By Melissa Locker
March 25, 2019

If you have ever dreamed of riding through the American West on your very own wild horse in a City Slickers-meets-Westworld fueled fantasy, now may be the time to make the commitment—or just get the Rolling Stones song about them stuck in your head.

The Bureau of Land Management announced that they will give up to $1,000 to people adopting a wild horse or burro with the idea that cold hard cash will “encourage more adopters to give a wild horse or burro a good home.”

The Adoption Incentive Program was created to help reduce the department’s “recurring costs to care for unadopted and untrained wild horses and burros while helping to enable the BLM to confront a growing over-population of wild horses and burros on fragile public rangelands.” According to a statement from the agency, the department cares for approximately 50,000 unadopted and unsold animals every year. Wild horses have “no natural predators” in the U.S. and the number of wild horses, mostly in California and Nevada, has been growing for years, causing some to call for culling the animals’ numbers.

Culling is unpopular with the public, though, making adoption a better alternative. Under the program, people who adopt a horse or burro are eligible to receive $500 within 60 days of the adoption, and another $500 within 60 days of titling the animal. People interested in the program can adopt and maintain four wild horses or burros each year.

The BLM isn’t handing out horses and burros to just anyone though. Adopting a wild horse or burro isn’t a decision to be taken lightly. Animals require care, kindness, and plenty of room to move. To qualify, would be wild horse owners and burro wranglers must be over 18, have an appropriate shelter, be able to feed and care for the animal, have no convictions of inhumane treatment of animals or for violation of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses & Burros Act, and meet the other qualifications listed here. The adoption application cost is $25.

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