Have you ever wanted to own a one of a kind piece of American history? Well, now you can.
The Bureau of Land Management is hosting an adoption event this weekend where potential adopters can view wild horses and burros seeking their new homes.
In order to encourage adoptions the Bureau of Land Management, or BLM, is offering a $1,000 incentive for adoption.
Previously, adopters would have to pay $125 to adopt an American Mustang or burro. However, the BLM’s new incentive program hopes refresh interest in adoptions.
Of the $1,000 granted, $500 will be awarded at the time of the adoption and the remaining $500 will be given when owners show they have responsibly provided for the animal for a year.
The horses and burros available range in age from yearling to adulthood and have a rich history. These previously free-roaming horses were descended from horses who were brought to the Americas by the Spanish.
The Spanish horses were either turned loose or escaped and were the foundation for the American Mustang. Over time, other breeds and types of horses also contributed to the modern Mustang. Now, some Mustangs still display Spanish type features while others resemble drafts or quarter horses.
They may be of any coat color and are known for being surefooted. Because of their mixed ancestry, the height of a mustang can range anywhere from 14 to 15 hands, and are not taller than 16 hands.
In the early 1900’s, thousands of these mustangs were rounded up for use in the Spanish-American War and World War I. The Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1970 provided guidelines for protecting these animals and set up the current adoption program.
Land that is set aside for free-roaming horses can only support 27,000 animals. Unfortunately, it is estimated that 88,000 wild horses are in America right now.
Consequences for leaving the mustangs unchecked is overgrazed land which will result in starving horses. The solution the BLM has come up with is rounding up these animals and placing them in holding pens while they wait for adopters.
Approximately 50,000 mustangs are currently in holding pens. It has been said that the BLM spends $50 million of it’s $80 million annual budget on caring for the horses and burros in the holding pens.
The cost of keeping a horse in a holding pen for a year is approximately $2,000. Horses that are not adopted are kept in long term holding pens instead of being euthanized. This practice costs taxpayers up to $50,000 per horse over the course if it’s lifetime.
Rather than continue to spend taxpayer money by keeping horses in pens, the BLM realized it would be cheaper to offer the adoption incentive than it would be for them to keep a horse for a year.
The BLM reports that adoptions have gone up 40% since the incentive program began in March of 2019.
This weekend’s adoption event will begin on January 11 from noon-6 P.M. at the Rio Grande Valley Livestock Showgrounds in Mercedes Texas and will continue on Saturday from 8 A.M.-noon.
How to Adopt a Horse
Potential adopters must be at least 18 years of age, have no history of animal abuse, and have a minimum of 400 square feet of corral space on their property.
Applications will be approved on site and parties may adopt up to four animals at a time. The BLM also has specific requirements for trailers and fencing, these requirements can be found on their website.
Interested parties are encouraged to visit the BLM’s website here for further information.