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July 31, 2008

Contact:
   Alan Shepherd 307-775-6097
   Roger Alexander 307-775-6047

BLM Wyoming wild horses to be featured
 in WY Mustang Challenge

Twenty -seven wild horses from Wyoming will be featured in the WY Mustang Challenge, Aug. 15-16, 2008, at the State Fair in Douglas, Wyo.

The WY Mustang Challenge is sponsored by the Mustang Heritage Foundation, in partnership with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and pairs up qualified horse trainers with wild horses, who then have 100 days to train the horses before competing for $11,000 in prize money. After the competition, the horses are available for adoption to qualified adopters, with a percentage of the adoption fees going to the trainers.

The 27 wild horses competing in the Challenge were gathered from six different herd management areas in southwestern Wyoming. All the horses participating in the competition are 3-4 year old geldings. The horses were randomly assigned to their trainers, who picked them up at the Steve Mantle Ranch south of Wheatland, Wyo. on May 2-3, 2008.

During the competition on Aug. 15, the trainers will be evaluated on the body condition of their horses, as well as their ability to handle the horse "in hand" through a series of maneuvers which include picking up the horse’s feet, maneuvering it through obstacles and loading it into a trailer. Following the "in hand" course, trainers will mount their animals and complete a "horse course" that includes a series of obstacles, including the option of working with cattle, and requires the trainer to demonstrate the level of competency the horse has accomplished. Three skilled horsemen will judge the competition.

The competition starts at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 15, and the top 10 horses and trainers will compete in the Finals on Saturday, Aug. 16 at 2:00 p.m. for the $11,000 in prize money. Saturday’s finals will display all the mustangs’ training in a open, freestyle competition. The winning trainer will receive $5,000, second $2,500, third $1,000, fourth $750, and fifth $500. Trainers also receive $500 reimbursement for travel costs and a 20 percent commission if their horse is adopted for $200 or more.

All the competition horses will be available for adoption on Aug. 16 immediately following the Finals. Potential adopters must meet BLM’s qualifications. Adoption information and an application form can be found on the BLM Wyoming Wild Horse web site at www.blm.gov/wy/st/en/programs/Wild_Horses.html. In addition, BLM staff will be onsite to approve applications prior to the Aug. 16 adoption.

BLM Wyoming will also be offering 20-25 untouched 1-2 year old horses at a first-come, first-served adoption at the State Fair from Aug. 12-15. Six halter-started horses and two halter-started burros will also be offered through silent bid adoptions during this event. Bidding for all adoptions starts at $125.

The Wyoming State Fair is held annually in Douglas, Wyo. For more information, please visit their website at www.wystatefair.com/.

For additional information on the WY Mustang Challenge or BLM’s wild horses, please contact BLM Wild Horse Specialist Alan Shepherd at 307-775-6097 or 866-4MUSTANGS.

About the Mustang Heritage Foundation
The mission of the Mustang Heritage Foundation and the goal of the Extreme Mustang Makeover are to increase the adoption of mustangs across the country. The Mustang Heritage Foundation created the Extreme Mustang Makeover event to showcase the recognized value of mustangs through a national training competition.

About the Bureau of Land Management
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is responsible for managing 258 million acres of public lands, located mostly in the West. Wild horses and burros roaming public rangelands are managed in a manner consistent with BLM's overall multiple-use mission, as set forth in the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976. For more information, visit wildhorseandburro.blm.gov or call 866-4MUSTANGS.

- BLM –