Read about the rewards of adopting a wild horse!
22 Wild Horses Adopted during the Challis Wild Horse Adoption in December
Challis wild horses have long been popular with Idaho adopters. They tend to be larger than the average wild horse due to the draft horse influence in their lineage. They make calm and steady horses ready for the trail, and their colorful appearances ranging from pinto, bay, palomino, gray, and even some with Appaloosa characteristics also make them attractive to potential adopters.
Three beautiful young mustangs at the Challis adoption
One couple have been visiting the wild horses in the Herd Management Area (HMA) for the past seven years, and their affinity for this herd is what led them to line up at the Challis Wild Horse Facility gates at 6:30 a.m. on opening day of the recent adoption. They had their eyes on two young horses. Ron Vernia and Colleen Coyne live on the East Fork of the Salmon River near Challis. “I had no idea there were wild horses up here. One day Colleen and I were riding our mountain bikes when a horse appeared out of nowhere and began running alongside us. At first I thought it was a domestic horse, but upon closer investigation we soon discovered there was a herd of wild horses here,” said Vernia.
Ron Vernia and Colleen Coyne along with their friends Dr. Nancy Parry and Susan Flandro enjoy a moment near a pen of weanling wild horses at the Challis Wild Horse Facility
|Having owned horses for the past several years, they still consider themselves to be relative newcomers to the equine world. Vernia and Coyne enjoy riding in the Boulder White Clouds wilderness and all over the Challis HMA. Most recently, they have worked to build their place up to be a suitable facility to receive an adopted wild horse. “I’ve worked for 35 years as a physical therapist, and I really see our work with the horses to be the next phase of my life. I want to learn how to pack into the wilderness and eventually ride endurance,” said Coyne. “We’ve begun to learn where the horses hang out in the HMA, and feel so lucky to be in their presence when we do see them. You learn how to quiet your movement when you’re near them and it is so peaceful. You can see why horses are so therapeutic,” she continued. || |
“Mr. Gray” Appaloosa will join Ron and Colleen at their home along the East Fork of the Salmon River
|They are so enthusiastic about the horses that they recruited two of their friends, Dr. Nancy Parry and Susan Flandro of Ketchum, ID to join them in adopting a wild horse. Between the four of them, they adopted one young Appaloosa colored horse they named “50 Shades of Gray” or “Mr. Gray” and a bay weanling they dubbed “Crescent.” Adopting the horses as youngsters affords them the opportunity to learn alongside them as they are handled through the different phases of ground and saddle work. “We recognize that their numbers need to be managed on the range, we’re just very excited to be able to ensure a good home in Idaho for these two horses,” said Vernia.|| |
Enjoying meal time!
|Despite the cold temperatures of a December adoption in Challis, there was a fair amount of interest and a steady flow of visitors to the Challis Wild Horse Facility over the two days the adoption was held. Many people stayed to watch Mario Johnson of Georgetown, ID give gentling demonstrations and advice and tips on handling wild horses. Overall, 22 horses were adopted into new homes over the weekend.|| |
Mario Johnson shares gentling techniques for working with younger wild horses
| Visitors to the Challis Wild Horse Adoption watch a gentling demonstration offered by Mario Johnson of Georgetown, ID|| |
“On Dec 5th, 2009, I adopted Meeka, a 5 month old mustang filly that came from the Four Mile Herd Management Area in Idaho. She was one of the fillies that the Busy Bees 4H group had worked with to halter train.
Originally, I was looking for a 1-2 yr old gelding to adopt, but due to the cold weather in December, I decided it was a better idea to pick a youngster that had been previously handled and that I could put in with my other horses within a short time. I felt like this was "cheating" a little, but it made more sense with the weather being the way it was. I planned on doing all Meeka's training myself, as I had trained a Kiger mustang from the BLM about 5 years earlier and enjoyed the experience and bonding.
The 4H group had done a lot of nice ground work with my filly- she could lead, load in a trailer, and pick up her feet when I adopted her. Foals learn so quickly and Meeka seemed to blend in with my herd in no time and decided she liked her own stall for shelter from the snow and wind!
I did a lot of ground work once spring came- light lounging (both free in a round pen and on a loungeline), plus just leading her around our bridle paths for walks to get her used to her surroundings. By the time she was one and a half, I began saddling her and ground driving her- she picks new things up quickly and retains them. I also ponied her in the foothills beside my paint mare for short trail rides.
When she turned two this spring, I began to ride her lightly and she hardly ever offered a buck. I also haul her now and then to drill team practice and ride or lounge her during warm up, then make her stand patiently for an hour while I practiced with my other horse. All this gets her used to other surroundings and hauling in the trailer. Meeka has a great calm disposition and LOVES people! She is so mellow; the only thing I wish was that she had a bit more spirit. Someday soon she is going to be an awesome kids or beginner horse.
This summer Meeka has been ridden lightly in the arena, and has gone on about 6 short trail rides in the foothills with another seasoned horse. Every time she gets more confident. I'm looking forward to next summer when she is three and I can ride her a bit more. She is 14.3- 15 hands high right now, and still has plenty of growing left to do.
Thanks for listening to my story and I hope others out there that adopt will have as good of experience as I have had.”
- Leta Kunz
What a beautiful horse!
Leta takes Meeka for a short ride.
The Idaho Mustang Club at the Snake River Stampede
|Boise District Wild Horse & Burro (WH&B) Program Partners with Idaho Mustang Club to win at Snake River Stampede Parade – One of the largest equestrian parades in the nation was held on July 16, in conjunction with one of the largest rodeos in the nation, the Snake River Stampede, in Nampa, Idaho. Ten riders from the Idaho Mustang Club and Steve Leonard, Boise District’s WH&B Specialist, rode in the parade. The riders paid for their own matching shirts, saddle blankets and serapes with the words, “Idaho Mustang” embroidered on them. Steve carried the BLM wild horse flag and the Idaho Mustang group also carried a flag. There was a lot of positive spectator response to the group along the parade route. The mustang group won second place in the adult rider category, receiving a trophy and $100 check. “This award has generated a lot of excitement among the Idaho Mustang Group, including discussions about hosting a Mustang horse show in the Treasure Valley,” according to Steve Leonard. He said, “This would potentially reconstitute the Tri-State Mustang show Series, with Idaho joining Utah and Wyoming with Mustang shows.” |
Lainey and Drake Reay with Gypsy Moon
|Gypsy Moon is from the Challis Herd Management Area and was adopted by the Reay family after their daughter Lainey trained Gypsy in the Idaho 4H program. She is very gentle and nothing seems to bother her; a real “people pony.” The Reay’s horseshoer always marvels over her wonderful feet. Lainey recently showed Gypsy at the Western Idaho Fair and the Gem/Boise County Fair in the In-hand trail class. They had a lot of fun showing off their talent! As Gyspy is still too young to ride, Lainey and her family take her to 4H meetings and allow her to accompany them on trail rides so she can spend quality time with her adopters. Gypsy recently helped Lainey and her family promote their 4H yard sale and bake sale fundraiser this past fall. Lainey plans to take Gypsy to the fair again next fall and is thoroughly enjoying her mustang companion. |
| || Lainey with Gypsy Moon at the Western Idaho Fair. |
Barbara and Shatira
Barbara and Shatira with their hard-earned ribbons!
Barbara Gerber is a Swiss mustang lover. She owns a ranch in Switzerland and has adopted three American mustangs. Barbara first adopted Shatira, a beautiful palomino mustang mare from the Saylor Creek Herd in Idaho. Barbara showed Shatira in 2008 at the Mustang and Burro show in Reno and won High Point Champion at the Western Idaho Fair in Boise. Shatira now lives in Switzerland with Barbara, and Barbara is pretty sure Shatira is the only American Mustang living in Europe!
Barbara and El Pueblo
El Pueblo, another Idaho mustang, came to Barbara from the Four Mile Herd. Barbara instantly fell in love with him and could pet him within a few hours of meeting him. Two days after Barbara adopted Pueblo, he allowed her to walk with him and clean his hooves. Barbara continues to work with Pueblo and he is a very affectionate horse.
Barbara and Desi
Barbara has also adopted Desi, a 7 year old mustang mare. Desi is sweet and Barbara enjoys working with her as well. Barbara is so grateful to have these wonderful animals in her life that she founded the Swiss Wild Horse Association in 2009.
| || The DelCurtos adopted Beau from the Challis herd. They are enjoying watching Beau grow along with their son, Dax. Beau is a loving horse who gets along well with his adopted family. |
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