population happens. That's why horses get put down. You can't have stallions running around reproducing on every mare they see.

Depending on where you are, you can have about one horse per acre/two. Does that mean you are going to get three - six hundred horses?

Would you be out there to make sure they have enough water - either/both natural (pond/river/etc...) or artificial (tubs/buckets/etc...)?

Would they have enough shelter - either/both natural (bushes/trees/etc...) or artificial (lean-to/hut/etc...)?

Would they have enough natural food in the winter? If not, are you willing to provide food? If so, can you afford it? Hay isn't exactly the cheapest thing in the world and goes quickly - especially if there is waste. What if you have a "hard-keeper."

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There is just so many things to think about before you do this besides:
Do you think this is a good or bad idea?
Do you think it will work?
How many do you think I should adopt each year?
If you had the chance to do this would you??
If I could do that (meaning having the space, time, and money), yes, I would.
I would keep the herd relatively/manageably small and without stallions. While I do like to see horses wild and whatnot, I do like for horses to be able to be more than "just a pasture puff." In the very least, I would make sure they are safe with people. That doesn't mean riding rollbacks, stall them, or giving them cookies and loving. That simply means that they aren't aggressive if ever people get near them - remember, fearful horses can also be aggressive horses....
 

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Assuming you're not intending to do any training, does that mean you'll be putting them in a crush so you can force the issue for hoof care, dentistry, worming, etc? Or will you have them well enough trained for basic care? And even that 1st 7-10 horses is going to cost you a bit in hoofcare alone if you don't do it yourself... logistics and economics sound tricky, but if you work all that out & it's doable, why not??
 

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Just a few things to keep in mind: first up, Kaimanawas live off the smell of an oily rag in the wild. If you have lush green grass, or even "pretty good" grass, you could end up with a lot of very sick horses (if you've ever seen a horse with serious laminitis it's about the most horrible way to go you can imagine for a horse.) So you will definitely need to be prepared to limit their grass intake at certain times of year. This can lead to big expenses, as you still need to keep their bellies full to prevent ulcers. So lots of hay will be required. Also, some of the horses will come off the ranges with pretty horrific hoof problems. They will either need to be handled enough to have a farrier see to them, or be sedated to have their hooves cared for. This will be an ongoing cost. Also, teeth, gelding, worms, any extra veterinary expenses. So all up, you would need to be prepared for some pretty big costs. You could possibly ask for sponsors to make this all possible, but just be prepared for a pretty major undertaking. Also, unless you have suitable yards, the initial handling will have to be done elsewhere before they are ready and able to be put in to normal paddocks. Just a few things to be aware of, would hate for someone to go in to this with no idea of the effort involved.
 

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Are you referring to letting them wander free on that 600 acres of land....wild & free?
Down-side to that is you have a very small gene pool and will have bad inbreeding when father breeds daughter who then produces a filly and he breeds that, then the brother breeds his sister....
Traits not found in these wild animals will suddenly appear, and usually they are not good.
Over population in no time with no herd-culling is going to happen.
1 or 2 stallions to 9 mares, all get pregnant and produce...in a few years you have more than a hundred head of horse to survive on limited acreage and then what do you do when they can't survive but starve as they continue to produce more and more as they do left totally wild & free.
Do you not farm or ranch tend the land?
Your 600 acres of land lies totally devoid of any money-making endeavor?
All is fertile land with abundant year round water supply, grass/pasture and offers natural protection from wind, rain, fire and weather in general?
Are you fenced, fully fenced to keep in your herd and out the neighbors herd and away the predators?

It sounds wonderful and romantic...
In reality it doesn't work.
You don't own enough land and you won't have a large enough gene pool to not inbreed the negative traits...so you will be forced to do exactly that which you find distasteful...cull the herd.
Here is a wild mustang place in the USA, in South Dakota.
Read the size of the land owned, versus number of animals and still they are managed to not over-populate...culling the herd.
Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary
https://www.wildmustangs.com/film-at-the-sanctuary
Now that place is working logistics...
It makes money to be able to stay as a wild & free ranch/range because of careful planning, management and forethought along with a very wealthy bankroll to back it in bad years and times.
:runninghorse2:...
jmo...
 

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I like your basic idea. But I think that adding 7-11 horses each year may cause you some problems. In ten years, provided everyone is still alive, you'll have a minimum of 70 horses. Then there's the offspring added to that. They will form smaller nomadic bands, but that's still a lot of horses on 600 acres. You may find yourself in an over populated situation like what they're in now. Then you'll be the one having to round up and cull their numbers.
There's a good solution in your idea somewhere, it just needs a little more fine tuning. Maybe start with five barren mares and one gelding. See how this little troupe does over a years' time and go from there.
They won't know your 600 acres from the next, so you may end up attracting feral stallions, and you're back to a population problem again.

I feel your pain, we've been trying to deal with these issues here in the US. It's always a hot debate on every side. I have a Mustang (my profile pic). Adopting and training him has blessed me with one of the most marvelous partners I've ever had. But that's the solution that worked for me. One little home for one little horse in a sea of conflict. But if I had 600 rugged acres... I'd be tempted to do a little more, I just don't know what it would be.
 

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Honestly, this sounds like a horrible idea.

In the US, unadoptable mustangs are sent to 'long term holding facilities'. Some of these are more like feedlots, but many of them are on large acreages of ranch land where they can live a semi-feral life again. Sort of what you are proposing.

HOWEVER....these facilities go through lengthy approval processes. You must prove to the government that you are capable of caring for such large amounts of animals. This includes submitting detailed papework outlining how you will feed them in winter, provide vet care, etc, site visits, etc. Mares go to one facility, geldings to another. No intermixing to prevent further breeding. It is simply not a 'let the horse loose to be wild and free' thing.

Why do these facilities work? Because they are paid by the government to take care of the horses. They earn a certain amount of money per horse to do this. Without the subsidary money, no one could afford to this long term, and you would end up with a severe hoarding or neglect case on your hands.

I own a BLM mustang, so I understand your desire to help, but this isn't likely a good solution in your particular case.
 
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