A wild horse can make a good a trail riding horse, cattle horse or even a show horse, according to Paul McGuire of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

McGuire should know.

He works with wild horses on almost a daily basis.

From June 18 through 20, McGuire will be at Crystal Beach with 70 wild horses he hopes to adopt out to anyone who would take good care of a horse and have the facilities to keep one.

The wild horses are selected from several of 200 herd management areas that the Bureau of Land Management allows to live them to live on.

This is to primarily “ensure herd health and to maintain ecological balance,” McGuire said Friday.

The Land Management Bureau’s presence in this part of the country is not that well known, McGuire said.

It is primarily known in the West.

“We manage public land,” he said. “One of the resources we have on the public land is wild horses. Without protection, these symbols of the West would disappear.

“We’ve identified about 200 herd management areas that we permit wild horses to live on,” he said, noting, “When they reach a certain number, horses are removed from that land and we adopt them out.”

Wild horses are just as trainable as any other horse, he said.

“They have characteristics of a number of breeds and have agility, stamina and speed,” he said.

To adopt a horse, adopters will “have to fill out a short form to prove they have facilities to keep the animals,” McGuire said. “If our specifications are met, up to four horses can be adopted by the same person.

Adopters are limited to “four animals to ensure they’re going to good homes,” he said, adding, “Another safeguard is the $125 fee to adopt these animals to eliminate profiteering.”

In addition, adopters must sign an agreement with the federal government that is in effect for a year before they are eligible to receive title for the animals.

For some of the wild horses, a $500 adoption incentive is being offered by the Bureau of Land Management.

“The $500 is a pilot program that we’re running, because of what happens to the animals if they’re not adopted,” McGuire said. “When they aren’t adopted, the horses are sent to long-term holding facilities, which consumes an inordinate amount of the program’s budget -- up to three quarters of the budget.

“Ultimately, the project is to preserve horses in the wild,” he said. “It costs about $500 a year (for us) to keep a horse in holding. Older horses -- animals four years old and older -- are given a $500 incentive for the adopter. About 10 to 12 animals (in this selection) will meet this criteria.”

McGuire said that no trained horses or burros would be available for adoption at the Crystal Beach facility.

According to the adoption schedule, a preview of all the animals will be offered from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. June 18. Gates will reopen June 19 at 8 a.m. and adoptions will begin at 10 a.m., ending at 6 p.m. Adoptions will continue from 8 a.m. to noon June 20.

Application approval is required and can be done on site. To qualify to adopt, one must be at least 18 years old with no record of animal abuse. Adopters must have suitable facilities and can adopt no more than four animals. All animals must be loaded in covered stock-type trailers with swing gates and sturdy walls and floors.

Bureau of Land management staff will be on hand to help adopters through the short application process.

An auction will be held at 10 a.m. June 19 to determine adoption fees for animals sought by more than one person. Animals not selected for the auction process will be offered for adoption on a first come first served basis for a fee.

Interested bidders are invited to come June 18 or early June 19 to identify their desired animals and to complete their adoption applications in time.

For more information, call toll-free 866-4-MUSTANGS or visit www.blm.gov/nm.

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