Want To Adopt a Wild Horse? Here’s What You Need To Know
To help manage the populations of wild mustangs in a healthy and ethical way, the Bureau of Land Management provides adoption services for those willing to adopt a wild horse. That said, it can be difficult to find enough people willing to adopt. Deb Lee Carson uses her black and white wild horse photography to advocate for and inspire people to create real connections with our country’s wild horses. If you’re feeling inspired and want to adopt a wild horse, here’s what you need to know.
When you go to adopt a wild horse, you’ll do so through the Bureau of Land Management. It has certain guidelines in place to ensure horses are being adopted by responsible prospective owners. For starters, you’ll need to be at least 18 years of age and free of any animal cruelty convictions or violations of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. Every prospective owner will have to fill out an application and undergo a review by the BLM to ensure you’re a good fit.
Keep in mind that horses can live to be 30. Be prepared for the long-term commitment, and research the costs associated with owning a horse over their lifetime. Wild horses connect to their humans on a much deeper level than domestic horses, and that connection is not to be taken lightly.
Be Adaptable and Willing To Learn
Understand that if you want to adopt a wild horse, you’ll need to be willing to adapt and learn alongside your mustang. The mustangs offered for adoption typically have not undergone any training, but they’re by no means feral. Wild mustangs are surprisingly adaptable and stalwart companions, but it will require that you put in the work every day. Be ready to commit to handling your mustang nearly every single day, but don’t feel like you must do this all alone. If you’ve never trained a mustang, you can find and hire expert assistance to help you learn the best practices and better understand your horse’s body language.
If you do not have the experience needed to gentle a wild horse on your own, some trainers will do that for you through the Mustang Heritage Foundation, Trainer Incentive Program (TIP). Qualified trainers are available in 40 states.
Caring for Your Horse
To ensure your adopted mustang is comfortable and happy, you’ll need to prepare a few things. The BLM will require you to have an appropriately sized trailer that your horse can comfortably ride in before they will even allow you to adopt. Once back home, however, you’ll need at least 400 square feet of corral with appropriate fencing for your mustang. For further details, you can refer to the BLM adoption necessities to ensure you have everything you need.