U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
California

News.bytes News.bytes Extra, issue 236

Wild horse and burro program volunteers keep up the good work

Volunteers continue to be an important part of the Bureau of Land Management's Wild Horse and Burro Program in California. From distributing adoption event posters to helping conduct compliance checks with adopters, they augment the BLM workforce, while indulging in their true passion, helping America's wild horses and burros.

Recently, volunteers have entered a new arena -- literally. They have been demonstrating training methods during selected adoption events. Those who attended a recent BLM adoption event in Lakeport had the opportunity to learn from a group of exceptional volunteer trainers.

Below, Kay Lieberknecht of the Ukiah area gets a young mustang to move in the right direction.
Kay Liebernecht of the Ukiah area gets a young mustang to move in the right direction

All volunteers demonstrating training methods use versions of gentle training methods know by various names such as Limited Resistance, Least Resistance, Advance and Retreat and others. All of these methods, some of which are trademarked, rely on training animals by building trust, not by using fear or pain.

Below, Dixie LaFountaine of Weaverville shows her gentling approach, first getting the horse to move in a direction she dictates...
Dixie LaFountaine of Weaverville shows her gentling approach, first getting the horse to move in a direction she dictates...
...and soon moving toward the important first touch:
...and soon moving toward the important first touch:

Training methods are slightly different for burros, which have characteristics and "personalities" all their own. Dave Freeman of Artois, worked with his own burros and animals from the adoption pens. Below, he shows adopters the benefit of slow and steady training approaches.

Dave Freeman of Artois shows adopters the benefit of slow and steady training approaches, as he works with one a burro.

As always, volunteers will be assisting in California's next adoption event, Saturday and Sunday, June 24 and 25, at the Gold Country Fairgrounds in Auburn.

- Jeff Fontana, BLM California
6/20/06


BLM California News.bytes, issue 236