Remaining are 57 horses age 1-5 (39 mares and 18 geldings), 133 horses age 6-10 and 62 foals to be adopted once they are weaned. The first foals will be weaned within days of this posting. Mares with foals are adopted as one horse. The horses are being held at the Bureau of Land Management’s Litchfield facility in California.
46 horses have been adopted to new families while another 31 are in gentling training with volunteers through the Forest’s Service MODOC Mustang Training Program (MMT) which is similar to the successful Mustang Heritage TIP Program. Volunteers work with the wild horses handling them so they lead, pick up their feet and load onto a trailer before they are adopted into permanent homes.
“We are trying to find a balance between the wild horses, land and people,” said Ken Sandusky, Public Affairs Officer/Tribal Liaison, Forest Service. “We don’t consider these horses a blight. We honor these horses and accept the responsibility of managing their welfare as well as that of the land and the people of Modoc County.”
The Forest Service adoption rate exceeds the percentage of horses adopted through the BLM. Helpful are two active Facebook accounts run by volunteers familiar with the heritage and character of the herd. News and procedural FAQs are posted as well as features promoting the virtues of this herd and individuals awaiting adoption. Adoption fees are the same rate as BLM horses, $125, which includes the horses gentled through the MMT program.
Horses gathered last fall are being held at Litchfield BLM holding facility in California awaiting adoption. There are no immediate plans to gather additional horses but the law requires active management of the population.
The Forest Service manages several wild horse herds across the country though the herd at the Devil’s Garden Plateau Wild Horse Territory is certainly its largest.
“Managing the nation’s resources with respect toward multiple uses is a huge responsibility and these horses are a contributing element to the landscape,” explained Sandusky. “Just one more reason for Americans to connect with their national forest.”
Additionally, the Forest Service is planning for a short-term holding coral for gathered horses at the Devil’s Garden Plateau Wild Horse Territory. The facility will house gathered horses in a familiar environment while they await adoption. A timeline for development has not yet been publicized.
Get Lucky This Weekend
This Saturday volunteer trainer, Coni Lehr, will be giving demonstrations with Lucky, a 3-year-old gelding in the MMT program. They will be at the Modoc District Fair in Cedarville, California on August 19 and 20 showing the public Devil’s Garden Horses’ versatility and willingness to learn.
References (Learn More, Adopt, Train)
If you are interested in adopting a horse from the Devil’s Garden Plateau herd, you may also call the Litchfield Coral at 530-254-6575.
Photography Courtesy the National Forest Service and Stacy Snow