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Life off the range

BLM conducting wild horse gather in Saylor Creek HMA
Published: Jul. 29, 2020 at 7:53 AM MDT
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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) - The Bureau of Land Management placed more than 7,000 wild horses and burros into private homes nationwide in 2019, a 54 percent increase from the previous year.

The overall population of the herd as of March 1 is more than 95,000, a 16 percent increase from 2018.

“So essentially a wild horse herd, because they don’t have any natural predators, can double in size every four years,” said Heather Tiel-Nelson, public affairs specialist BLM Twin Falls District.

The BLM Jarbridge Field Office is currently in the process of gathering up 131 wild horses in the Saylor Creek Herd Management Area. Eighty-One horses will be removed and 50 will remain in the HMA to maintain the appropriate management level.

“They are overpopulated obviously, and it’s more than the range can sustain. . . like livestock grazing or healthy habitat for wildlife,” said Nelson.

According to the BLM, the management number is based on range conditions, water availability, and acreage.

Nelson said the 81 horses removed will be transported to the Boise Wild Horse Corrals and prepared for adoption this Fall.

“Well more than likely we anticipate having a 100 percent adoption. They tend to be really popular with our adopters, so we anticipate having a successful adoption. Generally speaking if a wild horse is not adopted they will then be cared for in an off-range pasture in the Midwest or an off-range corral,” said Nelson.

Rob Hubsmith and his wife Kaycie, or Richfield, Idaho adopted two wild horses earlier this year in Challis, Blackie and Ghost.

“I have seen the wild mustangs. I have read about them, and I kinda always wanted an Idaho mustang,” said Rob Hubsmith.

He also said that wild horses can be little tougher to break in than regular horses, because mustangs have basically never seen a human until they are captured, and “They are wild. The first day or two they are wild,” said Hubsmith.

He said Ghost is still getting used to the corrals, but Blackie is about ready to give his grand kids rides around the ranch.

“This horse [Blackie] here is truly going to be a kids horse. I have never met a horse that started out as gentle as him,” said Hubsmith.

He also said once they decide you are one of them it’s just a matter who is the boss, and you have to be the boss.

Hubsmith said that when he and wife adopted their two wild horses they took part in the Wild Horse and Burro Adoption and Incentive Program. The program ,”provides up to $1,000 to adopt an untrained wild horse or burro from the BLM”.

The BL spent more than $85 million on the wild horse and burro program in 2019, which includes gathering the of horses and caring for them in off-range corral and pastures until they can be adopted.

Hubsmith said he sees the incentive program as one way of saving taxpayer dollars and giving wild horses a home outside of a government facility.

Nelson said the Jarbridge Field office will be gathering the wild horses in the Saylor Creek Herd Management Area over the next four months using temporary water and hay/mineral bait traps.

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