By Allison Hinkley, Virginia Range Program
(May 13, 2023) On Friday, May 12, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) held an annual public viewing of the privately owned and operated Indian Lakes Wild Horse and Burro Corrals in Fallon, Nevada. The facility recently doubled its capacity, and can now hold up to 7,600 wild horses and burros. At this time, they estimated approximately 2,600 horses and 9 burros were being kept at the facility.
The horses were all separated by gender and age. We first came across pens for geldings, and then a separate pen for studs. There were an estimated 250 foals in the facility, and the tour guides explained that they stay with their dams (mare) in the same pen until they reach about 5 months old. At 4 months, they begin to be vaccinated and weaned from their mothers.
The most concerning observation of the facility was the overall lack of shade for the horses over the pens. While there were trees surrounding the outskirts of the grounds, there were no trees or structures that provide shade to the animals for relief in the summer’s high temperatures.
When I inquired about the lack of cover for these animals, they explained that healthy animals are built to withstand high temperatures, and they can gain relief at night when the sun goes down and temperatures drop. For horses that are considered unhealthy, there are other accommodations that are made. These accommodations were not specified.
In the wild, horses do not need their hooves to be trimmed as they travel miles on the range every day, and their hooves are naturally trimmed. Here, they are unable to travel these distances and they need maintenance. On the tour, they explained that they have a contracting service that comes in to trim, and they usually do about 100 horses a week. The facility’s staff aids in wrangling the horses for this to occur.
The tour guides also mentioned that there is a rotation to which the pens are cleaned. Before any new horses are added to the pen, it is to be cleaned. When asked for specifics on the general rotation, none were given.
Overall, the horses kept at the Indian Lakes Corral seemed to be in a generally good body score condition, and they came from HMAs all over the country. Eventually, they will be moved to facilities farther east where they will hopefully be adopted soon.