Adopting a horse from the wild | Living the Country Life

Adopting a horse from the wild

A living legend of the American West could be grazing in your pasture

Radio interview source: Dave Berg, Program Specialist, U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management


Listen to the radio mp3 or read below

Wild horses running free across the prairie aren't just images in the movies. There are thousands of horses on the western ranges, and if you're qualified, you can own one.

Dave Berg is a program specialist with the U-S Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management. He says there are over 37,000 wild horses and burros in the western states. They're allowed to roam and breed, but their numbers are managed so they don't overpopulate and destroy the ranges.

Some animals are moved and put up for adoption. Berg says if you're interested, you will be asked to fill out an application, which will ask you about your facilities.

"You have to have a shelter that is large enough so that it can easily hold a horse, and it has to have at least three sides on it. And then you need to have a good, tall sturdy fence," says Berg. "We don't approve electric wire, and we certainly don't approve barbed wire. The corral that we want them in, smaller is better than bigger, but it has to be at least 400-square-foot."

The Bureau holds adoptions every month from about February-to-November. A schedule is listed on its website.

"You can either adopt from one of our satellite auctions, and you can also adopt off of the internet," says Berg. "You can look at the horses and if you found one that you liked, you could fill out an application, and send a check for $125, and they will give you a pin number so you can access the internet. And then you can bid on there just like going to an auction sale."

The minimum price is $125 for horses younger than 3-years-old. Those older than three can be adopted for $25.  

Berg says they are delivered up-to-date on vaccines, and with documentation of a negative test for equine infectious anemia.

The Bureau's adoption schedule is listed here

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