Horsin’ Around: Wild Horses and Burros Find New Homes at Billings Adoption Event

The Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Event held in Billings, Montana, June 7-9, offered 60 horses and 15 burros from eight different Herd Management Areas in Wyoming, Nevada, California, and Utah. Two of the horses available for adoption were saddle trained by inmates from the Wyoming Honor Farm in Riverton, Wyoming.

Photo: horse and rider walk toward photographer in a corral.
During the auction at the Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Event, the two available saddle-trained horses showcased their skills. Both saddle-trained horses were adopted during the event.

“We placed 42 animals into private care throughout the three-day event,” Patrick Merrill, event coordinator, said. “We also sent eight additional horses to Wyoming Honor Farm to be saddle-trained by inmates in their program, and five horses and two burros were sent to the Hamilton, Montana, Training Center with Mustang Matt.

photo: boy in red shirt faces a burro through corral panel.
Walt Schenk looks at a burro available for adoption at the Wild Horse and Burro Adoption held in Billings, Montana, June 8. About 75 animals were available for adoption during the event.

On Friday, June 7, about 75 people showed up to get a “sneak peek” of the animals that would be available for adoption the following day. Many of the people who attended the advanced preview returned to adopt an animal. About 125 potential adopters filled out applications at the event. On Sunday, June 8, about 50 spectators gathered to watch and learn from a First Touch Gentling Clinic hosted by horse trainer Mustang Matt.

Photo: man stands inside a corral facing a horse on a lead.
Horse trainer Mustang Matt hosted a First Touch Gentling Clinic on Sunday, June 9, for people to learn more tips and tricks to handle a wild mustang when they bring it home.

“We had a successful event with a lot of great help from the Miles City Field Office, Buffalo Field Office, Billings Field Office, Billings BLM Fire Crew, Montana/Dakotas State Office, Wheatland Facility, the Wild Horse & Burro Headquarters Office staff, and a couple of volunteers,” said Merrill.

Patrick Merrill, State Wild Horse and Burro Coordinator

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