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Where to Adopt l Selecting the Right Horse for You  l 
Adoption Requirements l Housing and Fencing  l How to Read a Brand l  Adventures in Halter Training l Mustang Heritage & History l Mustang Link to History


There are a number of places and ways to adopt a Wild Horse (Mustang) or Burro:

1. Directly From a BLM Facility

2. BLM Traveling Weekend Adoption

3. Trapsite Adoption

4. Cottage Contractor

5. Prison-Trained Horse

6. Internet Adoption

7. BLM Volunteer Program
Halter-Trained Horses

8. Mustang Heritage Foundation's TIP Program

9. Mustang Heritage Foundation Contests

10. Mustang Storefronts

11. Private Party Sale of Already Titled Mustang

12. Rescue or Volunteer Group

13. Non-BLM Wild Horse or Burro

14. Sale Authority BLM Horses


Click here for BLM Adoption Requirements
(Requirements to adopt from Rescue Groups are usually similar)

For an illustrated guide to adoption requirements, see this page

In a nutshell:

1. You must be 18 or over (or have an adult family member adopt for you)

2. No convictions for animal abuse in your past

3. For the adopted animal(s):

  • Safe trailer to take the animal(s) home. No tying, no openings to jump through, no sharp exposed metal pieces to injure animal; With possible exceptions for burros and yearlings, two horse trailers are often not accepted by BLM. Check with the facility you will be adopting through!
  • 400 square feet of floor space for each animal
  • Shelter with roof and at least two sides
  • 5 feet high fence for horse up to 18 months
  • 6 foot high fence for horses over 18 months
  • safe fencing material such as pipe panels of strong welded wire fencing with solid base and top
  • safe water supply at all times
  • adequate feed
  • timely veterinary and hoof care

Here's a video about the Bureau of Land Management's Wild Horse & Burro Program:

1. Adopt Directly From a BLM Facility (Be sure to make an appointment first!)

This is the best way if you want one NOW, or if you want to choose from the largest selection. The disadvantage is that you may not live within easy driving distance of one of these, and you may be overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of animals and find it hard to pick out just one. Bring binoculars, as often the horses will be at the opposite side of the huge fields where they are kept.

Most BLM facilities are happy to show you around and help you pick out your new horse or burro. The wranglers are generally quite knowledgeable, and, since they work with the horses daily, will often be able to steer you to just the right horse for your needs, if you ask them.

But be sure to make an appointment first so that they have the time to spend with you, and the personnel on grounds to help you load the horse.

To find the nearest facility to you, click HERE

2. BLM Traveling Weekend Adoption also called "Satellite" Adoption

For Schedule, Click Here: National Adoption Schedule for BLM  

Periodically, the BLM brings a weekend Adoption Event to locations, such as a county fairgrounds, or in conjunction with another event. This is probably the most popular way to get a mustang (or burro or wild mule). You can watch them at close range, and adopters often report that they really "connected" with their adoptee. Many people report that their mustang "picked them" by making eye contact, coming toward them, or in some other way appealing to their hearts.


A variant of the Weekend Adoption is the Trapsite Adoption. At these adoptions, pre-qualified adopters pick their horse directly from the trap site, within a short time after capture.

These are ideal for experienced trainers who might want a "pure" horse who has not been around humans at all, except for being captured.

Perhaps the major advantage is health: Horses coming from isolated, remote regions often lack immunity to common domestic horse diseases, such as strangles, warts, etc., and as a result, outbreaks often occur at holding facilities within a few weeks of bringing in horses from remote areas. Avoiding the holding facility avoids this risk. One should note, however, that when the new horse goes to your house, it will also be exposed to domestic diseases for the first time, and it will be your vet bill, not BLM's. A quarantine pen at home is highly recommended!

Trapsite animals also differ from holding facility animal in that they have had less handling, running through chutes, and trailer rides. This can either be good or bad. Horses who have already spent some time in captivity, have been fed and watered by humans, run through chutes, given shots and blood tests, loaded and unloaded into trucks and trailers, etc, have had at least some of the "edge" taken off their wildness by the time you adopt them. Mature horses tend to be more "crashy" and easily panicked when first gathered.

Most trapsite adoptions feature mainly weanlings, yearlings, and 2-year-olds, however, and many of these become quite tame even by adoption day.

If you attend a trapsite adoption, be sure to have everything you need on hand: Proper trailer, solid tow vehicle, halter and lead rope for the size of horse you expect to adopt, etc. There are no stores anywhere close!

Here's a link to photos from the 2012 Stone Cabin trapsite adoption:

4. Adopt From a Cottage/Contractor program:

  • The Mantle Ranch is the only Cottage Contractor program currently in the BLM system. in Wyoming will adopt out halter-trained and saddle-trained horses directly, or through the periodic BLM Internet Adoptions. (See National Adoption Schedule for BLM for info).


The BLM has wild horse training agreements with state correctional institutes in CA, CO, KS, NV, UT and WY. Prison Wild Horse Gentling Programs are a great way to get a saddle-started Mustang!

Bart Lawrence of Reno got his horse, Mister, from the Carson City Prison Program

The Mustang Mavericks Drill Team's horses are primarily "graduates"
of the Carson City, Nevada, prison's wild horse training program.

Related article: How Prison Changed My Life by Lorraine Evans Jackson

6. Adopt over the Internet during one of the BLM's regularly scheduled Internet Adoptions.

The Internet Adoptions allow people to adopt no matter where they live (in the USA, that is)

7. BLM Volunteer Program Halter-Trained Horses

BLM VOLUNTEERS sometimes take horses home for foster care and to gentle and halter train for new homes. Contact your state BLM office to see if any are currently available, or to see if there are any active volunteers willing to do this for you.

The author of this website and her family have gentled and halter-trained several horses through the BLM volunteer program.

8. The Mustang Heritage Foundation's TIP Program

This "Trainer Incentive Program" allows adopters to get a gentled, halter-trained horse for the regular $125 adoption fee.
Click here for info about TIP. There are TIP trainers in most states. The MHF website will provide a list for you to choose from, and to contact trainers in your area. Note: MHF does not test or in any way "certify" these trainers, so quality varies. Do your own homework!

Leah Magnusson got this horse through the TIP program, trained by a trainer in her area, Midori Morgan.

9. Adopt a Saddle-Trained Horse from one of the Mustang Heritage Foundation's Popular Mustang Makeover & Other Contests

10. Adopt From A MHF Mustang Storefront Program:

  •  The Mustang Storefront program is relatively new and is an exciting potential solution to the problem of getting adoptable animals closer to where people live.
  • MUSTANG CAMP in New Mexico offers halter-trained horses and burros through the USFS and the TIP program
  • Ashley Rose

11.Buy an an already Titled Mustang from an adopter who wants to sell.

Good places to look:

12. Adopt From a Rescue or Mentor/Volunteer Group

Rescue Organizations often have mustangs - sometimes fresh from the range, other times "re-adopts" from homes where things didn't work out, or cases of neglect and abuse.

13. Adopt (or purchase) a NON-BLM Mustang or burro:

"Comstock/Virginia Range," Sheldon USFWS , Nokota/Theodore Roosevelt National Park, Indian Reservation Horse, or other Non-BLM Wild Horse or Burro

Click here to learn about Comstock, & Sheldon USFWS horses & burros; Also a situation that is gaining in attention is the plight of the horses on Indian Reservations (which may or may not be considered actual mustangs, but are usually untrained). The horses were once a source of income to the tribes - some as trained horses but most as meat. But since the slaughterhouses closed, they have been allowed to continue to breed unchecked, and are now seriously overpopulated. Periodically the reservations send large numbers to livestock auctions.

The South Dakota Badlands, including Theodore Roosevelt National Park, has wild horses, that are periodically rounded up and placed for sale. Although these horses have an ardent following and all are sold to homes and rescue groups, in theory those not taken would be sold to anyone, including kill buyers.

14. Sale Authority:

Under this program, adopters get full title immediately - no one year waiting period and no inspections.
For more information, click HERE

15. Internet Groups and Pages:

The following are Facebook pages where volunteers post photos of horses from individual facilities. These are volunteers pages, not BLM. They are a good place to look to see what type of horses are currently available at a given facility:

Thanks to  Megan Stewart for compiling this list!

  • Arizona Mustangs and Burros: This page is not just for images of horses, but a great group that Annie MacDermaid started for her TIP horses. There are a couple of other trainers who post regularly as well. Photographs of horses at the Florence facility can be found in the albums.
  • Elm Creek Mustangs: For horses at the Elm Creek facility in Nebraska, as well as horses adopted from there.
  • Canon City Mustangs: For horses at the Canon City facility in Colorado, as well as horses adopted from there. Amanda Wilder does BOTH of these facilities, Canon City and Elm Creek, and that is pretty amazing!!
  • Adopt California Mustangs and Burros: This is for horses and burros available for adoption at the Litchfield Facility in California.
  • Rock Springs Mustang Corral- For horses at the Rock Springs, Wyoming corrals. It looks like this page has not been updated for a year.
  • Rock Springs Wyo corrals-Q&A - Meet and chat with knowledgeable folks. Get answers about currently available horses, recent gathers, etc.
  • Ridgecrest California BLM Corrals This is for horses at the Ridgecrest, CA facility. Christina Olive maintains it, she is a TIP trainer as well. There is a separate page for those who adopt horses from this facility.
  • Nevada Mustangs Ranch- Karen Castro posts pictures of horses at the Palomino Valley facility here, although it is not strictly for that purpose.
  • Oregon BLM Horses/Burros for Adoption - Oregon BLM Wild Horse Adoption Center photos and information of horses available at the Burns, Oregon Corrals.
  • Oregonís BLM Wild Horses for Adoption - Photos & info on horses that are available at the Oregon BLM wild horse corrals in Burns/Hines, Oregon. Sandee Force and a few others maintain this page.
  • Ewing, Illinois facility


Adopt A Mustang l Where & How to Adopt l Selecting the Right Horse for You l Adoption Requirements l How to Read A Brand l Mustang Heritage l Working with Wild Horses e-Book

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This is a non-commercial, independent website, owned and written by Nancy Kerson, for the benefit of actual and potential adopters of BLM Mustangs and Burros and similar animals. Sales of the products below help support this website.



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