AFTER 10 years of selling Guy Fawkes brumbies the demand for the horses has almost outstripped supply.
Guy Fawkes Heritage Horse Association founders Erica Jessup and Graeme Baldwin last year sold 100 of the horses caught in the Guy Fawkes National Park, west of Dorrigo.
They now have just three left in their stable and are keen for the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) to begin its 2015 trapping operations.
Ms Jessup said the actual number of horses is not the problem with an estimated 1700 running free in the park.
She said the main issue is the number the NPWS traps each year.
"The horses' breeding rate is about 20% a year," she said. "That's 20% compounding interest if you like. So without trapping there would 2040 next year and 20% of that the year after and so on."
Ms Jessup said although the NPWS has a stated aim of removing all horses from the park, the number it traps each year does not reflect this.
"They would have to trap around 400 a year to have an impact and probably about 1000 a year to completely eradicate them," she said.
"They're trapping no-where near that number."
Ms Jessup, who is the association treasurer and stud registrar, said 2014 was the first year the association had sold all its horses.
"It's taken some time but people are now becoming aware how good these horses are," she said.
"They're originally descended from horses known as 'Walers' which were used during the Boer War and World War 1.
"They came back here after the war, in the time when cars and motorised transport started to take over and were allowed to run wild."
Ms Jessup said the breed was noted as naturally quiet, brave and level headed, which is why they were used for war service, but that was not the only reason for their popularity.
"You get a lot of good lookers among them," Ms Jessup said.
She said Guy Fawkes horses had been used in a variety of roles and even become champions.
"The current Australian champion mounted archery horse is a Guy Fawkes horse," she said.
She said the association will hold the first of its popular open days for 2015 on January 25.
"We have three or four through the year and we always start off with one on Australia Day," she said.
"We'll do a demonstration with our horses and National Parks will give an update on the trapping program."
How to buy
- Prices range from $300 to more than $2000 for a Guy Fawkes Heritage Horse. The price is largely determined by the appearance and age of the horse. All horses sold by the GFHHA are eligible to be registered with the GFHHA Inc and entered into the GFHHA stud book.
- Horses are also able to be registered with brumby horse associations and may be eligible for registration with other societies and associations eg: pinto, dilute, Australian Quarter Pony and Australian Saddle Pony.
- To view current horses, ring Erica on (02) 6657 5342. Go to http://www.guyfawkesheritagehorse.com for more information.
Brumbies sell like hot cakes
SHOCKED locals formed the Guy Fawkes Heritage Horse Association after they witnessed the aerial cull of 600 horses in the Guy Fawkes River National Park in 2000.
Media coverage of the cull reached every corner of the world and the Australian government was pressured to 'please explain'.
A study was commissioned into the heritage value of the horses in the park with a commitment to manage them humanely if genuine heritage significance was proven.
The Heritage Working Party found that that these horses have significant historical, military and cultural value.
They are direct descendants of Australia's wartime cavalry horses, known as Walers, and are the only group of Australian Wild Horse to have this proven heritage value.
GFHHA has been actively rehoming hundreds of Heritage Horses every year since 2004 and reintroducing Australians to their sweet, loving temperaments, floating paces, loyalty and sure footedness.