Earlier in the year, the Mt Pleasant/Heathcote community banded together to save Upshot Coffee. The much-loved cafe was facing permanent closure due to council red tape. Fox and Associates founder, David Fox, spearheaded the lodging of an application for resource consent for Upshot Coffee to stay at the Heathcote Valley Riding School. To honor David for his continued support and community spirit, the riding school proudly named a horse after him.
Below is an article that appeared in a local community publication about the new horse. It is reposted with permission from the author Jenny Bradley.
By Jenny Bradley
You may have seen the news stories about the annual muster of the Kaimanawa horses and how many of them needed homes. At the Heathcote Valley riding school many fundraising events were held to enable us to provide a home for one and last month the manager and head instructor, Emma, travelled to the North Island to meet Muna, the wild horse that had been drawn for us in the muster.
He was very shy and afraid as it turned out he was from the far reaches of the Kaimanawa ranges and had likely had no human contact at all. The horses were kept in yards at the property of the Wilson sisters who have been involved with the rehoming of the Kaimanawas for some time. You may remember the TV show “Keeping Up With The Kaimanawas” in which the sisters tamed several of the horses.
Emma had just a month to make a strong enough bond with Muna so that he would trust her enough to wear a halter and be handled. Unlike many of the other people training this year's muster horses, Emma was faced with bringing her horse back in an 800-kilometre float ride that included crossing the Cook Strait on a ferry, a hard journey for any animal.
After many days of quietly connecting with him, Emma finally got to touch Muna’s nose and from then on rapid progress was made.
After another week, Emma was able to touch Muna all over, put a halter on and take him for long walks around the property, ending up with a ride on a float. He was now ready to start his long journey to his new home. The journey was long and arduous, but spread over three days. Muna was able to graze and rest each night in borrowed paddocks and seemed completely unfazed by the journey. He will now be known as Foxy Muna in tribute to David Fox, a well-known local business man who gave invaluable help and support in our efforts to keep Upshot Coffee operating at the riding school.
He is now in a quiet paddock with one companion, a young horse which was bred at the riding school. He is being gently handled most days by Emma, is slowly meeting other horses and has had his very first feed out of a bucket. It’s amazing to think he has never seen any man-made object until now, and putting your head into a bucket is a very scary thing when you are a flight animal.
Work will continue for a long time before Foxy Muna is ready to be ridden and we will post updates on the Heathcote Valley Riding School Facebook page as well as in this newsletter. The journey from wild stallion to riding school pony will be amazing to watch. Well done, Emma.