Hays A federal program to encourage adoption of wild horses and burros attracted more spectators than buyers in western Kansas.
The Bureau of Land Management held an auction at Fort Hays State University Pavilion that began with the arrival of a semitrailer full of horses and a few wild burros last week.
The program is aimed at managing the growing herds of wild horses on public lands. Adoptions start at $125, and the BLM offers a $500 care allowance with horses older than 4 years old, payable a year after the new owner receives title to the horse.
Despite a steady stream of spectators Thursday, only nine horses and burros were adopted during the auction, leaving about 50 animals available. Auctions also were scheduled Friday and Saturday.
Tony Krizek has been around horses all his life, and he had his eye on a couple of the horses. He came early to see what was there, and what he might be willing to take home.
“Only thing is those 4-year-olds are hard to break,” he told The Hays Daily News. “It would be kind of like adopting a teenager.”
E. Jay “Frenchie” Newell took time out from his 64th wedding anniversary to look at the horses and burros, and he took several photos to show his daughter. He assured his wife, Lidia Francis, that he wouldn’t bring anything home other than the photographs.
“I like to see them,” he said of the horses. “I like to see them moving around. Instead of killing them, sending them to the slaughterhouse, this is what they ought to do.”
One person who did walk away with a horse was 6-year-old Tori Kreutzer, who picked hers out early.
Her mother, Victoria Kreutzer, handled all the arrangements.
“That’s the one that will come up to my daughter,” Victoria Kreutzer said of the 2-year-old animal they planned to take home. “That’s the one she fell in love with.”