NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - The first day of a wild horse adoption concluded in Nacogdoches on Friday.
Some East Texans have agreed to provide a home for wild mustangs that have been taken off public lands due to overpopulation. A unique opportunity awaits the owners and their horses.
Mary Hall is about to fulfill a lifelong dream. One of these mares which once roamed wild on public lands will become hers to own. A horse trainer affiliated with the Mustang Heritage Foundation is helping with the selection.
"She was really friendly," said Leah Foxworth, a Trainer Incentive Program participant. "Confirmation wise we'll have to look at that and see what you like and then see if she'll be one on my list that I can pick up and get gentle for you."
Mary Hall has her favorites. So does Foxworth.
"She is already being friendly, so that's a good indication that she will make a good prospect to train," Foxworth said.
Fate will match the women up with the right horse. Those horses not adopted today or during two hours Saturday morning will be the group from which they can make a selection.
"I work for the Trainer Incentive Program, which means that I take a horse in, and I gentle it,' Foxworth said. I "have up to 90 days to get it where it leads, picks up four feet, loads in and out of a trailer, and stand to be groomed. And then those horses are adopted for the same $125 that it costs you to adopt the wild one as a gentled mustang."
TIP is just one of several adoption incentive programs coordinated through the Bureau of Land Management. The federal agency gathers the excess wild horses and burros from lands where water and vegetation are scarce.
"Our goal is to get back down to around 27,000 horses and I know we exceed that," said Pat Hofmann, the Bureau of Land Management facility manager for Paul's Valley, Oklahoma. "Last I heard it was over 35-40,000 on the range."
Sadly, there are far fewer people wanting to or are capable of adopting a mustang. One sorrel, a favorite of Foxworth, has one more chance of being adopted before she's turned out to pasture on a management facility.
It's too early to say if the mare will be Mary Hall's.
"I do like her," Mary Hall said. "I do like her yeah."
But one thing is for certain. Mary Hall and her daughter Lisa Hall will make the commitment to a wild horse to create a bond that is sure to come.
"Ever since I was a little kid, I mean knee-high to a grasshopper, so to speak, I've always wanted a mustang," Mary Hall said. "I'm 50 now. I'm in my 50s and here's my chance, and I'm gonna get one."
"Once you train a mustang, and you train them right, they will be your most sure footed, loyal companion," Lisa Hall said.
Three women are working together to give a symbol of the American West one last chance. Fortunately, it doesn't take long for these mustangs to learn cool water, abundant hay, and warm shelter make for a pretty good life after all.
The Wild Horse Adoption will start up again tomorrow at eight in the morning and go for only two hours at the Nacogdoches County Exposition Center. However, there are multiple opportunities available to finalize an adoption. Check out the BLM website.