It runs in the family: A father, his daughter, and a love for wild horses

Story by Bruce Hallman, Idaho Falls District Public Affairs Specialist. Photos by BLM.

With a father who is in charge of BLM mustangs as his job, Emma Lloyd has been exposed to more things equine than your typical kid. Some 20 years ago, her father, Kevin Lloyd, began working with the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program in Rock Springs, Wyoming. He has since spent time in Utah’s program and became the BLM Challis Wild Horse and Burro Specialist in the Idaho Falls District in 2007.

He must have brought the office home with him, because the love of horses has definitely rubbed off on his oldest daughter. Growing up in the small community of Challis, Idaho, Emma did rodeo, and enjoyed hunting, riding in the mountains, and following her dad around. Horses (wild and otherwise) became part of her life. 

Girl on horse
Emma is all smiles as she rides her horse.

The BLM Challis Herd Management Area encompasses almost 168,000 nearby acres, and whether Emma followed her father into the field or to the corrals, there were plenty of places to see and horses to spend time with. Indeed, her deep equine understanding equipped her well for frequent volunteer opportunities with the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program.

According to Emma, her earliest memories include growing up in the wild horse program and she has been going to wild horse events and gathers since she was a baby. “My mom brought me to the corrals when I was just a baby and when I was a little kid, I would help run promotion booths. As I got older and learned my way around and how to deal with wild horses, I was able to help my dad out more at the facility,” she says.

Horse tied to a trailer
One of Emma’s personal horses ready to hit the trail.
Two men standing with a haltered horse.
Kevin Lloyd at the 2021 4-H Wild Horse sale.

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Emma is currently a sophomore at Snow College in Ephriam, Utah – the same college her father attended. She first enrolled in Ag Business studies, but while visiting Challis on break and helping at the corrals, she realized that horses were more her style. Now her schooling is aimed at a Natural Resource degree with a Range emphasis. Emma can also officially add BLM employee to her resume because, last spring, she accepted a Park Ranger seasonal position in Challis. She now has a better understanding of our public lands thanks to working with lots of different people and interacting with the public.

Since the field office includes portions of the Jim McClure Jerry Peak Wilderness, horses are an ideal mode of travel for remote access. On August 5th, Assistant Field Manager David Hilliard and Emma took her horses into the wilderness to conduct some monitoring. They checked for trail stability and on the existing restroom, which is over five miles into the wilderness. 

The back end of a horse in an area with an outdoors outhouse.
Emma gives the thumbs-up after checking this remote restroom.

“I was excited to get a few chances to use my horses while I was at work,” Emma said. “This was perfect because I really wanted a job where I would get to use horses as well as get good work experience. It was nice because outside of my Park Ranger job, I could go with different groups and get additional exposure to range, weeds and fisheries responsibilities. All in all, it was great experience being a seasonal in the Challis Field Office and I look forward to going back.” 

A forest seen from the perspective of someone on horseback.
Horse patrol in the wilderness of the Challis Field Office.

Emma took the horses out a few more times to check WSA areas and replace existing signage. She has gained experience and opportunities with the BLM that will help prepare her for the future. 

Get started with your own adventure and your own story when you adopt a wild horse or burro from the Bureau of Land Management. Find the nearest adoption event near you to get started.