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Wild horses join Minsmere ranks

PUBLISHED: 23:07 21 September 2001 | UPDATED: 10:33 03 March 2010

A HARDY herd of wild horses has arrived at the RSPB Minsmere reserve near Leiston to help maintain its delicate ecological balance. The eight primitive ponies, known as Koniks, are the first horses to be bought by the reserve.

A HARDY herd of wild horses has arrived at the RSPB Minsmere reserve near Leiston to help maintain its delicate ecological balance.

The eight primitive ponies, known as Koniks, are the first horses to be bought by the reserve.

Six yearling fillies from Suffolk Wildlife Trust's Redgrave and Lopham Fen arrived yesterday. They are due to be joined by two colts today.

Although there are no plans to breed the animals yet, it is possible the reserve may do so in the future as part of their management plans.

The ponies, from Polish breeding stock, are grey-brown in colour with a stripe down their backs and a hint of stripes on their legs, which are hallmarks of primitive wild horses.

They are used for grazing on nature reserves since they are able to eat a wide range of vegetation and are tolerant of wet conditions and almost any weather.

Minsmere reserve office Andy Needle said: "I think they are marvellous. I like the look of them."

He particularly admired their independent spirit, he said.

The horses also have a gentle temperament. It is hoped they will help create a "mosaic" of habitats from their grazing.

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