Wild Mustangs Get A Makeover And A Chance For A New Home

Jul 24, 2015

Horses, trainers and potential owners are gathering Friday and Saturday in Nampa to watch wild mustangs show off in the ring.

The Extreme Mustang Makeover is a chance for wild horses to get a new home. Each horse is hooked up with a trainer before the event. The horses are then taken to the makeover to show what they can learn in a short period of time.

The Bureau of Land Management and the Mustang Heritage Foundation are hosting the event at the Ford Idaho Horse Park.  The BLM’s Heather Tiel-Nelson says it’s a chance for the horses to find a home.

“People are enthralled with the idea of adopting a wild horse - it’s a piece of our western heritage,” says Tiel-Nelson. “But the unfortunate side to that is sometimes they just don’t have the background or the knowledge to handle an animal that’s never been touched.”

Tiel-Nelson says the makeovers give the horses a head start getting used to people.

A wild mustang shows off what it can do at an Extreme Makeover.
Credit Kelly Magee / Bureau of Land Management

She says since the program began in 2007, more than 5,500 horses have been adopted.

“Bringing trainers together with a wild horse for 100 days, and then showcasing what they’re able to get done, to be able to show off the trainability and versatility of our wild horses in a makeover competition, seemed like a really good idea,” she says.

Tiel-Nelson says the events help people looking to adopt the animals by providing the horses with basic skills and gentling them to human touch. At the makeover, the horses are put through competitions before going up for adoption.

The wild horses come from public lands in Idaho, Oregon, and Utah. Tiel-Nelson says the BLM manages close to 60,000 wild horses on public land in 10 different western states.

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