The American Mustang is a versatile horse that can excel in any discipline — but the adoption process can be a bit confusing for prospective owners. To help guide enthusiasts through the process, Love Road Wild Horse Sanctuary has published a Wild Horse Adoption Guide!
The state of the American Mustang — the free-roaming wild horses that can be found in pockets all over the West — is a complicated saga with plenty of twists and turns. In a nutshell, horses either escaped from or set loose by early settlers of the American West found homes on the range, with their descendants still flourishing today. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), a branch of the federal government, was charged to protect these wild horses and maintain their numbers, while also juggling interests from forestry, agriculture and mining on the same land.
To keep mustang numbers in check, the BLM conducts gathers and will remove what it deems to be excess horses from the land; these horses are then available to the public for adoption. Mustangs are hardy, versatile horses who have excelled in just about every discipline out there, from ranch work to dressage to eventing — but despite a low adoption fee of $215, adoption rates have declined steadily and many of these brilliant horses are shuffled to long-term holding. Literally thousands of horses with unlimited potential as competition or companion horses are simply warehoused, living out their lives in holding.
Unfortunately, the adoption process can be confusing and even intimidating for prospective owners; the numerous services and networking opportunities for adopting a started mustang are not well-publicized. Are trained horses available for adoption? Do I have to visit a holding facility to adopt a mustang? If I live on the East Coast, is owning a mustang just a dream for me?
These answers are not easily available in existing literature or on the BLM website. In order to demystify the adoption process and help educate the public, Love Road Wild Horse Sanctuary published the Wild Horse Adoption Guide. We spoke with Love Road’s founder and CEO Jaye Pratt to learn more.
Why an adoption guide?
Love Road Wild Horse Sanctuary has managed an educational outreach program for six years to increase awareness of the nation’s wild horses. “Love Road’s simple mission is to reduce the number of wild horses living in short-term government holding corrals,” states Pratt. The sanctuary is also working towards acquiring a sanctuary and adoption center in New Mexico.
A clear part of the mission to reduce wild horse numbers in government holding is increasing adoptions — but the adoption process is often confusing. “For the average person, the process of adopting a mustang from the BLM can be intimidating and confusing. The websites with information about the adoption process can be difficult to locate and the instructions are not concise.” Pratt found through her research that there wasn’t a single source that contains updated information about how to adopt a wild horse or where these adoption events are being held.
In response, Love Road’s Wild Horse Adoption Guide spells out all of the intricacies of the process, from the basic requirements for adopters and home facilities to further tips when introducing your mustang to its new home. The Wild Horse Adoption Guide includes sections with instructions on how to adopt an untrained mustang from both short-term holding and via internet adoption, where to find a trained mustang available for adoption and how to find a Trainer Incentive Program professional to help you with your mustang.
The 2017 edition lists all of the adoption events all over the country where interested individuals can adopt a mustang — including the East Coast. The next edition to be published in September 2017 will also list where individuals can find “sales authority” mustangs — these are horses who have failed three adoption events and are therefore available to be purchased directly from the BLM.
“Our goal in publishing this guide it to make the process of adoption more accessible,” describes Pratt. “We also want to increase interest and excitement about wild horse adoptions.”
Who is the guide for?
The short answer: anyone who has ever been interested in adopting a mustang and didn’t know where to start.
Pratt adds emphatically, “every kind of horse person should consider and would benefit from adopting a mustang! Mustangs are successful in every disciple of equestrian pursuit and competition. They are loyal, smart, and hearty.”
A few examples of mustang success stories both in and out of the show arena can be found at the Love Road adoption guide website.
Get your copy: The adoption guide is available for download from the Love Road website for a $4 donation, which will allow Love Road to continue its good work in promoting mustang adoption and educating the public. Click here to visit the page where you can download your own copy.
About Love Road:
Several years ago, Jaye Pratt fell in love with and adopted a mustang named Bruin. Her devotion to Bruin led her to establish Love Road Wild Horse Sanctuary and Adoption Center. Currently there are more than 16,000 wild horses in short-term government corrals. Love Road’s simple mission is to reduce the number of America’s horses living in these holding facilities.
To this end, Love Road has implemented an educational outreach program reaching well over 20,000 people, with the goal of increasing awareness about the current issues surrounding our wild horses, and of advocating for wild horse adoptions.
Go mustangs, and go riding!