National Wild Horse Adoption Day Aims for 1,000 Homes

People considering adopting a wild horse might find their equine matches at one of 35 events taking place nationwide during National Wild Horse Adoption Day Sept. 26.

Currently about 33,100 mustangs roam federal lands in 10 Western states. Another 31,750 reside in long- and short-term holding facilities under Bureau of Land Management (BLM) supervision. Of those, 8,000 are available for private adoption. Around 3,700 mustangs found adoptive homes in 2008--that's 2,000 fewer than the 5,700 adopted in 2005.

The National Adoption Day stems from a collaboration between the BLM and wild horse advocate organizations to promote wild horse adoptions nationwide. The groups hope to place 1,000 animals during events at BLM facilities and independent wild horse rescues in several states.

"Adoption is an option we have right now (to reduce the number of horses in short term holding facilities), but there never really was a concerted effort for people to notice that these horses need to be adopted," said Julie Bryant, coordinating director for the event.

Some of the events are also designed to educate prospective owners about the animals’ performance potential and training requirements, said National Mustang Heritage Foundation Trustee Paula Carr.

"People who want horses often overlook mustangs because of the training involved. These horses have no preconceived notions of what humans want or expect of them. People who take the time to achieve real, true bonding will have a quality horse for a lifetime," said Carr, who will host one of the adoption day events at her Carr’s Wild Horse and Burro Center in Tennessee.

Adoption fees will begin at $125 for horses with little or no training. Adoption fees for trained horses will be higher. Experienced mustang trainers and BLM personnel will be available at all events to answer questions and assist with adoption applications.

"Adopting a mustang is a lifetime commitment," said Carr. "But if you have the ways and means, this is the ideal situation for someone who wants a horse."

Visit for details about National Wild Horse Adoption Day. More on event times and locations.

About the Author

Pat Raia

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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