Date Last Revised:
09-Jun-2007 14:23

Running Free - A Wild Horse Tale

rearing horse

Wild Horse Adoption

Want to Adopt a Wild Horse?

Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Program

BLM Wild Horse and Burro Logo Click on the BLM's logo to do directly to their site for all the specific details on adopting a wild horse. At their site you can print off application forms, find adoption centers near you, find answers to frequently asked questions, and much more.


Overview of Wild Horse Adoption - Based on BLM's Site Information

Why adopt a wild horse?

With proper training, care, and love a wild horse can become a wonderful companion. Many wild horses have gone on to be dressage, western, and endurance champions. Providing a home and caring for a wild horse is both rewarding and challenging. As an adopter it will be your responsibility and a challenge to form a bond and trust between you and your wild horse.

How do I qualify to be an adopter?

  • Be at least 18 years of age (Parents or guardians may adopt a wild horse and allow younger family members to care for the animal.);
  • Have no prior conviction for inhumane treatment of animals or for violations of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act;
  • Demonstrate that you have adequate feed, water, and facilities to provide humane care for the number of animals requested; and,
  • Show that you can provide a home for the adopted animal in the United States.

two horses
Photo Courtesy of BLM

What facilities are required to adopt?

A minimum of 400 square feet (20 feet x 20 feet) is required for each animal adopted. The acceptable corral must be sturdy and constructed out of poles, pipes, or planks (minimum 1.5 inch thickness) without dangerous protrusions. Barbed wire, large-mesh woven, stranded and electric materials are unacceptable for fencing. Shelter from inclement weather and temperature extremes is also required for your adopted wild horse. Shelters must be a two-sided structure with a roof, well-drained, adequately ventilated, and accessible to the animal(s). The two sides need to block the prevailing winds and need to protect the major part of the bodies of the horse. Tarps are not acceptable.

How much does it cost to adopt a wild horse?

The minimum adoption fee for each wild horse is $125. Most adoption events use competitive bidding to establish the adoption fee. Today, the average adoption fee is about $185 for horses. The minimum adoption fee also applies to adoption events using the less common lottery draw, or first-come, first-served method.

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Wild Horse Adoption Success Story

Chuck adopted "Maggie" in March 2004. Maggie is a three year old mustang that was trained at the Colorado Prison Program. Chuck and Maggie enjoy their time together trail riding in Colorado's Rocky Mountains.

chuck and maggie
Chuck and Maggie; prepared to go on a trail ride.

Maggie. All mustangs have a freeze brand on their necks for identification purposes with the BLM. A freeze brand is just like a traditional brand, but is called a freeze brand for how it's imprinted on the horse. Liquid Nitrogen is used, and it's more humane than the traditional burning with a hot iron brand.

maggie running
Maggie having a good run.


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