News Release

For  Release:  April 16, 2007            
Contact:  Jeff Fontana (530) 252-5332

Horses,Burros Up for Adoption at ‘Meet the Mustangs Day’

Residents of the Napa Valley and surrounding areas have the opportunity to adopt a wild horse or burro and enjoy a day of family fun, when the Bureau of Land Management and Napa Valley Horsemen’s Association host  “Meet the Mustangs Day,”  Saturday, May 19.

Events get underway when the adoption event gates open at 8 a.m. at the Horsemen’s Association Grounds, 1200 Foster Rd.  Horse and burro adoptions get underway with an hour of silent bidding beginning at 9 a.m.

The BLM will offer for adoption 20 young horses, including four halter-trained colts, and six burros.  Silent bids start at $125.  Animals not taken during bidding will be available for the BLM’s standard $125 adoption fee.

Mustang Day events will be held throughout the day and include entertainment, arena shows, music, educational displays and demonstrations, burro games and a packing clinic.  Games and a story time for children also are included.

“This is a great opportunity to adopt a young, healthy wild horse or burro, and to meet people who have adopted and trained their own animals,” said Pardee Bardwell of the BLM.

“We are excited to share our love and enthusiasm about mustangs and burros,” said event organizer Nancy Kerson.  “We think that when people meet our animals up close they will find that wild horses and burros excel at everything that domestic horses do.  These are smart, loyal and highly trainable animals.

All available animals have received de-worming treatments and vaccinations for West Nile virus, rabies and common equine diseases.  All have negative Coggins test results.  Adopters receive complete health records for their animals so they can begin health care programs with their veterinarians.

To qualify, adopters must be at least 18 years old and have no convictions for inhumane treatment of animals.  BLM staff members will interview all prospective adopters to be sure they meet the BLM adoption requirements.

Newly adopted horses and burros must be kept in corrals with at least 400 square feet of space per animal (20 feet by 20 feet), surrounded by a fence built of pipe or boards.  Six-foot fences are required for adult horses.

Horses under 18 months old can be kept in corrals with five-foot fences, and four-and-a-half-foot fences are allowed for burros.  Adopters must provide a two-sided, roofed shelter to provide protection from extreme weather.
“Adopted animals should be kept in this corral until they can be approached, handled, haltered and led,” Bardwell explained.  “Non-gentled animals should not be placed in large, open pastures.”
Adopters must provide a halter and lead rope.  BLM wranglers will halter and load adopted animals.  Adult horses must be transported in stock trailers with side-swinging gates.
Title to adopted wild horses and burros remains with the federal government for one year.  After providing a year of good care, adopters can receive title.  The BLM or a representative will check on the condition of the animal during the adoption period.
“Adopters love their horses for pleasure riding and trail riding, back country packing, ranch work and competition.  People train their burros for back country packing, pulling carts, and riding.”
Wild horses and burros are protected by a federal law, the Wild and Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act.  The law recognizes the animals as “living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the west,” and requires the BLM to manage the wild herds.
The BLM periodically gathers horses and burros to control herd populations on ranges shared with wildlife and domestic livestock.  Herd sizes are controlled to ensure there is sufficient feed and water for all range users and to ensure that natural resources are not over-used.
There are about 31,000 wild horses and burros roaming on public rangelands in the western states.  More than 215,000 animals have been placed in private care since the BLM’s Adopt-a-Horse-or-Burro Program began in the early 1970s.
For additional information on the adoption event or wild horse management, contact the BLM toll free at 866-4MUSTANGS or Bardwell at (707) 468-4055.   Information is also available online at


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