BLM/Honor Farm wild horse & burro adoption breaks records 

(Riverton, WY) – Records were broken at last weekend’s Bureau of Land Management/Wyoming Honor Farm wild horse and burro adoption. More than 250 people were in attendance while 55 animals gentled by inmate trainers found new homes. Saturday’s event also marked the first in-person adoption at the Honor Farm since September 2019.

The high bid of the adoption was $12,000 for Big Hoss, a new record in Honor Farm adoption history. Big Hoss is a 4-year-old gray and white pinto gelding from the Green Mountain Herd Management Area (HMA) southeast of Lander. The highest bid for a halter-started horse was $4,300 for Cowboy, a 2-year-old red roan gelding from the Fifteenmile HMA west of Worland. Six-year-old gray gelding burro Shy, from the Shawave Mountains HMA in Nevada, fetched the high bid of $950 for a pack saddle-trained burro.

In total, 29 saddle-started horses, 18 halter-started horses and eight pack saddle-trained burros were adopted, with winning bids ranging from $125 to $12,000. Adopters came from Wyoming, Montana, Colorado, Nebraska and Florida.

Many of the animals were adopted by area ranchers looking for good, working horses and burros. High-bid saddle horse Big Hoss, Lady Gray from the Fifteenmile HMA and Gus from the Adobe Town HMA were all adopted by the same family and will work cattle on a ranch south of Lander.

Mac Woolley, ranch manager for the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) in Boulder, Wyoming, adopted a saddle-started pinto named Bug from the Fifteenmile HMA, continuing the school’s tradition of using Honor Farm-adopted horses for NOLS courses. The 4-year-old mare will start out by resupplying rations for backcountry courses, and if Bug does well, she could be carrying students in a couple years.

Woolley liked Bug’s calm demeanor and is glad that trained wild horses have finally made a name for themselves. “Honor Farm horses are some of my favorite horses on the ranch,” said Woolley. “We look for horses that are safe and sound. They’re sure-footed, and their personalities are fun for students to connect to.”

NOLS uses the story of gentle wild horses and their journey from public land to camping courses as a tool to educate their students about public land issues. Past students have even fallen in love with the wild horses they met during NOLS courses and gone to the Honor Farm to adopt their own.

“I came here for the trained burros,” said Jack Farrell from the Big Hole Valley in Montana. Farrell adopted two pack burros, Champagne and Heart, who will accompany him on fishing, hunting, hiking and packing trips in Montana’s backcountry. The eight adopted burros came to the Honor Farm from herd management areas in Nevada and Utah, and some were even trained to pull a cart.

Working together over the past 34 years, the Honor Farm and the BLM have placed close to 5,000 animals removed from overpopulated herds into good, private homes.

You’ll have another chance to adopt an Honor Farm-gentled wild horse or burro this year on September 10. Several wild horse and burro adoptions are scheduled throughout Wyoming this year—check the schedule at blm.gov/programs/wild-horse- and-burro/adoptions-and-sales. To learn more about the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program and adopting a Wyoming wild horse, visit BLM.gov/WHB or contact the national information center at 866-468-7826 or [email protected]

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