Adopting a Wild Horse or Burro
Providing a home for a wild horse or burro is a challenging and rewarding experience. For qualified individuals, this is a unique
opportunity to care for, then own, a "Living Legend" -- a symbol of American history -- a wild horse or burro. This document answers
the most frequently asked questions about adopting a wild horse or burro. Additional information will be provided to adopters of a
wild horse or burro at the adoption site.
Why does the BLM offer wild horses and burros for adoption?
The Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 gave the Department of the Interior’s BLM and the Department of
Agriculture’s USFS the authority to manage, protect, and control wild horses and burros on the nation’s public rangelands to ensure
healthy herds and healthy rangelands.
Federal protection and a lack of natural predators have resulted in thriving wild horse and burro populations that grow in number each
year. The BLM monitors rangelands and wild horse and burro herds to determine the number of animals, including livestock and
wildlife, that the land can support. Each year, the BLM gathers excess wild horses and burros from areas where vegetation and water
could become scarce if too many animals use the area.
These excess animals are offered for adoption to qualified people through the BLM’s Adopt-a-Horse-or-Burro program. After caring
for an animal for one year, the adopter is eligible to receive title, or ownership, from the Federal Government. While the challenges to
adopting enough animals, is greater than ever, the program is a popular one. In fact, the BLM placed more than 207,000 wild horses
and burros into private care from 1973 through Fiscal Year 2005.
What are wild horses and burros like?
Every wild horse or burro is different. They come in all shapes and sizes, and each animal has its own personality. They are of no
particular breed, although some exhibit characteristics associated with certain breeds. A typical wild horse stands about 13 to 15 hands