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Wild Horse Adoption Still Providing “Free” Horses
Federal law defines wild horses and burros as animals that are unbranded, unclaimed, and free-roaming on public lands. Most are descendants of livestock once held by the U.S. Calvary, Spanish explorers, miners and ranchers, and Native Americans.
The BLM manages and protects these animals on almost 27 million acres of public land across 10 states and has placed closed to 250,000 wild horses and burros into private hands since 1971. The goal of these adoptions is to keep the numbers down on fragile public rangeland.
The animals start wild but their sure-footedness, endurance, and innate intelligence mean they have excellent potential as trained work or pleasure animals. Many adopted wild horses have become skilled at everything from dressage and barrel racing to pleasure riding. Likewise, wild burros are excellent for driving, packing, guarding, and acting as companions for livestock.
If you’re interested you can attend off-site adoption events, visit one of several dozen adoption centers run by the BLM, or join an internet adoption event. Potential adopters must meet standard requirements for caring for wild horses or burros, including certifying that they have proper facilities to give them a good home. Some centers may have additional requirements.
Right now you can take advantage of an Adoption Incentive Program that provides up to $1,000 for adopting an untrained wild horse or burro from the BLM. Under this program, adopters can receive $500 within 60 days of adopting an untrained wild animal and an additional $500 within 60 days of titling it.
While new owners are responsible for transporting their adopted animals, those who purchase animals during a scheduled competitive bidding event may request more convenient drop-off locations.
The minimum adoption fee for untrained animals is $25 and starts at $125 for those trained and gentled, though it often goes up for more desirable animals in competitive bidding situations. It’s possible to receive a title for up to 4 wild horses or burros within a 12-mo. period.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Wild Horse and Burro Information Center, 760 Horizon Drive, Grand Junction, Colo. 81506 (ph 866 468-7826; wildhorse@blm.gov).

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2021 - Volume #45, Issue #4