Wild horses meet their match; 4-H kids get ready to say goodbye to their summer friends | Local News


One of the events featured at the Eastern Idaho State Fair involves the breaking up of several summer loves.

These relationships don’t involve a pair of star-eyed teens, but young 4-H paired with young wild mustangs herded together in the Challis backcountry. The program, launched in June, matches 10 4-Hers from Eastern Idaho with 10 young wild horses. The aim is to accustom animals to humans, to a different environment and to a variety of stimuli. After a fun competition where the horses cross an obstacle course, the animals are sold to the highest bidders of the fair.

“I’m excited to see all of the adopters and see how Suede interacts with all of the potential bidders,” said MadeLynn Anderson, 18, of Idaho Falls. Anderson named his Mustang Suede because of its color. “I’m really excited to see who she’s going to.”

Anderson said she and the other 4-H wild horse trainers put the young animals to the test and prepared them for the obstacle course set up at the fair.

“We walked her on bridges, tarps, scary things that make a lot of noise,” she said. “We have a noodle car wash in the pool that we accompany him. She’s gotten used to walking in a pool filled with water – a whole bunch of desensitization tools that we use.

This is Anderson’s second year in the 4-H program. Last year she coached another Mustang, Millie, and bonded so well with her that she made an offer and brought her home. The Andersons also have two quarter horses.

“I call him my heart horse because we’re really connected,” Anderson said of Millie. “She was my first mustang. Before this program, I had never seen a wild mustang, let alone a younger horse, and had trained them from the ground up. It was just a little special to have all these premieres and to be able to experience them together. “

Anderson said during the adoption that she let the other adopters know that she was going to bid on her, “and they all backed down.… We ended up buying her for around $ 600.

“I can’t tell you how impressed I am with these kids – the effort they put in,” said Kevin Lloyd, wild horse and burro specialist at the Challis-based Bureau of Land Management. “They pick them up on June 1st completely wild, then they spend the summer working with them. … They are doing a trail competition in hand. This allows them to show off all the training they received for the summer. Then we auction them off the next day.

Lloyd said the average horse price is around $ 600, but sometimes there are a few people who like a particular horse and things get worse. After a few incidentals, most of the money goes to the coach’s 4-H club.

“We got one for as much as $ 3,800,” he said. “It was unusual. It was a bidding war about three years ago. He was a handsome and well-trained animal. The girl wanted to adopt him and so it was her mother who was bidding against someone else and it kept increasing. Some people really wanted it and ended up winning.

Lloyd said buyers came from eastern Idaho and across the west. “We had people calling two or three days before the event and saying, ‘I’m leaving California and I’m going to be there for adoption, what should I do?’ It’s a competitive auction, and they get a horse that started well.

The weekend before the Eastern Idaho State Fair, a wild horse and burro adoption event will be held at the Bear Lake County Fairgrounds in Montpellier (August 27-28) . These animals will come from Challis and Rock Springs, Wyo., Wild horse facilities. Part of the program will include an expert ‘gentle demonstration’ to give new adoptees a head start with their wild animal.

“Those who go to Montpellier will not have had a job with them,” Lloyd said. “They get a completely green animal, an animal that has had pretty minimal contact with people. Most are young animals.

Animals that are not adopted will return to the Challis Wild Horse Facility pending future adoption. The BLM typically brings wild horses to areas of Idaho every three years. Horses were gathered in the Challis region in 2019.

A roundup of wild horses was scheduled for August in the Emmett area, but was postponed so the BLM could focus its efforts on emergency roundups in drought-affected areas of Nevada, California and the United States. ‘Oregon, according to Heather Tiel-Nelson, BLM’s wild horse specialist.

“It’s still on the program. It’s going to happen a bit later, ”Tiel-Nelson said.

To encourage adoptions, the BLM has an adoption incentive program offering buyers up to $ 1,000.

For more information on upcoming adoption events and BLM wild horse and burro programs, call 866-468-7826.

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