Our Journey to and from the 2023 BLM Wild Horse and Burro Auction event in Okeechobee, Florida
The memory of last week will be imprinted on our hearts for as long as the sun still shines. Our journey to the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Auction Event in Okeechobee, FL was so many emotions and feelings bundled into one 48 hour trip. We were excited, tired, joyous, stressed, impressed, and gratified all at once! From the moment we left the ranch under the colors of an idyllic South Georgia Sunrise to when we returned in a foggy pouring rain, the purpose of our trip was always clear.
Choosing which horses to bring home is no easy task. All of them deserve a loving and caring home. Deciding which ones will be best fitted for life on the ranch requires full use of both heart and mind, and predicting how the horses will respond to their new home is always a bit of a wild card. We left for the auction event early on Thursday morning (2/9) and returned to the ranch late Friday evening (2/10). Even though it was nearly midnight when we got back to the ranch, we were buzzing with anxious excitement to let the horses out of the trailer. Each and every one of them trotted out without a fuss, and settled in rather quickly. This group of mustangs is unlike any we have ever encountered. Each of them is level-headed, calm and surprisingly comfortable around people- we could sense this in Okeechobee, but we were thrilled to see the same traits continued when we got back to Lyons.
We kept the horses in our covered arena all of Saturday and Sunday so they could get acclimated to each other and the ranch before actually putting them out in the pasture. Even in the arena, they found ample ways to entertain themselves with playful nudging, biting and frolicking. The younger ones especially enjoyed playing with the ball and pestering the older horses to join them. Despite their good spirits, we were itching to release them into the pasture.
On Monday the big moment finally arrived. All the fencing was in place, and we were able to open the gates and guide them into pasture. To say this moment was emotional is an understatement. For some of these horses, it was the first time they were able to run freely in years. Hearing the sounds of their heavy hoofs beating the earth as they ran was barely loud enough to cover the loud thumping sounds of our own hearts beating. Sandra was in charge of guiding them through the fencing, while Wolle manned the far end of the pasture and Simone the near end (Gunner did his best impression of a herding dog as well ). The video we captured is lovely, but nothing can replace the feeling of being there and breathing in this moment of freedom.
We will have all of these horses for at least one year while we work to get them gentled, trained and prepared for their new life interacting with humans. Although these mustangs are particularly healthy in both body and spirit, we will still have a lot of work to do to earn their trust. Building a connection with them will require much patience and learning, both of which we have plenty of. These mustangs will be featured in all of our clinics this year, including the Spring Clinic which is only weeks away (March 30th – April 2nd). Wild mustangs provide a particularly profound interaction with human beings, as they react to their senses without any hesitation whatsoever. They make for great companions and we are eager to start spending more time with them.
The trip to Okeechobee was quick on time but long on miles, and certainly wasn’t as much of an end as it was a beginning. The journey of these 8 new horses is ongoing, and we are happy to be able to offer them a place of sanctuary, good health, and a hopeful future. We will keep you posted on their journey throughout the year so be sure to stay tuned to our Journal, Newsletter, and Social Media pages.
Thanks for stopping by and spending some time with us. For more information about BLM Auction Events and The Mustang Heritage Foundation, please visit the links below; and if you have any questions, curiosities or would like more info please don’t hesitate to reach out to us via email or on Social Media!
BLM Wild Mustang & Burro Auction Evens 2023:
The Mustang Heritage Foundation: