Friday, July 9, 2010

Only 1 week 'till I get my pony!!! You might be thinking, “How does one pick up a wild horse?’’ The answer is very carefully! You also might be thinking,, “Where are you going to keep a wild horse?” Thanks to Cohn and Brandee Livingston at Doc Livingston’s Farm and Stable, I have a way to pick up and a place to keep my yearling. I will be doing all my work there with LOTS of support from the Livingstons!

The Bureau of Land Management has very specific rules and regulations for adopting, transporting, and keeping a wild horse. The following is information from the BLM website that outlines their adoption procedures. The goal is to make sure all horses go to good, safe homes. At the end of the competition, I’ll have the option of adopting my yearling or putting it up for auction.

*Federal protection and a lack of natural predators have resulted in thriving wild horse and burro populations that grow in number each year. The BLM monitors rangelands and wild horse and burro herds to determine the number of animals, including livestock and wildlife, that the land can support. Each year, the BLM gathers excess wild horses and burros from areas where vegetation and water could become scarce if too many animals use the area.

These excess animals are offered for adoption to qualified people through the BLM’s Adopt a Wild Horse or Burro program. After caring for an animal for one year, the adopter is eligible to receive title, or ownership, from the Federal government. While the challenge of adopting out enough animals is greater than ever, the program is a popular one. In fact, the BLM has placed more than 225,000 wild horses and burros into private care since 1971.

*To adopt a wild horse or burro, you must:

  • be at least 18 years of age (parents or guardians may adopt a wild horse or burro 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.

You must provide transportation for your adopted animal from the adoption site to its new home. While someone else may transport the animal, all trailers must meet these minimum standards:

  • covered top, sturdy walls/floors, and a smooth interior free from any sharp protrusions;
  • ample head room;
  • removable partitions or compartments to separate animals by size and sex, if necessary;
  • floor covered with a non-skid material; and,
  • adequate ventilation.

The BLM requires stock-type trailers with rear swing gates to transport adopted animals. Drop ramp, divided two-horse trailers, and trucks with stock racks are not acceptable. However, in some situations, two-horse trailers are acceptable for transporting burros and horses 12 months or younger. Only burros may be loaded into in-line or one-horse trailers. The BLM will inspect trailers and reserves the right to refuse loading if the trailer does not ensure the safety and humane transport of the animal.

You must provide a minimum of 400 square feet (20 feet x 20 feet) for each animal adopted. Until fence broken, adult horses need to be maintained in an enclosure at least six feet high; burros in an enclosure at least 4.5 feet high; and horses less than 18 months old in an enclosure at least five feet high. You should not release an ungentled animal into a large open area, such as a pasture, since you may not be able to recapture the animal for training or to provide veterinary care. However, once the animal is gentled, you may release it into a pasture or similar area.

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.

Posts should be a minimum of six inches in diameter and spaced no farther than eight feet apart. Horizontal rails should be three-inch minimum diameter poles or planks at least two feet x eight feet. If you use poles, there should be a minimum of five horizontal rails, and when you use 2" x 8" planks, there should be at least four rails. No space between rails should exceed 12". You should fasten all rails to the inside of the post with either heavy nails or lag screws.

You must provide shelter from inclement weather and temperature extremes for your adopted wild horse or burro. 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 or burro. Tarps are not acceptable.*

I would like to point out that in spite of 6-foot fences, a yearling mustang can clear a pen standing still!!! These are really wild horses! However, many have shown that with patience and careful training mustangs can be excellent performance horses or companion animals. Mustangs excel in barrel racing, endurance, dressage, trail horses, pleasure rides, jumping, and just about anything else.

Next week I'll have pictures and tell you all about my yearling!

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