Overpopulation on America’s rangelands by wild horses and burros necessitates frequent removal by the Bureau of Land Management. To help address the issue, the BLM has awarded two new grants of $4.7 million to get more of these horses adopted.
As of February 2023, the BLM is caring for over 22,000 wild horses and burros in off-range corrals, and an additional 40,000 unadopted animals are receiving long-term care on private pastures. Last year alone, the BLM paid out over $83.5 million to care for unadopted and unsold animals.
Two new grants totally $4.7. million hope to accelerate the training and placement of approximately 3,600 excess wild horses and burros in private care over the next year. If successful, taxpayers may save approximately $99 million over the lifetime of adopted animals based on a $27,500 estimate per animal to provide a lifetime of care.
These grants are part of the BLM’s efforts to increase adoptions of wild horses and burros, protect wild herds and their habitat on public lands, and save taxpayers money. The grants were awarded to the Round Rock, Texas-based Mustang Heritage Foundation and Austin, Texas-based Mustang Champions.
“Training and finding good homes for wild horses and burros is an integral part of keeping our wild herds and public lands strong and healthy, and it helps cut costs and save taxpayers money,” said BLM Director Tracy Stone-Manning. “I look forward to working with the Mustang Heritage Foundation and Mustang Champions on fresh and innovative approaches to finding more good homes for these cherished animals.”
“We are excited to continue our partnership with the Bureau of Land Management and are appreciative of our collaborative work that has placed thousands of wild horses and burros into productive and loving homes. Our staff is looking forward to fostering our supporters’ engagement in order to make a lasting difference in the adopter’s and animal’s lives,” said Karen Gustin, Mustang Heritage Foundation Executive Director.
“We are so honored to have this opportunity to partner with the Wild Horse & Burro Program,” said Matt Manroe, Mustang Champions Executive Director. “We created Mustang Champions to design and produce events and an educational program to engage and persuade the American public to get more involved and potentially adopt an American mustang transitioned out of holding. The Mustang Champions team is very experienced and very talented. We know that we can make an impact on the future of mustangs in holding. We encourage everyone to come and join us in our efforts.”
The BLM awarded approximately $4 million to the Mustang Heritage Foundation to support and expand a network of private trainers and storefronts for wild horses and burros, build and develop a mounted program, launch a new follow-up program to assist adopters and conduct post-adoption check-ins, and create training resources for current and future trainers, among other activities. The BLM has partnered with the Mustang Heritage Foundation since 2007, during which time the organization has helped place more than 20,000 wild horses and burros into private care.
The BLM also awarded nearly $750,000 to Mustang Champions. Mustang Champions, a new partner to BLM, will develop a wild horse-specific humane training curriculum, host English and Western discipline competition events and placement programs, and conduct educational outreach. The programs are designed to grow adoptions and sales through increased competitive participation and to raise awareness of the status of America’s wild horses and burros and the management of their rangeland.