EWING – Horse adoption has become a way of life for Walter Gentry of rural Mt. Vernon.
In all, Gentry and his family have adopted 32 horses and one mule since 1991. Gentry, 78, has been a horse trainer for many years and said he's very pleased with the wild horses he's adopted.
His horses have been used for pleasure riding, speed events, cattle contests and for Civil War Re-enactments.
“The main benefit is that I have an extremely intelligent horse (that's) very easy to work with,” Gentry said of adopting. “These horses are extremely sure-footed. They won't get you into trouble.”
Area residents will get a chance to experience these animals for themselves when the Wild Horse and Burro Adoption event returns to this region after a roughly three-year absence. The event will be held from June 21 to 22 at the Ewing Wild Horse Facility, 22295 Sheep Farm Road in Ewing.
Since 1971, the U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management has adopted out over 200,000 wild horses and burros. The animals come from ranges overseen by the Bureau in the western U.S. Wild horses can be found in 11 western states, but Nevada has the majority of them.
“We have to gather X amount of horses a year (for adoption) so they don't over-populate,” said Steve Meyer, supervisory wild horse and burro specialist for the Bureau.
The Ewing event begins Friday, June 21, with a preview from 2 to 7 p.m. At that time, interested parties can visit with organizers, fill out applications and examine the animals that are available. Then, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. the next day, adoptions can be made on a first-come, first-served basis.
There is a $125 adoption fee for younger horses. The fee is $25 for horses 3 years and older. Also, a stock-type trailer is required to transport the animal. Trailers with a ramp for a back door will not be permitted to ensure the safety of the horse and the loading crew.
Roughly 40 animals will be up for adoption, including yearlings, 3 to 4-year-olds, geldings and mares.
“We try to bring a good mix,” Meyer said.
Horses are adopted for a variety of reasons, but are mainly used for trail riding, Meyer said. The animals are also used by the U.S. Border Patrol and Arlington National Cemetery.
Once a wild horse has been “gentled” or tamed, it develops a close bond with its owner, Meyer said.
“The bond is stronger than what you have with a domestic horse,” Meyer said. “It gets to be like your favorite dog.”
For more information on horse adoption, contact the Bureau of Land Management at (866) 468-7826.