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 The Trek: The Journals

•
Team: North
Robert Ashley
Saturday, September 14
Saturday, September 14, 2002. 5:00 p.m. KOA Campground, Teton Village.

Teton County Fairgrounds in Jackson was the site of today’s Adopt-A-Horse-or-Burro Program, sponsored by the Bureau of Land management (BLM). Several hundred horses and about 20 burros were offered to the highest bidders; the minimum price for adoption is $125 for horses, $25 for burros. Animals were chuted from corrals to the show ring in lots of two to four, and the auctioneer asked for bids on any horse in the lot. The winning bidder then selected the horse he would take home for a year and then own, subject to BLM approval. If no one bid on the horses in the show ring, then they were returned to the corral. They were offered again on a “first come, first served” basis after the bidding was completed. Those who adopt horses or burros are expected to meet BLM requirements for space, feeding, and care.

The program is a necessary part of BLM’s charge to manage and protect wild horses and burros on public lands. Balancing the number of animals with available resources means that excess numbers must be removed, so some 170,000 animals have been offered for adoption since 1973. BLM also attempts to balance the herds, so animals of both sexes and a wide range of ages are offered.

Prior to the bidding, the show ring was a stage for Steve Mantle and one of the wild horses with which he worked. Mantle is a horseshoer and trainer. His methods are gentle and logical, and he demonstrated just how effectively his approach works. () It struck me that new school teachers should watch him at work, because the same procedures should be used with children.

I was very surprised that so few animals received bids, despite the attractiveness of many of the horses. “Why aren’t people buying?” I asked a cowboy-type, dressed in appropriate Western wear. “Feed costs too much,” he replied. In our discussion, I found that he and his family have five horses and a burro, all adopted through the BLM program. The area drought has caused hay prices to soar. “Costs me about $500 a month to keep them,” he said. Were prospective buyers afraid of the quality of wild horses? No. Properly trained, they are as dependable as any others, and they are especially prized by trail outfitters because of their surefootedness. Are they harder to train? Not necessarily-some are easier to train. I surveyed the crowd of people sitting in the stands and standing along the corral. “So it just comes down to a matter of whether one can afford to keep them,” I suggested as a summary.

“We-l-l-l. This is Jackson. There’s money here. A lot of these people are just here to see the show. They’re lookers,” he said with a grin. “Like you.”

I nodded, surveying the crowd again, pleased that I had selected a real cowboy who knew his stuff. When I commented on his knowledge about horses, the cowboy laughed. He pointed to his wife, wranging the next batch of wild horses into the chute leading to the show ring. “She’s the horse person in my family,” he said. “I just report what she tells me about horses. I moved out here from Cleveland, and I’m still learning. I’m not a cowboy--I’m a CPA.”
for Saturday, September 14
North South Both




Biographical
•
Team: North
Robert Ashley
Bob Ashley poses with school children at the Wyoming Hunting and Fishing Heritage Exposition 2002
. Robert Ashley is a teacher from Illinois.
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List of All Journal Entries
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Thursday, September 26
Robert Ashley
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Tuesday, September 24
Robert Ashley
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Saturday, September 21
Robert Ashley
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Friday, September 20
Robert Ashley
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Thursday, September 19
Robert Ashley
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Wednesday, September 18
Robert Ashley
Kemmerer
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Tuesday, September 17
Robert Ashley
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Monday, September 16
Robert Ashley
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Sunday, September 15
Robert Ashley
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Saturday, September 14
Robert Ashley
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Friday, September 13
Robert Ashley
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Wednesday, September 11
Robert Ashley
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Monday, September 9
Robert Ashley
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Saturday, September 7
Robert Ashley
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Wednesday, September 4
Robert Ashley
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Tuesday, September 3
Robert Ashley
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Sunday, September 1
Robert Ashley
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Friday, August 30
Robert Ashley
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Thursday, August 29
Robert Ashley
Stoddard Creek (F.S.) campground
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Wednesday, August 28
Robert Ashley
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Sunday, August 25
Robert Ashley
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Friday, August 23
Robert Ashley
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Thursday, August 22
Robert Ashley
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Wednesday, August 21
Robert Ashley
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Tuesday, August 20
Robert Ashley
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Saturday, August 17
Robert Ashley
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Friday, August 16
Robert Ashley
Meyer Hill
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Thursday, August 15
Robert Ashley
Aspen Grove
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Wednesday, August 14
Robert Ashley
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Tuesday, August 13
Robert Ashley
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Monday, August 12
Robert Ashley
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Sunday, August 11
Robert Ashley
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Wednesday, August 7
Robert Ashley
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Wednesday, August 7
Robert Ashley
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Wednesday, August 7
Robert Ashley
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Sunday, August 4
Robert Ashley
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Saturday, August 3
Robert Ashley
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Thursday, August 1
Robert Ashley
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