Bureau of Land Management hosting Mustang auction

Courtesy photo The U.S. Bureau of Land Management will host a wild horse adoption in Clovis July 14-16. It has been nearly six years since a wild horse auction has been held in Clovis.

Sharna Johnson

Nearly six years since a wild horse adoption was held in Clovis, more than 50 American symbols of the southwest will be auctioned next week.

The adoption auction, sponsored by the Bureau of Land Management, is scheduled for July 14-16 at the Curry County Events Center.

“It’s a really neat event. It’s part of the American history,” said event center Manager Kevin Jolley.

Jolley said the public is welcome to attend so they can see the mustangs in person.

“I’d definitely encourage people to come out and see anyways, even if they’re not planning to adopt,” he said.

The event offers adoptions of yearling and adult horses and burros that have been captured from rangeland in the southwest.

The adoption fee starts at $125. If more than one individual is interested in an animal, the animal is auctioned to the highest bidder.

For adoptions of animals age 4 and older, adopters can receive a $500 adoption incentive payment at the end of a year.

Animals have been vaccinated and will have all paperwork necessary to transport them in accordance with law, said BLM spokesman Paul McGuire.

The BLM is charged with managing wild horses and runs an adoption program in an effort to cull populations on U.S. rangeland. Efforts include Internet adoptions and events around the country throughout the year.

“We’re coming back (to Clovis) and we’re pretty excited about that,” he said. “The last time we were there we did quite well.”

McGuire said the BLM’s adoption programs has had challenges in recent years with a struggling horse market, rising expenses and economic hardship in the nation.

“It has been a struggle. Our numbers have really hit a trough and have been there from some time, but we continue to do our best to highlight the adoption of these mustangs,” he said.

The American mustang as a breed has sentimental attachment to it, he said, in addition to unique qualities that make them desirable animals to own.

“The American mustang is a unique breed that exists only in the American west. It’s unique in terms of the mixture of breeds that it represents and it ties back in to the westward movement. They are symbols of our national heritage,” he said.

“They are an enormously sturdy breed, a very strong and agile horse that’s suitable for just about any kind of work or play that you might desire a horse for.”

The animals to be offered for adoption have been in captivity for six months to a year and have been run through chutes, freeze branded and inoculated, he said, but they have not been handled and are not trained.

McGuire said prospective adopters need to be aware that appropriate handling and training is critical.

“It’s important not to lose sight of the fact that they are indeed wild,” he said. “In general, if one knows what they’re doing, wild horses are very responsive to human contact.”

There will be two trained mares offered for adoption that have been fully trained through a program in which prisoners in Kansas gentle and train wild horses in an intensive 30-day program.

Adoption of those horses begins at $350, he said.

There will also some burros available.

McGuire said the BLM also has an Internet adoption program.