Are you considering adopting a mustang? There is a lot to know beforehand from the adoption process, to pick up, and beyond. Maybe you’re interested in a new project or a new companion, but before you go any further, you’ll want to make sure you are ready. The BLM has their own requirements for adopting a mustang, but there are a lot more aspects to consider as far as training and owning a wild mustang goes.
Reasons to Adopt a Mustang
Mustangs are versatile and make wonderful horses for many different disciplines. The Extreme Mustang Makeover proves that year after year. A competition that highlights the amazing trainability and versatility of the mustang.
You could even compete in a Mustang Makeover yourself. Where trainers have 100 days to train their mustang and then all come together for a competition. At the end of the competition, the horses are auctioned off. It’s a great way to get trained mustangs in new homes. All in all it’s a really great program.
Mustangs make great projects and the BLM has their own incentive programs as well as the Mustang Heritage Foundation where you can become a TIP trainer where you gentle a mustang and help find them a new home.
Mustangs come in different sizes, shapes, colors, and build.
Mustangs are a piece of American History. I’ve always felt honored having owned a mustang.
- Mustangs must be picked up in a stock trailer
- Must provide 400 sq ft. per animal
- You must have 6 foot fencing (except for yearlings)
- Shelter is required (depends on region)
How to Adopt
First, you must get approved through an application process through the BLM. As long as you meet the above requirements, then you shouldn’t have a problem. It’s best to have that application done before going to an adoption event, but they have applications there as well. This is the most important first step as well as ensuring your property is equipped with the BLM requirements.
Second, you will find an event near you or use another option that is listed below.
Ways to Adopt or Purchase
Adoption Events are held throughout the year and across the country. Check the BLM site to find an event near you.
Online events are also held, but you still have to pick up at a certain place, so be sure to pick an event with a pick up place near you. Then, be prepared for that pick up date with a stock trailer.
Adopting a gentled mustang, these are ones that trainers, often TIP trainers get ready to re-home. Usually you are able to lead easily, load in a trailer, and pick up all 4 feet. So it can be a basic gentling process, but a great option if it makes you more comfortable.
You can also have the opportunity to bid on mustang’s that have just been through the Extreme Mustang Makeover. For more information on that visit their website.
The BLM sales program is for horses that have been through the adoption process 3 times.
How to Know if You’re Ready
How do you know if you’re ready to adopt and train your own wild mustang? There are no training requirements that the BLM has for potential adopters, but it’s a good idea to have the following experience.
- Be able to read a horse’s body language
- Be comfortable with all basic groundwork with a horse.
- Be familiar with pressure and release.
- Be physically able to take care of a horse
- Be able to keep up with the cost of day to day up keep. Including, but not limited to regular farrier work, dental care, worming, vaccines, and more.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Even if you have previous horse experience. Training a feral horse can be much more dangerous. All horses are different, but typically these horses can be very frightened when you first bring them home. It’s important to establish trust quickly with your new mustang. Oftentimes it will be the first time they have ever been away from a herd, which can make them feel even more vulnerable.
Tips for Picking Out Your Mustang
If you are able to pick out your mustang at an in person adoption event, here are a few tips.
Don’t let color be the deciding factor. It’s natural to let the pretty ones catch your eye, but be sure to look at them all before deciding. That being said, the fancier colored ones are usually the fist to go, so getting there early is your best bet at getting one for yourself. The sorrels are often the last ones to go in my experience.
Look for the horse that is curious yet relaxed. For example, this could be a horse that looks over at you as you walk up and possibly has a hind foot cocked at the same time. That is a good sign of a relaxed horse that is also aware of his surroundings. The yearlings can be a little friendlier and I’ve even had them come up to me, but typically the adult mustangs are pretty standoffish.
There are different sizes and builds in mustangs so that may play a role in your decision as well. You can sometimes pick out the bigger ones.
Utilize the BLM staff. They are there to help and assist you. They can even give some insight into which ones they’ve taken notice of. They are working those horses on a daily basis and do it for a living so they are equipped to answer questions as well. If you have a question about one of them don’t hesitate to ask. I’ve had them point certain ones out before.
Mustang Trainers to Follow
To learn more about training wild mustangs, here are a few of my favorite mustang trainers to follow. There are many talented trainers out there, but I find these have good content that they share along the way.
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