You may have heard about people adopting wild mustangs, but did you know where they come from and how to adopt one yourself?
Thousands of wild horses and burros (donkeys) live in the western states, but sometimes there isn't enough food or water in certain areas for them to survive. That's when the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) steps in to help.
The BLM helps make sure there is enough water and grass for both the wild horses and the cattle that graze in the area. It rounds up the horses and burros and brings them to facilities where they can get adopted.
Last year the BLM helped around 4,000 mustangs find new homes. It's a win-win situation: horses find homes and the land doesn't have too many animals trying to live off it.
Adopt a mustang
This issue's feature horses are Friday and Mr. Smalls. Even though lots of mustangs that are up for adoption aren't trained, both of these guys are.
Friday's riders say he's very sweet, and even though his name is Friday, they actually ride him a lot on Thursdays. He is a 14.3-hand 3-year-old gelding. He came from the White Mountain herd management area in Wyoming in November 2007.
Mr. Smalls is a 16-hand gelding. He's a bit older than Friday and is 6-years-old. He came from the Three Finger herd management area in Oregon in August 2006.
Both horses are currently in training at the Canon Correctional Center in Colorado.
How BLM mustangs get training
The Canon Correctional Center is one of several prison-inmate rehabilitation programs the BLM has in the United States. Professional trainers work with the inmates who are riding the horses so the horses have an opportunity to get some training. If you want to visit a horse that's in training at an inmate center, you need to make an appointment by calling the BLM at 866-4Mustangs.
Some horses are in training through the BLM's foster and trainer incentive program. People throughout the country have taken in one or two mustangs to train in the hopes that they'll be able to place them into great homes. Call the BLM to see if there's a horse in a foster home near you.
Friday and Mr. Smalls definitely aren't the only mustangs looking for new homes. By calling the BLM or visiting www.wildhorseandburro.blm.gov, you can find out about satellite adoptions. Satellite adoptions take place nation-wide at different times throughout the year. 50-70 mustangs will be trailered to an adoption location so you can go visit them.
Remember, adopting a wild mustang is a huge responsibility. Even if they've had some training, they're probably not done learning. You'll need an experienced trainer or horse person to help you every step of the way.
Mustang contact info:
If you're interested in Friday or Mr. Smalls or want to learn about mustangs that are up for adoption in your area, call the BLM at 866-4Mustangs and visit www.wildhorseandburro.blm.gov.
Young Rider goes to press several months in advance of this issue, so Friday and Mr. Smalls may not be available when you call the BLM. The BLM has lots of other mustangs all over the country looking for new homes, so don't be sad if they've been adopted.