The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), along with the Hutchinson Correctional Facility (HCF) in Hutchinson, will host a Wild Horse Adoption and Open House on June 5-6. The public is invited to observe training demos all weekend by inmates in a rehabilitation program at the facility. Free screenings of the documentary film “Unbranded” – the dramatic story of four riders and 16 mustangs making a 3,000-mile trek across country – will be shown throughout the weekend.
Gates open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday, June 5, and again from 8 a.m., to 3 p.m. Saturday, June 6.
Hundreds of untrained horses at the facility will be available for adoption for a flat fee of $125, first-come-first-served. These are animals that once roamed free on public lands in the West where they are protected by Federal law. The BLM periodically removes excess animals from the range in order to ensure herd health and to maintain ecological balance. The adoption program is essential for achieving these important management goals. Adopters of select older horses (four years +) may be eligible to receive a first-year care and feeding allowance of $500.
Application approval is required and can be done on site. To qualify to adopt, one must be at least 18, with no record of animal abuse. Adopters must have a minimum of 400 square feet of corral space per animal, with free access to food, water and shelter. A six-foot corral fence is required for adult horses, five feet for yearlings, and four-and-a-half feet for burros. All animals must be loaded in covered stock-type trailers with swing gates and sturdy walls and floors. BLM staff will be on hand to assist adopters through the short application process.
“Saving Horses, Changing Men”
The training program at HCF not only adds value to the horses, it also helps inmates develop important life skills – such as discipline, respect, patience and hard work – that will aid in their eventual reintroduction into society. The program’s success is evident by the months-long waiting list to adopt a Hutchinson-trained mustang. Individuals can add their name to the waiting list during the Open House.
Wild horses – iconic symbols of America’s western heritage – are renowned for their strength, endurance, agility and intelligence, characteristics bred into them in the wild that make them ideal for work or recreation. Since 1973, the BLM has placed more than 235,000 of these “living legends” in approved homes across the country.
For more information, call BLM toll-free at 866-468-7826, or HCF directly at 620-728-3296, or visit www.blm.gov/nm/whb.
Directions to Hutchinson Correctional Facility: The facility is located ¼ mile west of Hwy 61 on G Street in Hutchinson.