By Tim Leeds
Wild horses and burros will be put up for adoption in Havre on July 29.
The animals will be brought to town by the Havre Field Station of the Bureau of Land Management as part of the Adopt a Wild-Horse or -Burro Program. The adoption will be held in the Bigger Better Barn at the Great Northern Fairgrounds at 10 a.m.
About 350 horses and five burros will be available. Viewing of the animals will be on Friday, July 28, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and on Saturday starting at 8 a.m. The public is invited and encouraged by the BLM to come and see these legends of the American West.
All adoptions will be held using a competitive bid process, as at an auction, between pre-approved individuals with the minimum bid starting at $125. Any animals with unweaned foals must be adopted together, with a minimum of $125 for each animal.
At the adoption each qualified prospective owner has the opportunity to adopt at least one animal. A qualified person can receive title for up to four animals within a 12-month period. If and when they adopt, people will be required to sign a contract called a Private Maintenance and Care Agreement, agreeing to provide humane care and treatment for each animal adopted.
Anyone interested in adopting a wild horse or burro must be pre-approved to participate in the adoptions. They must complete an application and questionnaire, and have an inspection of the facilities where the animal will be kept. If the application is approved, the individual is notified of upcoming adoptions in the area.
To adopt, a prospective owner must be at least 18 years old, have suitable facilities and feed, and never have been convicted of abuse or inhumane treatment of animals. An individual who has expressed intent to commercially exploit the wild nature of a wild horse or burro, such as for use as bucking stock, will not be approved to adopt.
Parents or guardians may adopt the animals and allow their younger children to care for them. Many young people have cared for and trained wild horses or burros as projects for 4-H, FFA, county fairs and Scouts.
Veterinarians examine every wild horse and burro before they are placed up for adoption in the program. Each animal receives any necessary medical treatment and is immunized and wormed. All adopters receive a recent medical history of the animal they adopt.
There are restrictions on the trailers used to haul the animals from the adoption to their new homes and on the facilities used to house and care for the animals. This information is included in the adoption packet with the application form.
The horses and burros in the program are wild animals. When they come to the adoption, they have probably been off of public rangeland 90 days or less. They can be gentled and trained for many uses; champions of competition have come from the wild-horse or -burro adoption process.
While wild horses are of no particular breed, some do exhibit characteristics common to some breeds. They are typically 14-15 hands high (56-60 inches) and weigh about 900 to 1,100 pounds. They are predominantly sorrels, bays or browns, although all colors can occur. Most animals offered for adoption are between several months and nine years old.
For more information or for an application, please contact Laura Thompson at the Havre BLM Field Station office on Second Street West, south of the Great Northern Fairgrounds parking, 265-5891, or write to P.O. Box 911, Havre MT 59501.