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little cow

Would you adopt a BLM animal?

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I have been getting more information on the animals that they adopt out.  I don't really want to debate what to do with the wild horses, because there are far too many emotions that get involved.  What I really want to know is if anyone here would be comfortable adopting a young BLM animal.  I am signing up to train an occasional burro, because I love working with donkeys.  As a result, I check out the internet auctions and I have spoken with the BLM reps several times.  I learned a lot about how things actually work.  It isn't anything like I thought.  

They bring a group of animals to various spots for live auctions.  The first stops typically get the pick of the litter, if you will.  Some of the first animals sold are the ones that are halter broke.  The Mustang Heritage FOundation runs the Extreme Mustang events.  These animals have 90 days and some of the trainers are awesome.  The last event near me featured some excellent horses.  I would definitely call these horses well started (in most cases) but green.  

There are also several internet auctions throughout the year.  They have many pictures and videos.  You can also call and ask about a particular animal.  Many animals are straight off the range and unhandled.  They can be as old as 10.  These unbroke horses get three chances for adoption.  Once they reach age 10, or have not had any bidders after three auctions, they can be sold for as little as $10 per head to dealers.  These dealers are not slaughter reps, but they can sell to slaughter reps.  On the internet auction site, it says whether or not the horses were captured or born in the pens.  

Some for the horses on the internet auctions have been handled.  There is a ranch that gives great descriptions of the animals that they work with.  Some prisoners work and train some of the animals and these, too, will have descriptions.  Before Christmas, they trained a bunch of larger burros for packing and showed great pictures of them all saddled up and ready, as well as personality descriptions.  The trained animals go for a much better price.  

They also sell weanlings and yearlings.  Anything that is has a pretty color goes for a higher price.  The bays and chestnuts are the ones most commonly seen getting to age ten without bidders.  

You have to fill out an application prior to the event, whether it's a live auction or internet auction.  The application is easy, but they do have fence height requirements for either burros or mustangs.  

So, if they pull a mustang off the range in Wyoming, or out of a pen in Colorado, how do you get them if you live on the East Coast?  Well, you can go pick them up, or you can wait until they have an event in your area (usually within several months) and they will bring them to you.  

So, have you adopted?  Would you consider adopting?  Why, or why not?

The latest auction starts on Tuesday.  Here is a link:

https://www.blm.gov/adoptahorse/onlinegallery.php

 

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I've had 2 mustangs in past years. Wouldn't mind another if I were still able to deal with it, and actually had a place for it.

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When I lose my sweet old mare, I will definitely consider adopting from the BLM.  I am also interested in bidding on the Extreme Mustang horses.  I watched some of the events and I was impressed with the animals.  In the meantime, I can't wait for a burro to train.  

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I considered a mustang just before I bought Jubal. I went to the preview day before the auction in a nearby town. I had already pretty much ruled out buying one because of the fence height requirement. All of my fencing had just been built and was not tall enough. The horses they had ran the gamut from old to young and all were fairly rough looking. I would not have adopted one. 

If you feel you have the skill to train one and the facilities to keep it, go for it. You'll save a critter and put money into a program that's probably going to be cut off from funds soon.

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After fighting navicular in our last horse for six years, I am interested in a tougher animal.  Some BLM mustangs are club footed, so you have to watch for that, but other than that, they tend to be very healthy and strong.   The vets say the biggest issue they see in mustangs are people not trimming their feet.  Some idiotic myth floats around about not needing to trim the hooves of mustangs or burros.  I know the local farrier that trims for some of the Extreme Mustang trainers, so he can tell me which are good about their feet being handled before the next event.  They typically have very good feet.

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They have good feet as long as they are on the range. After being in a holding facility for awhile, they have the same feet as neglected horses anywhere. The ones I saw had terrible looking feet. Terribly neglected. Maybe now they treat them better, but back then, those horses hadn't been trimmed ever.

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You're right, they don't trim them.  But their feet come back when they get trained.  It takes work and good trimmer, but their hooves are free from the man made genetic issues.  Occasionally, you see deformities in mustangs from inbreeding, but those animals don't survive.  If they are in holding pens, they are culled.   In many ways, this is superior to our selective breeding.  Far too many breeders keep bad stallions with pretty coats and breed unsound mares for a pretty foal.

Edited by little cow

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I almost did ´but getting a feral animal on a plane to Germany isn't so realistic.   they're tough, otherwise they don't survive out there, and why in the heck would they need trimming?  they're walking, walking, walking looking for food and water.   and they're a classic example of Darwinism---survival of the fittest.   

 

how the heck do you want to trim an animal that's not been handled?? 

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If they're being confined in a pen for months and months, they need trimming. But they don't get it because they aren't handled. So when the adopter gets one, the mustang's feet are in pretty bad shape. I believe I explained this in my post. Do you bother to read other posts before you criticize them?

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Some of the animals are born in the pens and adopted out, but they still end up with decent feet, after some good work by a trimmer.   I can understand the concern, though.  Some animals are only in the pens for a few months, depending on when they are rounded up.  I think the biggest round up is after the new year because of when they do their count of how many animals are on each range area and their estimated stocking rate.  So, if you adopt one in the early spring that was taken off the range in the last month or two, you would have less of a time pressure to get them trained to have their feet handled.  

There is one issue to keep in mind if you live near an air base or helicopter platform.  The Mustangs removed from the range, as opposed to being born in the pens, do have an intense fear of helicopters.  One of the BLM guys said his mustang was still afraid of helos after many years.  We have helos flying overhead daily where we live, so it might be wise for me to consider a pen born Mustang.

One myth is that the BLM abuses Mustangs.  They hire contractors to work the animals through the pens for branding, vaccinations, and gelding.  They also hire contractors to use helicopters to round them up.  The BLM staff is very, very small.  The contractors are, of course, lowest bidder hired by the government.  The BLM people I've spoken with really like the animals, but they cannot fire the contractors directly for mistreatment.  There is a process.

I had some misconceptions about it all and I was happy I listened and kept my mind open when I looked into it.  

Edited by little cow

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I wouldn't, but only because I know my limitations.  Were I younger, I would have loved a green mustang with 90 days on it and probably could have done well with one.  But at my age now and my current riding ability (physical limitations) I could not.
I liked reading through this topic and it makes me happy to know you are considering a burro - because I know what kind of awesome life it will have with you.

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Thanks, Heidi!  The program is actually about me training a burro for the BLM so they sell better.  It's kind of like Mustang Makeover, but we don't break the burros to ride.  It's a private foundation that runs this, so it isn't dependent on government funding.  The burros we get will be trained to lead, load in a trailer, have their feet handled, and to carry a pack saddle.  I am also trying to get an informational booth in next year's fair to teach people how to pack with their donkey or goat.  Lots of folks around here have goats and donkeys that do nothing but sit in their pastures.  They don't tend to take good care of their feet or do right by them.  If I can encourage people to play with their donkeys and goats, the animals benefit from better care (feet trimmed and more attention) and the people benefit from the exercise.  Everyone wins.  That's the idea anyway.  Sometimes you have to help create a niche to benefit animals.  There are so many neglected donkeys in this area.  I don't want my carefully trained burros to become just another donkey out in a field with no attention.

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Oh!  So it will be like you are fostering them?  I think that is a fantabulous way to help them find good homes!  

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I would have done it years ago but we don't meet the fence requirements. I still might adopt a burro some day but I do not have the time for one right now.

I've never been overly impressed with mustangs but I adore the burros. They are so clever, I'm surprised they even catch them!

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