Native to New Zealand, these animals are free roaming feral horses known for their hardiness and quiet temperament.

They’re known for their intelligence and strength, and make great horses for riding or driving.

If you’re interested in learning more about Kaimanawa horses, read on!

Kaimanawa Horse Breed Info

Here are some of the key things you need to know about the Kaimanawa horse:

Height (size) 12.2 – 15.0 hands high
Colors Variety of colors
Country of Origin New Zealand
Common Uses Children’s mounts, jumping, stock horses for high country stations

Kaimanawa Horse Facts & Information (Breed Profile)

New Zealand is home to a population of feral horses known as Kaimanawa horses, which descended from domestic horses that were released into the wild in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Although the first horses were introduced to New Zealand in 1814, it wasn’t until 1876 that reports of horses in the Kaimanawa Range began to surface.

As more horses fled or were released from military bases and livestock stations, the herds increased.

The locals caught some of the horses and used them for riding as well as for their meat, hair, and hides.

In the 1960s, the central North Island was home to thousands of free-ranging horses.

The population of wild horses declined due to factors like land development, human activity, and hunting.

By 1979, their numbers were estimated at about 174, and their habitat had been reduced to the roughly 50,000 hectares that was part of the NZ Army’s training ground.

Poaching, however, occurred even on property owned by the Army, and it continues to this day.

Due to the imminent threat of extinction, horses were given legal protection in 1981.

Today, the horses live in an area of central North Island often referred to as “the Desert Road”.

As their numbers increase, they are put in a similar situation as Australian brumbies, with questions being raised of how many horses can the ecosystem support without them destroying the unique vegetation.

The number of horses is currently being controlled in line with the plan that has been authorized, which includes activities such as yearly counts, musters, and the rehoming of surplus horses.

In 2010, the herd was brought down to 300 animals, the minimal number indicated in the plan, and has been kept at that number since.

If you’re interested in learning more about this fascinating breed, keep reading!

Alternative Names



Once tamed they are gentle, curious and friendly

Physical Characteristics

These horses are small, yet hardy and sure-footed.

The conformation varies, and there is not a set body type.


Variety of colors

Height (size)

12.2 – 15.0 hands high







Blood Type


Common Uses

Children’s mounts, jumping, stock horses for high country stations



Popular Traits

Feral horses



Country of Origin

New Zealand


Station Hack breeds, Exmoor pony, Welsh pony, Thoroughbred