POSTED: Friday, January 21, 2011 - 4:41pm
UPDATED: Monday, January 24, 2011 - 9:26am
MERCEDES - Texas does not have land set aside for wild horses or burros. Still many Texans really appreciate the beauty and uniqueness of those wild animals. So every year the Bureau of Land Management brings down several wild burros and mustangs for Valley residents to adopt for just $125 each.
But first time buyers sometimes feel overwhelmed with what to look for in an animal. That's why the Wild Horse and Burro Program makes sure no buyer walks away without their questions answered.
"He kind of guided me through, helped me through the picking process, what to stay away from. Basically the in's and out's of the organization," said Cathy Arnold, First-Time Buyer.
To buy a mustang or burro, a person must be 18 years old, have a 400 square-foot area with access to food, water and shelter, and have no prior conviction for inhumane treatment of animals.
All 75 of these animals were brought down from states like Nevada California, and Oklahoma.
"These wild horses and burros roam the public lands out west, and there's just too many horses out there for the land to support, so the Bureau of Land management gathers off a certain number each year, and offers those horses up to the public for adoption," said Crystal Cowan, Bureau of Land Management.
When these animals are taken into captivity the federal government puts a freeze mark on their neck. This is just a brand that identifies them. It is placed on the left side of the animals neck.
The brand protects the animals, law enforcement and animal care officials recognize the marking and will make sure that the animal is being well taken care of and not mistreated.
Previous buyers said owning a mustang can be very rewarding, but it's not always an easy job.
"It took me like a month to tame her down and my two year old rode her two months after, and just sat and ponied her," said Mary Harris, Second-Time Buyer.
For the first year the animals are still property of the federal government. Then after a year, the owners are able to get a Title Eligibility letter which officially puts the animal in their name.
"I got two yearlings and a mare for my husband, so uh I'm leaving with more than what I wanted, but it's not a problem," said Arnold.
The sale will continue at the Mercedes Rio Grande Livestock Show ground through Saturday until noon.
To learn more about wild mustangs and burros visit www.blm.gov .