Far North woman rapt with ‘extraordinary’ horse rescue farm birthday gift

Far North horsewoman Milli Owen is hugely thankful for a unique 21st birthday present which will see her set up a horse rescue programme and save equines destined for slaughter. Instead of being given gifts to celebrate her special milestone later this month, Milli is asking for contributions to establish Cove Equine where she will save horses and tame wild ponies that would otherwise be culled. Her mum, Kerikeri businesswoman Vanessa Owen, recently started a Givealittle page to help her daughter achieve her lifelong dream. The rescue facility will be based from the 42.5-hectare (105-acre) family farm in Te Tii on the Purerua Peninsula in the Bay of Islands. READ MORE:• Kaimanawa Heritage Horses Welfare Society takes on next muster challenge• Owners needed as Kaimanawa wild horse muster near Waiouru approaches• Applications for Kaimanawa horses close in April• Kaimanawa hunters’ mission to save the whio Milli said it was an “amazing opportunity”. “I can’t thank them enough for helping me do this,” she said. “I’ve always wanted to have some land to have as many horses as possible. There are so many that end up going to the works in New Zealand.” Milli’s passion for horses stemmed from an early age; she has ridden since she was four and owns five horses. She later worked in show jumping stables in Europe and has competed in show jumping events, broken in young horses and learned about natural horsemanship. Milli now plans to take on horses destined for the meat works and those that are “misunderstood or sitting around in a paddock” to give them a second chance at life. She will also look at saving wild Kaimanawa ponies, which are culled from the Waiouru military training area in the central North Island if they don’t find homes after mustering events. Milli said she will retrain the horses before selling them on to their forever homes. Her birthday gift works in well with another big dream – competing in the Olympics. And if she can do it on a difficult horse that’s previously been misunderstood, then all the better. “I like working with horses that have been misunderstood,” Milli said. “Some of the best horses have been written off like a car would. “I want to get as far as I can in show jumping, and to help as many horses as I can. “It’s such an expensive industry, the horses out there are worth millions, but you can get that diamond in the rough sometimes.” Milli plans to take on four horses at a time to start with, and build her rescue programme from there. So far nearly $700 has been raised on Givealittle. Vanessa said it’s an “extraordinary opportunity for her to stay local and do something amazing with our support”. “It’s a win for us and a win for Kerikeri. Thanks to everyone who supported her.” Anyone with a sound horse they’d like to pass on can contact Milli:
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