Looking for a 'Wild' Summer Project? Why Not Adopt a Horse or Burro?

The U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has got a 'wild' summer idea for you. Approximately 100 wild horses and burros will be available for adoption at The Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Facility at Cross Plains, Tennessee on May 20-21, 2000. A variety of animals will be available—yearling males, females, geldings, male and female burros.

BLM's Eastern States Director Gayle Gordon said, "These horses may be a little wild now, but with care and patience, they can excel in a variety of disciplines, from endurance and trail riding to reining and western pleasure."

Most of these wild horses were gathered from the New Pass-Ravenswood Herd Management (HMA) located approximately 35 miles northwest of Austin, Nevada. The terrain varies from steep north and south trending mountain ranges separated by large, sweeping valley bottoms. Temperatures range from in excess of 100 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer to less than 20 degrees below zero in the winter. Precipitation is in short supply with an annual total of only 5 to 16 inches. The lower and drier elevations consist of saltbrush, greasewood, sagebrush and a variety of annual and perennial grasses and wildflowers. In some areas it may take 25 acres to support one horse for a month. Last August wild fires forced 945 wild horses from this HMA. Many of the animals are being offered for adoption, but some will be held for return to the HMA once it is rehabilitated.

Qualified individuals who agree to give the mustangs good homes can adopt for a starting fee of $125 per animal. This nominal fee helps recover some of the expenses the Federal Government incurs for transportation and veterinary care.

You can qualify to adopt by providing a 12 x 12 foot shelter and a 20 x 20 foot corral that has sturdy fencing constructed of pole, pipe, or plank boards at least 6 feet high for horses and 5 feet high for burros. You must have a solidly-constructed stock type trailer with a covered top and side-swinging back gates (drop ramps are not permitted). Divided two-horse trailers are not acceptable. Also, you need to bring along halters and lead ropes.

The BLM contract crew will halter and load your foster animal(s) into your trailer. And each animal will have been checked by a veterinarian or qualified professional and will be certified as healthy before leaving the Cross Plains Adoption facility.

People who are interested in adopting a 'living legend' can pick up an application at the Cross Plains facility on Friday, May 19, between 1:00-5:00 p.m. or on Saturday, May 20, between 7:00-9:00 a.m. All applicants approved before 9:00 a.m. on May 20, will be eligible for the "lottery" drawing to determine the order in which adopters may choose their animals. After lottery participants have selected their animals for adoption, any remaining animals will be available for adoption by qualified adopters who did not participate in the lottery.

The Cross Plains Adoption Facility is located approximately 35 miles north of Nashville, Tennessee. From I-65 North, take exit 112. Take Highway 25 west for 4 miles and follow the signs to the facility. Adoption hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

For more information about the Wild Horse and Burro Program, visit http://www.adoptahorse.blm.gov.

About the Author

Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief

Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief, received a B.A. in Journalism and Equestrian Studies from Averett College in Danville, Virginia. A Pony Club and 4-H graduate, her background is in eventing, and she is schooling her recently retired Thoroughbred racehorse, Happy, toward a career in that discipline. She also enjoys traveling, photography, cycling, and cooking in her free time.

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