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Three Places to Adopt Wild Horses
 By Winniefield Park   •   9th Aug 2014   •   3,511 views   •   3 comments
Three Places to Adopt a Wild Horses

Have you ever wanted to adopt a wild or feral horse? Here’s a look at some of the wild horse adoption opportunities in North America.

The last Wednesday of July marked the 89th Chincoteague Pony Swim. This event was made famous by Marguerite Henry’s book “Misty of Chincoteague Island." A few days before the swim, the ponies of Assateague Island were rounded up and moved to pens on the south end of the island. The swim itself is carefully timed so that it occurs during ‘slack tide’, a brief lapse before the tide creates a current either towards or away from Chincoteague Island. This makes the swim easier for the ponies.

Spectators to a pony swim need to check the schedule carefully, as the swim can take place at any time between 7am and 1pm. The swim can be watched from chartered boats and from the landing place. The first foal to set hoof on Chincoteague Island is named Queen or King Neptune, and is raffled off, the rest of the foals are then auctioned. The auction is a fundraiser for the local fire department that funds the care of the ponies, and a way to control the small herd that lives on Assateague Island. Other ponies are sold to raise funds for other charities. The average cost of a Assateague Island pony foal is about $2000. Some sell for as little as $400, and some as high as $12,000. The 2014 auction had a record-high bid of $21,000.

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Unlike many horse adoption organizations, there are few regulations regarding who can buy a pony. You will need to bring a halter and lead shank, and your horse trailer must be approved by the S.P.C.A.

Perhaps the challenge of owning a full-grown Mustang is more to your taste. Mustangs can be adopted through the Bureau of Land Management. The requirements are a little more stringent. You must fill out an adoption application and have a suitable area to contain the horse, with shelter and high fences or walls. The BLM provides guidelines for construction. The adoption fees start at $125 per horse, and you can adopt up to four horses a year. When you get your horse, it will have a freeze brand, Coggins test and have been dewormed. The horse remains the property of the U.S. government. As a new owner you will have restrictions on selling the horse. After a year, an inspector will confirm that you’ve been providing adequate care, and you’ll be given full ownership.

Mustangs can also be adopted through the Colorado Wild Horse Inmate program. Adopters can choose from untrained, halter trained or saddle trained horses and burros. Single, untrained horses can be purchased for $125, and saddle trained horses cost $1025. W.H.I.P. will ship the horses up to 150 miles for free, and charge more for longer distances or you may pick the horse up yourself, as long as you follow all of the prison security rules..

Once you have adopted a wild horse Wild Horse Mentors will provide information and support as you train and care for your new horse.

Would you consider adopting a wild horse? Do you know of other programs such as Adopt-a-Brumby in Australia?
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Valkyrie   MOD 
In New Zealand our Kaimanawas (wild horses) are mustered every two years. The herds are thinned through an adoption programme. You have to apply months beforehand and have your home thoroughly checked by a representative of the Kaimanawa Heritage Horses organisation. The property they ship the Kaimanawa(s) to must have strong, tall cattle yards with a loading chute at a minimum height of 1.5 metres. They will not allow the ponies to be kept in sheep yards or any enclosure with a normal-sized fence (as they can and will jump them). You need to provide two referees who can vouch for your ability to handle a wild horse, and must have at least one other horse if you plan on adopting just one Kaimanawa (as they have been running in herds their whole lives).

The cost to adopt is $250, with additional horses being $220. There is a $100 application fee that is deducted from the final cost and only refunded if the KHH can't provide you with a horse.

This year's muster was amazing. They fo
  Aug 9, 2014  •  3,704 views
 
Super HorseTopia  
I just wanted to point out that Chicoteague Pony foals are not "adopted", they are sold.

There are two herds, one on the Virginian side of the island, and one belonging to the state of Maryland. The Virginia herd is the largest and is limited to exactly 150 adult members, since that's the limit on the grazing permit the National Fish and Wildlife Service gives to the Volunteer Fire Company that maintains the herds.

Chincoteague Pony mares have one of the highest wild horse fertility rates with 75% of able mares becoming pregnant each year, so this means there are lots of foals that need to be moved off the island each year, only a few are kept to replenish the population as needed, leaving between 60-90 foals that have to be sold.

You neglected to mention Buy Back foals, which go for the highest prices. These are the foals that are auctioned off, named by the buyer, and then released back onto the island to roam wild.

They're never adopted out, they are sold, and the procee
  Aug 11, 2014  •  3,591 views
 
Winniefield Park  
You're right, that the pony adoptions are sales rather than adoptions. All of the information has been taken from the CWHI website, the BLM site and the Chincoteague Pony Swim site. For brevity, I can't include all of the details about each program and the reason for its existence. Certainly fodder for future content. :-)
  Aug 17, 2014  •  3,517 views
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