In the back hills of Raetihi there is a horseman who has a certain way with Kaimanawa horses. Carly Thomas spends a day with him.
Tommy Waara has a lifelong affinity with horses and has always had a special fondness for the Kaimanawa breed, long before they were mustered and culled by DOC to keep their numbers down. Waara and other locals were known to catch them, using horses and ropes – and there’s always been something special about the breed. They belong in these parts, just like Tommy Waara.
In 2014, took part in the Kaimanawa Stallion Challenge; a challenge offered up by Kaimanawa Heritage Horses in a bid to showcase these clever and versatile horses to promote re-homing horses with new owners in a range of equestrian disciplines.
Some people consider Waara a horse whisperer due to his soft and gentle ways. But Waara shakes it off “Nah, it’s just common sense.”
“It doesn’t take them long to settle down. They are clever. They know what they need to do, you just have to give them the space to do it.”