My Public Lands Roadtrip: Idaho 4H-Wild Horse and Burro Partnership
When wild horses are gathered from one of Idaho’s six Herd Management Areas, Idaho’s 4-H youth partner with BLM to provide training for young mustangs throughout a 6-8 week period. “I think this is the greatest program there is for kids,” said Bingham County 4-H Leader Jane Mickelsen. “They learn responsibility, they learn patience; and I feel like in learning to deal with animals, you learn to deal with people better.”
When 4-H youth finish working with the young mustangs, the horses are able to lead on a halter and are very comfortable with people. Then, the 4-H youth compete in a mustang-only in-hand trail competition. The competition judges score the youth and their horses on a small obstacle course that involves leading the young mustangs to walk over a large sheet of plastic; stepping over several small logs; trotting under halter; backing through a narrow log path; and loading and unloading from a trailer.
After the competition, the young mustangs are available for adoption. “Potential adopters see a great benefit if a wild horse has been handled and experienced good ground work training methods,” said Kevin Lloyd, Wild Horse and Burro Specialist for the BLM Challis Field Office.