LAWRENCE, Kan. — A special auction focusing on wild horses is taking over the Douglas County Fairgrounds this weekend. The animals were brought in for the sale as a part of federal herd management.
But horses aren’t the only wild animal up for adoption.
Burros, which you may know as a donkey, are part of the same sale put on by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. Most of the 120 animals were brought in from public land in Nevada with prices starting at $125.
At the event on Friday, there’s a laser focus on horses, especially those with unique colors.
But some people are focused more on the blue and red hues most laypeople would just describe as jenny gray.
“Well over there in pen no. 2 there’s a couple of them,” Colleen Williams from Derby, Kansas, said about the animals she’s eyeing. “So the ones over there that let you pet their ears and stuff are ones that caught my attention.”
Williams is a return customer to the event. She currently has six horses, including a wild one she previously bought from the sale.
“In all honesty, I learned a lot from my granddaughter because if it wasn’t for her gentling these horse, I probably wouldn’t know as much,” Williams said.
“Right now she is training another mustang colt,” she said.
“She was able to get close to him. And then she was able to give him kisses,” she said of the horse named George.
“Now if you’re building a fence, he will take the tools out of your back pocket. We have what we call George’s corner. If there’s anything missing at the house, you go to George’s corner, and it will be there,” Williams said.
Crystal Cowan, a wild horse and burro specialist with the Bureau of Land Management, said that burros — like the horses — need federal management.
“These animals roam on our public land in the 10 western states, and we just do not have enough forage or water to support them,” Cowan said.
“We have four pens of burros here. We have a good selection of burros. A lot of people use burros for herd protection for cattle, sheep or goats,” she said.
“We do a few things to control the numbers each year because they will have a baby every year and double in numbers every four years and triple in numbers every six years,” Cowan said.
Before adoption, purchasers must go through a brief application process to make sure they are qualified to take an animal home and have enough room.
The sale continues from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Douglas County Fairgrounds.