News Release

For Release: June 4, 2008           
Contact:   John Dearing, 916-978-4622
CA-SO-08-03

Mustang Challenge Adoption Follows the Mustang Challenge Finals on Saturday Night

Thirty former wild mustangs that have undergone special training will be offered for adoption by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) at the conclusion of the "Mustang Challenge" at the Western State Horse Expo at Cal Expo in Sacramento on Saturday, June 7.  

BLM State Director Mike Pool said 30 specially selected trainers from California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada and Idaho received the mustangs in March and had 90 days to gentle and train the animals for the competition.  Judges will evaluate each horse and trainer on a number of factors simulating trail and recreational riding situations and select 10 finalists for the Saturday night competition to begin at 7:30 p.m. in the main horse arena at Cal Expo.  Pool said he will hand out the first place prize to the top trainer and horse and then kick off the adoption of all 30 animals beginning about 9 pm.

"This is a great event and a great opportunity to adopt one of these 'Living Legends' of the American West," said Pool.  "Adopters will love these horses for all kinds of riding, whether it be trail riding, back country packing, or riding competitions."

The entire Western State Horse Expo is open to the public for an entrance fee.  There is no extra fee to attend the competition or the following adoption, which will be conducted by competitive bid.

The Mustang Challenge was created by the Mustang Heritage Foundation (MHF), in partnership with the BLM to showcase the beauty, versatility and trainability of the American mustang through this training competition. The event gives the public a chance to see the results of wild horses becoming trained mounts and then adopt one of these treasured animals.

"This event will be a real treat for any horse lover, whether they plan to adopt or not," said Mustang Heritage Foundation Executive Director Patti Colbert. "Seeing how well these animals respond to training and handling after only 90 days is something the public has never seen before, let alone having the chance to own the horse. This is absolutely something not to be missed."

Even though the animals will have been handled and trained, the same adoptions conditions that accompany any BLM adoption apply for the new owner when the animal is adopted.  Potential adopters will apply for the opportunity to be included in the competitive bidding process at the event with BLM personnel available to review and approve the application on site.  Qualified applicants  must  be at least 18 years old, have no prior conviction for inhumane  treatment  of  animals  or violations of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses  and Burros Act and be able to demonstrate that adequate housing, food,  water  and  facilities will be available to humanely care for the animal.  Specific facility requirements also apply that pertain to type and height of fencing, as well as shelter from the elements.

Adopted horses remain with the adopter for one year before “title” of ownership is provided from the BLM. For adoption information, go to http://www.wildhorseandburro.blm.gov/adoption.htm

Nearly 26,000 Mustangs roam federal and privately held contracted lands across the country. In order to manage the herds and maintain both land and herd health, the BLM oversees the adoption of wild horses and burros through public adoptions held throughout the United States. Since 1973, more than 219,000 wild horses and burros have been adopted.

-BLM-