Attention, horse lovers!

By Perri Ormont Blumberg
April 1, 2019

Do you plan your Outer Banks' trips around seeing the islands' famed wild horses? Does the Rolling Stones' anthem read less love song and more ode to your friends from the pastures? Is your screensaver an equine extolment?

Well, Mister and Madame Mustangs, we've got some news for you. This month, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) launched a wild horse and burro (small donkey) adoption incentive program. To encourage people to give these animals a good home, BLM will pay you $500 within 60 days of adopting an untrained wild horse or burro, and another $500 within 60 days of titling the animal. There's a one-time $25 fee when you adopt the animal and you must meet certain requirements like having a barn or corral for the animal and owning a stock or horse trailer. You can learn more about adoption and purchase FAQs on BLM.gov here

According to the BLM's most recently released program data for 2018, there's an estimated 81,951 wild horses and burros in the United States costing the country approximately $81,226,000. In the 2018 fiscal year, 4,609 of these animals were placed in private care.

The BLM's push for adoption is not without some concern. “The BLM cannot adopt its way out of the situation it faces with the stockpiling of 50,000 horses in holding facilities, said Suzanne Roy, Executive Director of the nonprofit American Wild Horse Campaign, in a statement. “The only way forward for the BLM is to focus resources on humane management of wild horses in the wild with fertility control that will also save taxpayers money.”

For some, the allure of caring for these creatures outweighs the potential drawbacks of adoption. “I look at them like I am adopting a living legend,”  Mary Santagata, who runs All the Kinds Horses Equine Rescue in Northford, Connecticut, told the New York Times. “They are a mystical creature out in the wild, and only a few lucky ones can find them.”

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