Wild horses available for adoption this weekend at Cornellâ??s Equestrian Center

They're living legends from the American West. Now, wild mustangs are looking for good homes.

The Bureau of Land Management has brought more than 40 wild mustangs to Cornell to be adopted this weekend.

The U.S. Department of Interior Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is offering about 40 wild horses and burros, ranging from yearlings to 5-years-old, to potential adopters this weekend.

The "Adopt a Living Legend" runs Saturday, July 13, at Oxley Equestrian Center on Pine Tree Road in Ithaca.

A minimal adoption fee of $125 for horses less than three years of age and $25 for animals three and older is required for adoption. Buddy animals are offered for $25 when you adopt the first animal at the full fee of $125.

Applications to adopt will be reviewed starting on Friday, and may be submitted up until Saturday.

On Friday, potential adopters were able to preview the majestic animals from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. .

On Saturday, adoptions are on a first come, first served basis from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Though it's a long term commitment, adopting one of these horses can be very rewarding for the right owner.

"It's an animal that's worth your time," says Steve Meyer, of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

Doug Wolford of Lysander knows all about that. He already owns several mustangs, and says they're curious by nature and make great companions.

"I like them because they're easy to train," he says. He says it's also easy to gain their trust. "They are a very devoted horse."

While some animal rights organizations have questioned the practice of forcibly removing mustangs from the wild, Wolford says it's the only way to ensure the horses survive.

"The grasslands will only support so many animals, and if they get over-populated they'll starve to death. They become so skinny and weak, so they have to manage the herd," Wolford says.

According to BLM, a wild free-roaming horse or burro is an unbranded, unclaimed, free-roaming horse or burro found on Western public rangelands. They are descendants of animals released by or escaped from Spanish explorers, ranchers, miners, U.S. Cavalry, or Native Americans.

"The BLM manages, protects, and controls wild horses and burros under the authority of the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act," said BLM-Eastern States State Director, John Lyon. "This law authorizes the BLM to remove excess wild horses and burros from the range to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands."

More information is available by calling 1-866-4MUSTANGS (1-866-468-7826) and on the BLM website.

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