TWS discusses wild horse impacts at Mustang Makeover

By Jennifer Becar

A wild horse and its trainer competing at an Extreme Mustang Makeover competition. ©Tara Martinak/BLM

On Aug. 27, representatives from The Wildlife Society’s Government Affairs and Partnerships Program attended the Extreme Mustang Makeover competition in Lexington, Virginia, to discuss the effects that wild horses and burros have on rangeland ecosystems, native wildlife and wildlife professionals. The presentation was followed by a discussion session where members of the public were invited to ask questions about topics covered in the presentation and express other relevant concerns.

One of the competing pairs at the Extreme Mustang Makeover competition in Lexington, VA on Aug. 27. ©Jennifer Becar/TWS

One of the competing pairs at the Extreme Mustang Makeover competition in Lexington, VA on Aug. 27. ©Jennifer Becar/TWS

TWS gave this presentation as part of an ongoing education and outreach effort regarding wild horses and burros. Previous action by TWS surrounding this issue includes development of a fact sheet and position statement, testimony before the National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board, and testimony during a wild horse and burro hearing before the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Federal Lands last June. TWS is also Coalition Chair and a founding member of the National Horse and Burro Rangeland Management Coalition, which recently held a congressional briefing about wild horses and burros.

The Extreme Mustang Makeover is a national training competition that seeks to increase the adoption of wild horses held in the Bureau of Land Management’s off-range short- and long-term corrals and pastures. Participating horse trainers have 100 days to train a wild horse before attending the competition, where they demonstrate their horses’ training through a variety of judged events. The Extreme Mustang Makeover concludes with an auction where all of the wild horses trained for the competition are adopted out to the highest bidder. All adoptions are pre-approved by BLM.

The competition was won by trainer Sarah Grady. The mustang she trained sold at the Saturday evening auction for $8,500, the most expensive sale of the night.

Becar_Headshot Jennifer Becar is a policy intern at The Wildlife Society as part of the Government Affairs & Partnership program.

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