KBR Wild Horse and Burro Information Sheet

Part Two

15. What are some tips for getting my adopted animal home safely?

Hauling any animal can be difficult - even more so if the animal is excited or nervous. A few helpful hints:

  • If you are not experienced in trailering animals you may want to arrange for someone experienced to trailer for you.

  • Drive at reasonable speeds, taking into consideration road conditions, weather, and traffic.

  • If your trip home includes travel into or through a large city. avoid rush hour and congested traffic routes.

  • Drive slowly around sharp turns; a horse or burro has good forward and back-ward balance, but not side to side.

  • Allow plenty of room before stopping since adding a trailer will increase the distance it takes to stop your vehicle.

  • Tap lightly on the brake pedal before stopping to allow the animal to brace itself for the change in speed.

It is preferred that once your animal is loaded that you proceed directly to your destination; however, if you will be traveling long distances, you may want to stop and rest. We recommend that you do not unload your animal unless you have arranged for appropriate facilities and have discussed the arrangements with BLM. If you stop at a rest area, park away from others so your animal will not be disturbed.

Animals may be transported for a maximum of 24 continuous hours. After each 24 hours of travel, they must be unloaded into an approved corral for watering, feeding, and resting for a minimum of 5 hours, unless BLM has approved other arrangements. For your own safety and to prevent any possible digestive problems for the animal, don't attempt to feed or water the animal in the trailer.

If you cross State boundaries, keep your animal's health certificate and other records handy for inspection. State laws vary. By checking ahead of time with any State whose boundaries you will cross, you can be sure all legal requirements are met.

16. What are some tips for unloading a wild horse or burro?

For safe unloading, make certain the animal can go only into the corral and cannot escape around the sides of the trailer or through another open corral gate. Also, before opening the tailgate, be sure that the animal is not tied in the trailer. Be Make sure no one is in the animal's path as it backs out of the trailer. Be patient if the horse or burro is resistant to leave the trailer. It may be safer to walk away and allow the animal to exit when it is comfortable. After the animal is in the corral, don't forget to close the corral gate securely before moving the trailer.

17. What facilities are adequate for a wild horse or burro?

Until gentled, a newly adopted animal should be kept in a corral with a minimum of 400 square feet for each animal, Fences should be at at least 6 feet high for adult horses and 4-1/2 feet high for burros. Horses between 6 and 18 months old may be kept in corrals with fences 5 feet high. Ungentled animals should not be turned out in a pasture or other large area until they can be easily caught. (A wild horse or burro is considered gentled when it can be approached, handled, and haltered and will not attempt to escape a fenced enclosure.)

Adopted horses or burros do not require elaborate shelter, but they must have protection from inclement weather in areas having sustained temperature extremes, heavy or frequent precipitation, or frequent high winds or dust conditions. Where extreme heat is a factor, the animals must have shade. In most cases, wild burros are more sensitive to extreme cold than wild horses.

For a gentled animal that is exercised daily, a box stall with an area of 144 square feet (12' x 12') is acceptable as long as it is well drained, well ventilated and regularly cleaned. Animals not yet gentled must be kept in a corral with a properly fenced area of at least 400 square feet (20' x 20') to allow the animal to exercise.

Shelters and fences must be free from any protrusions (bolts, hinges, nails, etc.) or other objects hazardous to the animal. Fences should be constructed of rounded pipes, poles, wooden planks or other materials that do not pose a hazard to the animals. Large mesh woven or barbed wire is dangerous and not acceptable for ungentled animals under any circumstances. After gentling, the animal may be kept in a pasture of any type fencing acceptable for domestic horses or burros.

An example of a "quick and inexpensive" compliant mustang pen can be viewed here.

18. What should I feed my adopted wild horse or burro?

The major portion of the animal's diet should consist of roughage - usually in the form of hay. Some grains and supplemental feed may be required, depending upon the age, condition, and amount of exercise the animal receives. Females with foals will normally require a different ratio than idle adult animals. Since meeting the nutritional requirements of the animal is so important, we recommend that you consult with a veterinarian to determine the most desirable ration for your adopted animal.

Clean, fresh water and trace mineral salts must be available at all times. An adult horse needs 12 to 16 gallons of water each day, and an adult burro needs 6 to 8 gallons daily, depending on weather conditions. Feed and water containers should be cleaned regularly. They must have rounded comers and edges so as not to pose a hazard for the animal.

19. What are some tips for gentling a wild horse or burro?

Every horse and burro needs to be gentled sufficiently to allow people to work with and around the animal safely, even if you don't intend to train it to ride. If you are unfamiliar with training horses or burros, it may be wise to enlist the assistance of an experienced trainer.

Do not remove the halter and lead rope placed on the animal at the adoption site. They are useful in halter training the animal. The halter should be checked periodically on young, growing animals to assure that it does not become too tight.

In new, unfamiliar surroundings your animal will react out of fear for its safety, so remember to gain its trust and confidence through patience, kindness, gentleness. and consistency.

  • Always keep alert to ensure your own safety and to keep from frightening the animal.

  • Spend time around the corral to let the animal become accustomed to human activity.

  • Don't bring a group of folks around the animal initially. Too much activity will startle the animal.

  • Move slowly and quietly to avoid frightening the animal.

  • Spend time with the animal while feeding. For your safety, feed through or over the fence at first.

  • Talk in a soothing tone of voice while the animal eats. What you say isn't important, but how you say it is.

The newly adopted wild horse or burro is dependent on you for feed and water, and it won't take long for the animal to make a positive connection with you. After carefully establishing physical contact and getting the animal accustomed to your presence, you are ready to begin training.

There are many different methods for training a wild horse or burro. The approach you choose must be consistent with humane treatment of the animal. Information on how to train a wild horse or burro can be found in a variety of sources. In addition to books and magazine articles, several videotapes demonstrate successful training techniques. Your local librarian can help you locate materials. You should also check with tack stores for training books and videotapes. Some retail bookstores and videotape stores may be useful sources. Another valuable resource is the county agent for the Extension Service in your area.

20. What restrictions are there on the use of an animal until I receive title?

For the first year. the U.S. Government still owns the adopted wild horse or burro. While the animal is still considered a wild horse or a wild burro under the protection of the 1971 Act, it cannot be sold or used for any commercial purpose exploiting its wild characteristics. Additionally, BLM will not issue title to on individual who has expressed an intent to use the animal for commercial purposes after title is passed. Once you have received the Certificate of Title. the animal is no longer 'Wild' and under the protection of the 1971 Act. It is then your property as regulated by the humane laws of your State.

You don't have to wait until you receive title to train the animal for personal uses, such as riding, roping. working, showing. etc.

21. What should I do if I can no longer care for my adopted animal before I receive title to it?

If you haven't received title to the animal, contact the Wild Horse and Burro staff in the BLM office for your area. (The offices are listed at this link.) Even if you find another person willing to adopt the animal. BLM must check that person's qualifications and must approve the transfer before the animal can be moved. The adoption fee cannot be refunded nor can you be reimbursed for any expenses you have incurred.

Once you have received title to a wild horse or burro, the animal is private property. The BLM has no authority over the animal after titling.

22. What should I do if the adopted dies, escapes, or is stolen before I receive title?

If the animal dies, escapes, or is stolen while still under the protection of the 1971 Act (that is, if you have not received a Certificate of Title), notify the Wild Horse and Burro staff in the BLM office for your area.

If the animal dies. written notification must be made within 7 days of discovery of death. Notification should include the approximate date of death, apparent cause of death, and method of carcass disposal. Carcasses must be disposed of in accordance with your State's sanitation laws; however, the remains of a wild horse or burro cannot be sold for any purpose. The BLM will investigate the circumstances if the death appears suspicious.

If an animal escapes or is stolen. you must notify BLM and make a diligent effort to recover it. Adopters are responsible, as provided by State law, for any personal injury, property damage. or death caused by animals in their care, and for costs of recapture.

23. What should I do if I change my address or move my animal before I receive title to it?

If you move your animal to another location and/or change your address prior to receiving Certificate of Title, you must notify BLM immediately. The new facilities may be inspected or otherwise verified to ensure they comply with regulations.

24. How can I identify an adopted wild horse or burro?

Each animal adopted after April 1978 has been individually identified by angle symbols applied by a freeze mark on the left side of its neck. The symbols include the animals birth year and identification number. (Freezemarks are described in this link).

25. How can I learn more about caring for horses and burros?

There is a wealth of printed material and videotapes available about horses and burros. Libraries. bookstores, took stores, and video stores should carry materials to suit your needs. The Extension Service agent in your area can also provide information.

Two particularly helpful books for general knowledge about horses and horsemanship are Horses: A Practical and Scientific Approach by Melvin Bradley (1981. McGrawHill Book Company) and Horses and Horsemanship by M. E. Ensminger (1977. The Interstate Printers & Publishers. Inc.)

Webmaster's Note:

Also check out Are You Considering Adopting a Wild Horse? presented by Barbara Eustis-Cross and Nancy Bowker

For a downloadable copy of this feature from BLM, please click Here.

Link to
BLM's Wild Horse & Burro Program

Return to Part 1

This is not a BLM operated or BLM sponsored site. It is run by private wild horse and burro enthusiasts. We are thankful to the BLM for providing the information which is presented here.

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