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Wild horses find their forever homes through the BLM adoption program

Posted at 3:11 PM, Nov 12, 2023

In early September, the Bureau of Land Mangagment gathered 229 horses in three different management areas in the Owyhees.

The BLM treated 38 mares with a fertility vaccine and released them back into those areas along with some studs. The remaining horses were put up for adoption where people could bid on the horse they wanted.

A pair of wild horses get adopted

This weekend the people came to the Boise Wild Horse and Burro Off-Range Corrals to check out the horses on Friday and bid on the ones they wanted on Satuday and Sunday.

"I saw one of the posts online and they posted this beautiful chestnut mare that had kind of a weird flame on her nose," said Melissa Hartig. "I fell in love with her and decided I'm going down here for her."

Melissa Hartig was all smiles talking about her new mare

Melissa runs a ranch in Orofino which is about six hours north of Boise, but she traveled down and picked up three wild horses, including the mare she fell in love with that she will name Tootsie Roll.

"After about two and a half hours walking through the pen on Friday I finally found her," said Hartig. "She just happened to turn her nose and I saw that unique marking on her muzzle, I’m like there she is and I immediately sat down and started crying."

wild horses head to their new forever homes

The goal of the adoption program is to find good homes for these wild horses. When we were there on Sunday around 70 horses had been adopted.

"We’ve had folks travel from Colorado, Oregon and all over Idaho," said Chris Robbons of the Bureau of Land Management. "We have had really good participation as we got the word spread wide through social media."

wild horses leave the corral and go into a trailer

During the adoption process the BLM retains ownership over the horses for the first 12 months. At that time if the horses are being properly taken care of they will give the horse over to their new owners permanently.

The owners will also receive a thousand dollars if they sign up for the adoption incentive program.

This will be Melissa Hartig's first experience working with wild horses and it was her also her first time seeing the BLM's operation at the corrals.

"I was a little shocked and not in a bad way by how they ran everything," said Hartig. "When I came here I kind of had something else in mind and I was actually very impressed with the way they handled all of the horses and the whole situation."