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Published online: October 19, 2015
Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science
Volume 19, Issue 1, 2016
Mary A. Koncel


Research on the adoption and relinquishment of horses, both domestic and wild, remains limited. As a result, little is known about adopters, their adopted horses, and their adoption experience. This study surveyed and interviewed 17 adopters of Colonial Spanish mustangs through the Corolla Wild Horse Fund (CWHF). Together, they adopted 22 horses of varying ages and genders from 2002 to 2012. The participants, who had a range of previous experience with and knowledge of horses, were generally very satisfied with their horses and their adoption experience. Being able to adopt a gentled/trained mustang and receiving support from the CWHF during the adoption process played key roles in adoption success. Additionally, participants’ strong desire to preserve a perceived endangered species or national treasure appeared to be a major reason for adopting a Colonial Spanish mustang and served as motivation for making the adoption successful. The results of the study provide insights into ways to improve the number and success of adoptions through other equine programs, especially the Bureau of Land Management’s wild horse and burro program.