How to Adopt a Wild Horse from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)

How to Adopt a Wild Horse from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)

Adopting a wild horse from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) can be a rewarding experience for equine enthusiasts and animal lovers alike. The BLM manages and protects wild horses and burros on public lands across the United States, ensuring these animals have healthy populations and sustainable habitats. The adoption program provides an opportunity to give these majestic creatures a new home. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to adopt a wild horse from the BLM.

Understanding the Program

The BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program aims to maintain the health of public lands and the well-being of wild horse populations. Through this program, the BLM captures excess animals from overpopulated herds and offers them for adoption to responsible individuals.

Eligibility Requirements

Before you start the adoption process, ensure you meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Age: You must be at least 18 years old.
  • Facilities: You need adequate facilities to house and care for the horse. This includes a sturdy, safe corral with a minimum size of 400 square feet per horse, shelter from the elements, and access to clean water and forage.
  • Experience: While not mandatory, prior experience with horses is highly recommended. Wild horses require significant training and handling.

Adoption Process

  1. Research and Preparation
    • Visit the BLM website to familiarize yourself with the adoption requirements and available horses.
    • Assess your facilities and resources to ensure you can provide proper care.
  2. Submit an Application
    • Complete the BLM’s adoption application form, which can be found on their website.
    • Provide details about your facilities, experience, and why you want to adopt a wild horse.
  3. Approval
    • Once your application is reviewed and approved, you will receive a notification from the BLM.
  4. Select a Horse
    • You can select a horse through online adoption events or in-person at BLM adoption facilities and events. The BLM frequently holds adoption events across the country, making it accessible for potential adopters.
  5. Adoption Fee
    • Pay the adoption fee, which typically ranges from $125 to $250. This fee helps cover the costs of the adoption process.
  6. Transport
    • Arrange for the transportation of your adopted horse to your facility. Ensure the transport vehicle meets the BLM’s requirements for safety and comfort.

Post-Adoption Requirements

  1. Compliance Check
    • The BLM will conduct periodic compliance checks to ensure the horse is being properly cared for. This includes verifying the condition of the facilities and the health of the horse.
  2. Gentling and Training
    • Begin the gentling and training process. Wild horses are not accustomed to human contact, so it is essential to approach training with patience, consistency, and kindness. Consider seeking the help of a professional trainer if you are inexperienced.
  3. Title Issuance
    • After one year, if the BLM determines that the horse has been well cared for and meets all requirements, you will receive the official title of ownership. Until then, the horse is technically considered property of the federal government.

Benefits of Adopting a Wild Horse

  • Unique Bond: Form a unique bond with a wild horse as you work together to build trust and understanding.
  • Conservation: Contribute to the conservation of America’s wild horse populations by providing a new home for a horse in need.
  • Rewarding Experience: Experience the personal satisfaction of giving a wild horse a second chance at life in a loving environment.


Adopting a wild horse from the BLM is a commitment that requires time, resources, and dedication. However, the rewards are immense, as you will gain a loyal companion and play a crucial role in the preservation of these iconic animals. By following the BLM’s guidelines and preparing thoroughly, you can successfully adopt and care for a wild horse, creating a fulfilling and enriching experience for both you and your new equine friend.

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