So You Want to Adopt A Mustang?
Adopting a mustang is probably one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had. When adopting any horse, whether it is a mustang or a domestic horse, you need to consider a variety of factors to make sure that you can provide a more stable environment for the horse than where they are coming from. You want to ensure you have the skills, time and resources to commit. There are several basic factors you should consider before adopting. We have tried to cover a few of them here.
Trained or Wild?
Adopting a Wild Mustang from the BLM
There is something to be said about taking a wild, scared animal and transforming her into your willing partner. I started with one, waited a few years and then became a TIP trainer and wound up training over a hundred. Each horse presents its own unique challenge and some are definitely difficult while others are relatively easy. When adopting a wild horse, you never know what you are going to get…the horse (or burro) could be super easy, wild, or somewhere in between. The adoption fee of $125 makes it easy on the pocket book!
If you are adopting from the BLM you will be required to have a 6′ corral that is at least 400 sq feet. For most people that means a 20′ x 20′ corral. In my area, that meant I needed a 24′ x 24′ corral because 12′ panels were more common in S. California than 10′ panels. For a wild animal over 1 year of age, you need 6′ high panels. This isn’t really a standard height for horses so if you have standard 5′ panels you need to use a little ingenuity to get them to 6′ requirement.
Trust me when I say you really do want 6′. Most horses would probably be fine in 5′ panels but the BLM requires 6′ panels for a reason. Wild mustangs are scared and they CAN jump 5′ easily if motivated by fear to do so. The last thing you (or the BLM) wants is for your wild mustang to get loose on your property (or worse on public property) with no easy way to contain them again. Another good thing is, once you have the 6′ panel, you will be able to adopt MORE mustangs once you get bit by the bug!!
To adopt a wild mustang you will also need shelter. The requirements vary state to state so check with your local BLM office for information. The application process is fairly easy. You will also need a way to get your mustang home. If you have a stock trailer you are set, if not time to start calling some friends!
Adopting a Trained Mustang
There are several ways you might adopt a trained mustang. The Mustang Heritage Foundation enables the public to adopt halter started mustangs through the Trainer Incentive Program (TIP). They also offer saddle started mustangs through their Mustang Makeovers. TIP program mustangs can generally be adopted for the same $125 fee as the wild mustangs. Sometimes a trainer will charge an additional training fee but most trainers don’t. The BLM application process is the same as if you adopt from a BLM facility. The difference is your mustang will know how to trailer load so trailer options might be more flexible and, since most BLM facilities are pretty remote, the horse may be closer to you as well.
Saddle trained mustangs can be adopted via the Mustang Makeovers and also various inmate programs. The BLM is more than happy to provide additional details on the locations of these adoption centers and generally includes dates and details on their adoptions and sale events page linked below. Saddle trained horses are typically offered via auction so amounts can vary. Keep in mind that in almost all cases these horses are saddle-started and will need additional training. It is important that you communicate with the trainer to make sure you adopt the horse that is right for you.
Mustang Adoption Events
How Much Does It Cost?
Costs can vary from area to area. We have created a great worksheet you can download to help you calculate what your cost will be in your area. This can really help you make the decision whether adopting is something you can take on right now. Remember, adoption is awesome but if you decide you can’t afford to adopt, find somewhere to volunteer!
Fill out the form below to download our FREE Worksheet.
From time to time we may also send you horse and burro related information via email. Remember, your information is never shared!