Wild, Wild West: Government Adoption Incentive Offers $1,000 to Home a Wild Horse

March 19, 2019 Updated: March 24, 2019

The equation is a simple one: a rising wild horse population in the West plus fewer annual horse adoptions equals one significant environmental impact.

In an effort to avoid disaster, the Bureau of Land Management is offering an incentive to horse lovers, and even inexperienced, interested parties, by announcing that they will allocate $1,000 to anybody willing to adopt a wild horse. The BLM‘s criteria stipulate that adopters are eligible to receive “$500 within 60 days of adoption of an untrained wild horse and burro,” and an additional “$500 within 60 days of titling the animal.” People who are interested can adopt up to four wild horses or burros.

The rising wild horse population sadly means that some of these creatures are beginning to starve. The Idaho Statesman reported that the estimated 82,000 wild horses and burros that currently occupy rangelands across the West represent three times the amount that the land can cope with, hence landscape devastation and starvation resulting from overgrazing. The BLM captured and removed 11,472 wild horses and burros in 2018, but only 4,609 were successfully re-homed through sale or adoption.

Wild horse and burros are protected species, with Congress referring to them as “living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West.”

Illustration – Shutterstock | Andrew Lever

The BLM’s $1,000 incentive is, in part, an effort to reduce the strain on the bureau’s wild horse corrals, which currently capture, shelter, and care for a huge number of the horses in need. Adoption incentives cannot come into play a moment too soon: the bureau released a statement confirming that they care for approximately 50,000 unadopted and unsold animals every year. It’s not hard to recognize that their resources are overstretched.

The aptly named Brian Steed, BLM deputy director of Programs and Policy, explained to the Reno Gazette-Journal that inexperienced adopters need not be deterred. “The incentive is designed to help with the adopter’s initial training and humane care,” Steed confirmed. So, for horse lovers everywhere, this could be an offer to seize with both hands.

Wild horse adopters comprise something of a thriving community, it seems. Over 245,000 wild horses or burros have been successfully adopted since 1971, and there is a wealth of information and support widely available to anybody who is interested in signing up. “I encourage anyone who has considered adopting a wild horse or burro to join the thousands of owners who have provided good homes,” Steed added.

One such adopter, Courtney Ferguson, shared her story on the BLM’s (incredibly inspiring—we urge you to check it out) Flickr page. Taylor is an 18-year-old Nevada mustang who has been certified as a therapy horse for Saddle Pals, a charity that works to empower students with cerebral palsy, autism, and Down syndrome. “His favorite activity is trail riding,” Courtney shared. “Since I’ve gentled him … we’ve become a good team.”

Illustration – Shutterstock | pics721

Another of a great many success stories is the story of a Palomino Mustang named Ella and her owner, Megan, who was gifted the horse for her 13th birthday in 2012. The pair have been inseparable ever since. “The first months are crucial to form a bond,” Ella informed readers, “and bond we did. I worked hard and received very little help while training her.” Megan soon reaped the benefits of a unique relationship based upon mutual respect and care.

“She saved me by giving me a wonderful experience,” Megan continued, “and I saved her by giving her a purpose.”

About the Wild Horse and Burro Progam

The Bureau of Land Management oversees 26.9 million acres of public land managed for wild horses, wild burros and other species. Unchecked herds double in size every four years, due to a lack of natural predators capable of controlling herd growth and a rapid growth rate. To prevent overpopulation and overgrazing, the BLM gathers excess animals and offers them to a good home through a network of off-range corrals and dozens of off-site events nationwide. Learn more about the Wild Horse and Burro Program: www.BLM.gov/WHB or 866-468-7826 and bring home your own wild horse or burro.

BLM Wild Horse & Burro Program 发布于 2019年3月4日周一

For anybody interested in joining a thriving community and helping solve the distressing issue of wild horse overpopulation, don’t horse around … contact the Bureau of Land Management directly and do something wonderful for the wild, wild West.