(UPDATE, 10:00 p.m.)
The Bureau of Land Management told MTN News late Thursday one of the horses brought to Montana for the adoption event died, and another was euthanized because they showed signs of disease.
As a result, the event was postponed, but BLM said the animals will be available to bring home at a future adoption event.
Veterinary officials explained that the other horses and burros appear to be healthy. They don’t think the problem will spread.
However, as a precaution, they are being isolated from other animals until they are given a clean bill of health.
The state veterinarian’s office has been notified, and lab tests are pending.
The animals came from wild herds in California and Oregon.
HAMILTON – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) brought in wild horses from California and Oregon, along with wild burros from across the southwest, to hold an adoption event Thursday in Ravalli County. BLM officials are trying to find the animals homes western Montana.
It’s all taking place at the Ravalli County Fairgrounds.
The Bureau of Land Management is traveling to 17 different locations across the U.S., trying to find homes for wild horses and burros that were wrangled in for population control.
The horses come from California and Oregon. In western Montana, they can fill very specific needs.
“Here you guys do a lot of packing a lot of … horse trail back rides, so they like big strong feet,” said Blair Street, Bureau of Land Management wild horse and burro range technician. “Oregon and California naturally have bigger horses, so that’s why we brought them in, and then the burros people think they are cute and fuzzy, and they want to bring them home.”
But there are requirements to bringing one of these animals home. The two big ones are that candidates must have at least a 400-square-foot plot of land and no history of animal abuse.
Wild horses respond differently than domestic horses in terms of training, but they also offer a trait that will bring you a friend for life.
“Their trust is a lot different than a domestic horse, in my opinion. They have something different about them, so once I feel like you earn their trust, they are going to do basically anything that you want them to do,” Street added. “Some horses, they are going to be a little more difficult, but they are going to be the best friend you thought you never had.”
Training a wild horse or burro might take a long time, but BLM has a piece of advice for anybody committed to these animals.
“The biggest thing I can tell people is just spend time with them,” Street said.
Adoption closes by this Sunday.
After Sunday, the BLM takes the show on the road to Kallispell before heading to Coeur d’Alene.
Along with the background requirements, all it costs to bring one of the animals home is $25. You will actually receive $1,000 from the federal government to bring one of these animals home in two $500 installments over a year-long period.
-Reported by Connor McCauley/MTN News