Youth in the Nevada 4-H Youth Development Program dedicated some of their time this spring and summer preparing five wild horses and one burro for adoption. On July 31, the kids will show the animals that will then be auctioned off for adoption at Nevada’s second Halter-started Wild Horse & Burro Event and Adoption Auction.
The youth, part of University of Nevada, Reno Extension’s Washoe County 4-H Horse Program, received the animals, all not yet a year old, from the Bureau of Land Management. The program, which successfully launched last year, is a collaboration between Extension, a unit of the University’s College of Agriculture, Biotechnology & Natural Resources, and the Bureau to place wild horses with adoptive families. The kids spent 100-120 days preparing the horses for human interaction and adoption.
The Bureau, which already operated a similar, effective program with the Nevada State Prison where prisoners train the wild horses, is always looking for new ways to rehome healthy wild horses. They saw positive results from a partnership with the Bureau and 4-H in Idaho, so they pursued a similar program here in Nevada last year.
“They trust 4-H and trust Extension, and they know they will be able to work with youth already familiar with horses to foster and provide training to prepare these horses to be companions at new forever homes,” Sarah Chvilicek, 4-H Program coordinator, said. “They want to find a way to rehome wild horses because the horses are healthy animals, and they want to give these animals a chance.”
At the July 31 show and auction, which takes place at the University’s Equestrian Center on Valley Road and Sadleir Way in Reno, the youth will be judged on their showmanship and ability to train and care for the animals. Beginning at 11 a.m., they will be evaluated on ground handling, animal health and presentations about their work with their animals. The ground handling competition includes leading the animals through an obstacle course by hand, as they are too young to ride.
Bidding for adoption will begin following the youth demonstrations. Bids start at $150, and individuals interested in adopting the animals must meet the Bureau of Land Management adoption requirements. Proceeds for the event will be split among the Bureau, the Washoe County 4-H Horse Program and the youth who raised the horses.