BLM Logo
Northern California District
Release Date: 06/03/13
Contacts: Jeff Fontana (530) 252-5332    
News Release No. CA-N-13-66

Wild Horses, Burros Available for Adoption at Napa Mustang Days

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 Napa Mustang Days, Friday, June 14, through Sunday, June 16, at the Napa Horsemen's Association Grounds, 1200 Foster Rd., in Napa.

Events get underway at 3 p.m. Friday, with a preview of animals available for adoption. Adoption event gates open at 9 a.m. Saturday, and an hour of silent competitive bidding begins at 10 a.m. Animals not taken during bidding will be available on a first-come, first-served basis until 5 p.m. Saturday, and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.

The BLM will offer for adoption 30 horses, including mares and geldings 2 to 4 years old and yearling fillies and geldings. Some young halter-trained horses will also be available along with 10 burros of various ages.

Mustang Day events will be held both days and include entertainment, food and beverages and  an arena show featuring the Painted Ladies Rodeo Drill Team and a parade of adopted wild horses, burros and mules. Several horse trainers will offer demonstrations on wild horse gentling, burro training and intermediate and advanced horsemanship.

Details and an event schedule are available at

"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 Doug Satica, manager of the BLM's Litchfield Wild Horse and Burros Corrals near Susanville, Calif.

Event organizer Nancy Kerson encouraged people curious about wild horses and burros to attend.

"We are excited to share our love and enthusiasm about mustangs and burros," she said "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 horses and burros up for adoption 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 six-foot fence built of pipe or boards. 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," Satica 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," Satica said.

Wild horses and burros are protected by a federal law, the Wild 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.


Northern California District   355 Hemsted Drive, Redding, CA 96002  

Last updated: 06-06-2013