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Bureau of Land Management hosts wild horse adoption event in Caldwell

34 horses were up for adoption at Zimmerman Horse Training in Caldwell. As of Saturday afternoon, 19 of the mustangs had been adopted.

BOISE, Idaho — Wild horses are up for adoption this weekend at Zimmerman Horse Training in Caldwell. The event is part of the Bureau of Land Management's Wild Horse & Burro Program.  

The program was established in 1971 and tasked the BLM with managing wild horse populations. This includes periodically removing excess animals from the range to maintain healthy numbers.

"One of the main missions for the Bureau of Land Management is natural resources and healthy resources," BLM's Boise District Wild Horse & Burro Specialist, Raul Trevino said. "So, we manage for that. If our horse management areas or numbers are growing, that tells us we need to do some management."

Any animals the BLM gathers for management can be adopted. The agency has off-range corrals and also hosts off-site adoption events, like the one at Zimmerman Training.

“All walks of life is who adopts mustangs," Zimmerman Horse Training owner, Matt Zimmerman said. "Some of them like to trail ride, some of them have good hooves and they like to get up into the mountains. It’s a wide array of people who like to come out here and adopt.”

34 mustangs were up for adoption this weekend, 22 mares and 12 geldings between the ages of two and five. The horses are from Heard Management Areas in Wyoming and Nevada. 

As of Saturday afternoon, 19 of the mustangs had been adopted.

“This is a great thing. The state of Idaho, we’ve been real fortunate to keep our numbers at that appropriate level," Trevino said. "We’ve been really fortunate to find homes for these horses. We’ve been really fortunate for the numbers in our adoption programs.”

Zimmerman has worked with mustangs for a while. Him and his wife decided to host the adoption event after participating in mustang TIP (trainer incentive program) challenges. 

Despite coming from the wild, Zimmerman says mustangs can still be trained.

"The trick is getting your hands on your mustang without it hurting itself because its scared, or hurting you because you got in the wrong position," Zimmerman said. "Once you get to that stage, they're just a normal horse."

The Zimmermans are a storefront for the Mustang Heritage Foundation, who work with the BLM to promote wild mustangs and find homes for them.

To qualify to adopt, one must:

  • be at least 18 years old
  • have no record of animal abuse
  • have a minimum of 400 square feet of corral space per animal
  • have a six-foot high corral fence 
  • all animals must be loaded in covered, stock-type trailers with swing gates and sturdy walls and floors

Those wishing to adopt a wild horse must fill out an application, be able to conform to the BLM's minimum adoption requirements and have their application approved. 

The offered horses are available on a first-come, first serve basis. The adoption event continues Sunday.  

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