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4-H youth and Bureau of Land Management host horse adoption auction


Five wild horses and one burro will get their day in the spotlight—shared alongside their young handlers—on July 31 during Nevada’s second Halter-started Wild Horse & Burro Event and Adoption Auction. The event is the culmination of four months of preparation the kids have spent working with the animals to prepare them for adoption as part of the Washoe County 4-H Horse Program.

The program is a partnership between the Bureau of Land Management, which provided the animals and will place them with adoptive families, and the University of Nevada, Reno’s Extension 4-H program and College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources. The BLM successfully conducted a similar program with 4-H in Idaho, and modeled the 4-H programs after the one it runs with Nevada State Prison where prisoners train the wild horses before adoption.

Extension 4-H program coordinator Sarah Chivilicek said training to increase their adoptability gives healthy wild horses a chance after they’ve been removed from the range for various reasons. She praised the BLM for its partnership.

“They trust 4-H and trust Extension, and they know they will be able to work with youth already familiar with horses to foster and provide training to prepare these horses to be companions at new forever homes,” she said.

Each youth participant spent 100 to 120 days working with their animal—all less than a year old–to prepare them for human interaction and adoption. During the show, which precedes the auction, they’ll be judged on their ground handling, showmanship and ability to train and care for the animals. The animals are still too young to ride, so the ground handling will allow youth participants to lead them through an obstacle course by hand.

The show and auction are July 31 at 11 a.m. at UNR’s Equestrian Center on Valley Road and Sadlier Way, just a block west of the Reno-Sparks Livestock Event Center. Bidding for adoption of the animals will begin following the youth demonstrations, and bids will start at $150. Organizers say the proceeds from the event will be split between the BLM, the 4-H program and the youth who raised the animals.

BLM adoption requirements are available online at https://www.blm.gov/programs/wild-horse-and-burro/adoption-and-sales/how-to-adopt.

Source: UNR Extension

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