Learning from the Corolla Wild Horse Adoption Program

Researchers attributed the program’s success to a rigorous adoption process, pre-adoption gentling of horses, and more.
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Most horse people are familiar with the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) wild horse and burro adoption program, which has been functioning for decades. Other, lesser-known and -studied wild horse adoption programs, however, exist, as well. Researchers recently took a closer look at one such program and compared its goals and outcomes with those of the BLM.

In the recent study, Mary Koncel, MFA, MS, an adjunct instructor at Center for Animals and Public Policy at the Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, in North Grafton, Massachusetts, examined the Corolla Wild Horse Fund (CWHF) Adoption Program, a private program that adopts out a small number of Spanish colonial Mustangs—which reside on islands in North Carolina’s Outer Banks—each year.

Koncel said the CWHF and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) adoption programs appeal to adopters for similar reasons, such as preserving a piece of culture or connecting with a wild horse, but the programs have some key differences.

“The BLM … uses removal and adoption of wild horses as its primary tool to manage populations on federal lands,” said Koncel. “Tthe CWHF removes wild horses and places them in its adoption program, but only under limited and prescribed circumstances. The primary goals … are protection of individual horses and preservation of herd genetics

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Casie Bazay is a freelance and young adult writer, as well as a certified equine acupressure practitioner. She also hosts a blog, The Naturally Healthy Horse. Once an avid barrel racer, she now enjoys giving back to the horses who have given her so much.

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