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Wild Horse and Burro Program (BLM) Facts
Wild Horse Facts
“”SEE –STATS AT BOTTOM OF PAGE””
A Problem of Numbers
According to most estimates, the wild horse and burro population grows at a rate of around 17 percent per year. Making nearly 33,000 wild horses in open ranges and 76,000 in holding facilities with over 8.800 of these being over 10 years of age, under the new law as of 05 these 8,800 can be sold off to a one time buyer and saving the BLM $11,000 per day to fee or estimated $4,015,000.00 per year just for these. Add in the whole 76,000 is $262,200.00 per day to feed or $95,703,000.00 per year just to feed the holding facilities not including salaries or other maintenance or vehicles, offices etc. Add in that the BLM only sold 20% of the 8,800 or 2,000 with 17% increase. The Wild Horse Foundation in Texas received 1 out of 5 of the 2,000 or 20%of these. The BLM is not getting ahead. Congress has made many complaints to the BLM that they are not managed properly need a complete over haul in there program. The BLM contends that they are just managers of a program that has been dictated to them by Congress so its a circle of “who’s in charge and they can’t fix it. The issue to the tax payers is a fleecing of money where people have jobs but no ne wants to make a decision.
Dawn of an American Legend
Spanish explorers and missionaries brought the first modern horses (Equus caballus) and burros (Equus asinus) to the New World in the 16th century. Today’s North American free-roaming horses and burros are descendants of those domestic animals and of later animals that escaped–or were released–from captivity. They are therefore technically described as feral–descended from domestic animals, but no longer under human control. However, the term wild has become generally accepted in nonscientific use. Free-roaming horses of Spanish ancestry are also referred to as mustangs, a term that came into use in the early 1800’s and is Americanized slang for the Spanish word mesteño, meaning “stranger”.
The Wild Bunch — May 2001
Roaming the West
Today, American wild horses and burros are located primarily in remote portions of the West, with much smaller populations of horses also living on barrier islands off the mid-Atlantic coast.
Most western herds are managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) within about 200 herd management areas (HMAs) located in 10 western states. In total, BLM manages an estimated 40,000 horses and 5,000 burros roaming 17.4 million acres of public and private lands. Half of these animals are located in Nevada. Far smaller numbers of horses are managed by the U.S. Forest Service, the National Park Service, the Department of Defense, and tribal and state governments.
In the West, wild horses inhabit arid grasslands and semidessert shrublands, but may also be found in piñon-juniper woodlands with an understory of grasses. Grasses, such as Indian ricegrass (Oryzopsis hymenoides) and western wheatgrass (Agropyron smithii), are their forage of choice. During the winter, wild horses depend on a variety of scrubs and in times of heavy snowfall will even eat the sprigs and bark of trees. Each day, the average wild horse eats about 11 kg of food and spends an average of 12 hours grazing.
The Wild Bunch — May 2001
He’s desert bred, he’s underfed, and tough as a piñon tree,
No cowboy pals or pole corrals, just wild and runnin’ free.
No thing of beauty, most would say, but beauty’s hidden there.
It’s in the blood of a rangy stud, and the heart of a mustang mare.
– “Wild Mustang”
Myths About Wild Horses
by Toni L. Gentzler
Wild Horse and Burro Program
Excerpt from: National Wild Horse and Burro News
Recently, I was contacted by the media to discuss the wild horse program. They wanted to know how the public perceives wild horses, why it is difficult to find homes for wild horses, and what is the social consciousness of wild horse adoptions. These questions were triggered by an article in the Rapid City Journal (October 8, 2000), which gave the impression the BLM is begging people to take horses and that people think mustangs are the “mutts” of the horse world. The topic kind of got my dander up, and I want to share with you some of the myths and truths about wild horses and why there is a need for the adopt-a-horse program.
Myth: They are untamable
Truth: Wild horses can be gentled if the adopter can abate the horse’s fears and establish trust through least resistance training methods. Aggressive behavior or overreaction by the adopter increases fear and decreases trust. Once trust is established, the horse will recognize the adopter as his new leader and instinctively follow. Training becomes easy.
Myth: They are dumb and inbred
Truth: Studies have shown that wild horses are NOT inbred. Mares do not mate with the same stallion all their lives, and young fillies are run off by the herd stallion, to find a new stallion for mating. Young colts are driven off by the stallion to form bachelor bands until they are old enough to compete for mares. The wild horses I have known are quite smart, and I get the same reports from many adopters. It makes sense that intelligence is beneficial for survival in the wild, therefore natural selection would weed out “dumb” animals.
Myth: They are ugly and have poor conformation
Truth: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I love the look of a wild horses and how they move and carry themselves. Wild horses have been bred for survival, and survival demands that horses are strong and efficient. They are medium to heavy boned, carry themselves in a collected manner, and are surefooted over rough terrain. Wild horses come in all different shapes, colors, and sizes. The “look” of horses in a particular herd area depends on the breeds that established that herd area, as well as environmental factors. Where forage is scarce, such as southern Nevada, the horses are smaller; where forage is more abundant, the horses are larger. The average wild horse is 13 to 14.2 hands high. However some wild horses, influenced by draft breeds, reach 16-17 hands high. Some of the horses resemble the old Spanish barb, Quarter horse, Thoroughbred, Morgan, or draft. Adopters can usually find a horse in nearly any color if they are patient.
Myth: They are only worth $125
Truth: The $125 adoption fee, is not based on the animal’s worth. Also, people are not purchasing wild horses; they are adopting them. The fee is intended to reimburse the Government for vaccination costs. Adopted horses require extra care initially, such as worming and supplemental feed, therefore the adoption fee is kept to a minimum to encourage the adopter to spend money for extra care.
Social Consciousness of Adopting:
Some people who decide to adopt do so because they think they are saving the horse from death or slaughter; this is not a good reason to adopt. I have seen horses suffer neglect from well-meaning people who didn’t know what to do with a wild horse once they got it home. Wild Horses are protected by the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act and are cared for by the BLM. Horses and burros determined to be “unadoptable” are eventually sent to a sanctuary to live out their days (on pasture); they are not put to death.
People should adopt for the same reason they would purchase any other horse: they are looking for a friend, companion, sport horse, or working tool. Some people adopt for the challenge of gentling a wild horse; others adopt to have a “living symbol” of the American West; still more adopt because it is the most economical means of obtaining a sound horse with a good mind. All these are good reasons to adopt, and horses who find homes with these types of people usually have a better life than they did wild on the range.
In the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971, Congress declared that the wild horses and burros are “living symbols” of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West; they contribute to the diversity of life-forms within the nation; and they enrich the lives of the American people. It is a privilege to own a wild horse or burro.
Why is it difficult to find homes for wild horses? I think it is because the myths are more wide spread than the facts, and often people have the, “you get what you pay for” mentality. Spread the word, and dispel the myths!
Comments or questions? Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
A Dream’s Journey Home
by Wilda Williams
Together we can make a difference, mustang and man
We will walk together mane and hand
Some people feel that it’s wrong to remove them from their land.
Others must see that we are saving their lives and thus we make our stand.
We take these spirited beauties into our hearts and lives
so that they may live, breath and thrive.
Wildfires and lack of food drive them from their land
tell me have you seen water flowing in the sand?
Mustangs need guidance and love too.
They are smart brilliant animals who make dreams come true.
For 29 years I wanted and waited for a void to be filled.
When I found out about Mustang adoption I was more than thrilled.
Both feet first and standing upright,
my dream came true literally over night.
Proper housing and transportation on hand
I adopted a mustang with a friend.
How can people think it’s bad to save but a few,
because in the land of mustang you can adopt too!
I’m so very happy and proud to say
I have a beautiful blue roan and an awesome red bay.
I have made the difference in the life of a legend
and too they’ve made a difference in mine.
For the love of our mustangs and the inspiration they give,
our lives will never be boring as long as we live.
Excerpt from: National Wild Horse & Burro News-Fall/Winter 2002
There is more to lose than land. A way of life and an understanding of who we are is also at stake. Horsemanship is important to our country’s history and lore. It teaches us responsibility and stewardship and how to care for another lifeform. When we protect this, it enriches our communities.”
John F. Turner, 1997, former Director, U.S. Fish &
This is where you will find interesting facts and myths about Wild Mustangs and Burros http://www.wildhorseandburro.blm.gov/.
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