A year ago, there was a wild horse roundup in Spring Creek Basin in Disappointment Valley. Twenty-five of the young horses who were removed were sent to the adoption at the Montezuma Fairgrounds in Cortez, one week later. The adoption was highly successful, with all horses being adopted that weekend or at least spoken for. Indeed, that is how I got Liberty.
When a horse is adopted from BLM, the Bureau of Land Management, it remains the “property” of BLM for one year, at which time the person who has adopted applies for the bill of sale and ownership is transferred. So in that year’s time, BLM has a right to check on the horses adopted to make certain the horse is being cared for properly. This protects both the horse and the person who has adopted. Things change in people’s lives, and sometimes adoption may seem “romantic” but then reality may set in. Both sides have options since it is always about the horse’s welfare…or should be. This is no different than human adoption. It has to be a good fit.
Within the last few weeks, the Colorado Chapter of the National Mustang Association (NMACO) based in Cortez, became aware, from an anonymous tip, that three mustangs adopted last September were not in good condition. In fact, they had no water and no hay and were dangerously thin. The BLM office out of Dolores was contacted and thanks to their quick action the horses were checked on and voluntarily relinquished by the adopters. They are under the continuous care of a BLM designated veterinarian. They are now back in BLM custody and are on their way to making the best recovery they can. Thanks to the quick action of BLM, these horses have the best chance possible of returning to good health. Why these people didn’t exercise their option to return the horses within the year, when their situation changed, one will never know.
When a horse is adopted, it is assumed that a healthy and safe environment will be maintained. Thanks so much to BLM for their swift action in saving the lives of these three mustangs. I appreciate that the NMACO and the BLM office work well together for the benefit of our horses. That is the only way we can protect our most wonderful legend…the American Mustang.
Alice Billings is a resident of Ridgway, Colorado, a painter, an artist, an author and friend to animals everywhere.