Wild Mustangs in North Mississippi by Nancy D. Patterson

See the freeze brand applied to the neck of this bay mare. All animals are vet checked and branded before being eligible for adoption.

There were 30-head of wild Mustang horses in town on April 7-8 at Arena One, just outside Batesville, Miss. The two-day adoption was held by the Bureau of Land Management.

According to BLM representative Dan Russell, the auction, itself, was held online several months ago. “The horses were purchased online and designated to go to Batesville for pickup.  All these horses and six burros were shipped from Paul’s Valley, Okla., but they had come to that location from the mountain ranges of Wyoming, Oregon, Nevada, and Utah.

"Since the animals came from government land, they are essentially owned by American taxpayers,” says Russell. “The animals that were purchased were been picked up on Friday, and the remainder of the horses were available for adoption for a $125 fee. All burros were adopted the first day."

“We are looking at this adoption as an opportunity to give the horses back to American citizens in order for them to find good homes. As with all livestock when overpopulated in a particular area, we needed to thin the herd.” he added.

These mustangs being sorted by a BLM official. Prospective adopters may request to see a particular horse in a pen alone to see how it moves before making a final decision.

This beautiful palomino gelding was the only horse ready for saddling at the Batesville event.  He was not available for adoption.

Russell went on to explain the nature of the Mustang horse. “They are dang good horses,” he says, breaking out into a broad grin. They can be used for trail, roping, packing, and barrel racing, just to name a few uses. We hear tons of success stories from them after they are placed."

“They are a bonding-herd animal,” Russell states. “These horses are sensitive to a person’s body movement and gestures. They bond quickly with their owner.  It’s not uncommon for the owner to be able to do anything with the horse, while a stranger will not get the same response.”

According to the Bureau of Land Management website blm.gov, The Bureau of Land Management created the Wild Horse and Burro Program to implement the Wild-Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act, passed by Congress in 1971. Broadly, the law declares wild horses and burros to be “living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West” and stipulates that the BLM and the U.S. Forest Service have the responsibility to manage and protect herds in their respective jurisdictions within areas where wild horses and burros were found roaming in 1971.

Horses not adopted at this Batesville location will go back to a holding facility in Ewing, Ill. For more information on the Bureau of Land Management visit blm.gov.

Photography by Nancy D. Patterson

For more stories of this kind, visit Patterson's blog at http://nonniinbarr.blogspot.com/