Region 8 Bidders Take an Early Look at Wild Horse Auction

JONESBORO, AR -- A lot of people in Region 8 ride and own horses but most of those horses are raised in controlled areas from birth.

However there are hundreds of wild mustangs brought in from the west that need to be taken care of.  Each year those animals are "adopted" out at auction's like the one that will be held over the weekend at the ASU Equine Center.

"The horses are really great horses, but they are wild they have not been handled very much," said Lauren Ritchie.

There are 53 wild mustangs and 20 burros that will be sold in the next couple of days to the highest bidder.

On Friday potential bidders came out to take a look at the animals and pick their favorites.

"They need homes.  They populate out in the west and because their numbers keep increasing the government does have to take them out of the range to keep them from starving," said Ritchie.

Emmy Thieme spent the morning looking at the mustangs.

"Mustangs have their own way about them.  They're not built like any other horse.  They don't have the personality of any other horse," said Thieme.

And even though they are wild, they can be trained.

"Some of the horses are easier than others.  They have personalities like people do.  Some come around very easily and others you have to take a little time to work at it," said Ritchie.

"They actually have a lot of respect for you once you give them a good home and take care of them.  It might take a while before they respect you and want to be around you but eventually they come around," said Thieme.

Thieme says these horses are often better horses than some you raise from birth.

The way the process works is everyone who wants to bid on a horse needs to fill out an application and be approved.  The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has to make sure bidders have the right environment to train a wild horse.

"People need to start them out in a corralled area with a high fence on it that's attached to shelter so they can take a little time to work with the horse," said Ritchie.

The minimum adoption fee for a horse is $125, but those prices could be as low as $25 for qualified buyers. This is an auction and the animals will be sold to the highest bidder.

Anybody who plans to adopt one of the animals needs to bring a trailer to transport it home.

The gates open on Saturday at 8:00 a.m. and the auction starts at 10:00 a.m.  Bids will be taken until 5:00 p.m. on Saturday.  It all picks back up on Sunday at 8:00 a.m. and goes until noon.