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A Mustang Roundup

A mustang captured from Oregon’s Warm Springs herd is available for online adoption. Photo Courtesy BLM.
A mustang captured from Oregon’s Warm Springs herd is available for online adoption. Photo Courtesy BLM.

Oregon’s mustangs and their trainers are in Hines this weekend, as part of an adoption event that includes more than 500 animals in an exhibition of trained horses that, a mere three months earlier, were completely raw and utterly wild. 

Whether or not you may define yourself as a horse-gal or guy, this weekend’s equine-centric event will be an exciting spectacle, if you happen to be on Oregon’s eastside. If you don’t plan to drive over the Cascades but are interested in checking out some of Oregon’s wild horses up for adoption, there is also currently an online adoption under way on the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) website through June 6.

The Mustang Heritage Foundation and the BLM host adoption events as a way to showcase the trainability of Oregon’s mustangs. Tara Martinak of BLM’s Burns District office says that the idea is “to try to put more horses into private care.”

“We actually get a lot of trainers that do get attached, we’ve had a lot of them get teary-eyed,” says Martinak of the professional men and women who dedicate three months’ worth of training to turning a mustang into a domestic-ready horse.

Oregon’s mustangs inhabit 17 public rangelands (termed by the BLM as “herd management areas”) in southeast Oregon. If you can picture Sisters at the top-left corner of an imagined box-shaped perimeter that reaches down to the California border, it’s within that box that these management areas and the Oregon’s mustangs exist. 

According to a BLM report from April 2011, there is an estimated population of more than 2,100 horses on BLM and U.S. Forest Service rangeland in this state. The horses are periodically rounded up and some of them are removed from the land, which is a source of some controversy, often because of the method by which they are gathered — they are often hazed by helicopter.

A little closer to home, another adoption event that is also a competition is the Extreme Mustang Makeover, which will run from June 29 through July 1 at the Linn County Horse Center in Albany.

For more information and a complete event schedule, call the BLM Burns District Office at (541) 573-4400. Additional information about the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro program and online adoption is available online: http://wkly.ws/qi