2009-08-27 / Features

Wild Horse Adoption Planned In Central Idaho

CHALLIS, Idaho (AP) - An official with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management says he's concerned there won't be the usual interest in adopting wild horses captured in Idaho due to the economy.

"We're hoping for the best, but finding good homes for them has been tougher in the slow economy," Kevin Lloyd, the agency's herd manager, told the Post Register. "Nationally, we placed almost 6,000 wild horses just a few years ago. Last year, it was under 4,000."

The BLM is putting up for adoption about 150 horses captured in July near Challis in central Idaho.

The first adoption is being held Friday to Sunday at the BLM's Challis Wild Horse Corral. Adoption fees are $125 for an individual horse and $150 for two.

Lloyd said he hopes to place 50 horses at that first adoption.

A second adoption opportunity is planned at the BLM's wild horse corral in Boise from Sept. 11 to 13, and a third at the Eastern Idaho State Fairgrounds in Blackfoot from Sept. 18 to 20.

The Challis herd, Lloyd said, have a large amount of drafthorse blood and tend to have a tall, chesty look associated with a Belgian or Percheron.

"They can make outstanding pack animals,'" Lloyd said. "At the same time, we have pony and saddle-bred blood in the herd, too. There are a lot in this gather that I think will be excellent riding horses."

Lloyd said the horses are captured about every five years when the population exceeds the amount of food available on the range to support them.

"The ones we can't place, we'll ship to another adoption center, probably in the Midwest," Lloyd said. "If, for some reason, they can't be placed at all, they'll be pastured out on government property. We don't put any of them down. The ones that aren't placed just go straight into retirement."

The horses need to be trained, but most are acclimatized to people after a few weeks.

"Once you start feeding them, they can get very comfortable," he said.

He noted it's rare for wild horses, once captured, to try to escape. He said protesters once tried to free a herd of wild horses from a BLM corral in Wyoming, but the horses wouldn't leave.

"One of the first things most of them figure out is that they aren't wild horses anymore," Lloyd said.

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