Popular rock song lyrics say that "wild, wild horses couldn't drag me away...", but in the case if U.S. BLM public affairs specialist Martha Malik, wild horses and wild burros are indeed dragging her away-from her Milwaukee, Wis. office to the Vermont State Fairgrounds in Rutland, June 12-13.
During the upcoming weekend, Malik will help coordinate the U.S. Bureau of Land Management's Wild Horse and Burro Adoption event at the fairgrounds located at 125 S. Main St. (Route 7), just south of downtown Rutland.
It is the first big U.S. government horse sale in Vermont in more than decade.
Malik coordinates wild mustang and burro adoptions from the BLM Milwaukee Field Office. All horses and burros come from U.S. states west of the Mississippi River.
The BLM will offer approximately 60 wild horses-often called wild mustangs-ranging from yearlings to 5 year olds, along with a few burros, to potential adopters at the fairgrounds. You can adopt your own wild horse or burro in Vermont for a minimal fee-$125 for the first animal and $25 for additional animals.
"We're hoping for a good turnout," said Malik. "We've had mixed results with recent adoptions due to the bad economy. I know that Vermont is a horse-loving state, so we hope for a lot of support."
Malik said just a few years ago wild horse sales were brisk but now there's a slump in the wild horse market as people are cutting back on personal luxuries such as large pets. Sadly, large critters such as horses, are the first to go to generate cash flow.
"All our horses are disease and worm free," she said. "Every animal is inspected by a vet with a blood test-they are in good health. This is an incredible deal for a loving family or individual."
Many of the BLM's wild horses are gentle, with some prior human contact, while others fit the true definition of wild mustang.
Would-be adopters, buy the horses and burros on a first come, first-served basis; they must demonstrate responsible ownership.
Adopters must plan on bringing a stock trailer and they must show BLM agents their corral plans which must include a specific-sized corral for adult animals (age 3 and older) as well as a shelter.
"The BLM manages the nation's public lands for multiple uses, in accordance with the 1976 Federal Land Policy and Management Act," said BLM-Eastern States Director Juan Palma. "BLM manages wild horses and burros as part of this multiple-use mandate.
"While the adoption process is simple and straightforward, anyone considering adoption of a wild horse or burro should remember that the animals are wild and require gentling and training," Palma said.
According to Malik, prospective adopters must have sturdy corrals that are 20' x 20' (or larger), at least 6 feet high for an adult horse and at least 5 feet high for burros and horses younger than 18 months, and have a shelter directly attached to the corral. Adopters must provide the stock-type, step up trailer-ramps and side-by-side two-horse type trailers are not allowed.
Horse owners won't own the animals, out right, until the end of a one-year adoption-grace period. Then, their corral will be inspected by a BLM agent. If all things pass inspection, the animal will be fully owned by the adopters.
The Saturday adoption will be on a first come first served basis. The animals can be previewed on Friday, June 12, 2-7 p.m. Adoption hours are Saturday, June 13, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. A minimal adoption fee of $125 for animals less than three years of age and $25 for animals three and older is required for adoption. In addition, you can take home a buddy animal for only $25 when you adopt any animal at the full fee of $125.
Even if you have no interest in buying a horse, you are welcome to visit this free event to see American wild horses upclose.
Applications to adopt will be reviewed starting on Friday and may be submitted until Saturday. For more information, call 1-866-4MUSTANGS (1-866-468-7826) or visit the BLM web site at www.wildhorseandburro.blm.gov.