BLM Offering Weanling Horses and Mules for Public Adoption

Horse enthusiasts who want to begin training a young animal for pleasure riding, work or competition have the opportunity to adopt a weanling wild horse or mule, when the Bureau of Land Management holds a special adoption event Saturday, Nov. 18, at California's Litchfield Corrals.

The corrals are on U. S. Highway 395 about 20 miles east of Susanville, Calif.

The BLM will offer 60 mustangs, all under a year old, and five mules (two weanlings and three yearlings) in the adoption event that runs from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will be an hour of silent bidding beginning at 9 a.m. Animals not taken during bidding will be available on a first-come, first-served basis for a $125 adoption fee.

"All of these animals come from northeast California herd areas, including Twin Peaks, that are known for producing good-sized wild horses," said KC Pasero, the BLM's Wild Horse and Burro Program manager for northeast California. "All have received vaccinations for common equine diseases, rabies and West Nile virus. They have been de-wormed and have negative Coggins test results. Adopters receive health care records so they can begin health care programs with their veterinarians."

Pasero said adopters will have until noon Sunday, Nov. 19 to pick up their animals.

To qualify, adopters must be at least 18 years old and have no convictions for inhumane treatment of animals. BLM staff members will interview all prospective adopters to be sure they meet the BLM adoption requirements and can provide the required facilities.

Newly adopted weanling mustangs and mules must be kept in corrals with at least 400 square feet of space per animal (20 feet by 20 feet), surrounded by a five-foot fence built of pipe or boards. Adopters must provide a two-sided, roofed shelter to provide protection from extreme weather.

"Adopted animals should be kept in this corral until they can be approached, handled, haltered and led," Pasero explained. "Un-gentled animals should not be placed in large, open pastures."

Adopters must provide a halter and lead rope. BLM wranglers will halter and load adopted animals. Adult horses must be transported in stock trailers with side-swinging gates.

Title to adopted wild horses and burros remains with the federal government for one year. After providing a year of good care, adopters can receive title. The BLM or a representative will check on the condition of the animal during the one-year adoption period.

"Wild horses are strong, loyal, intelligent and very trainable," Pasero said. "Adopters find they are great for pleasure riding and trail riding, back country packing, ranch work and competition. Twin Peaks horses have done very well in endurance rides sanctioned by the American Endurance Ride Conference."

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