A Brief History

Dating back as early as the 1500s, Spanish explorers used horses to make their way across the North American contient. As homesteading the American west expanded in the 1800s, so too did the population of wild horses and burros.

For almost 100 years, these equids were utilized for riding, working stock, and food until, in the 1950s, Velma B. Johnston (later known as "Wild Horse Annie") worked to establish legislation to protect these icons of American heritage. To do this, she inspired people to join her in writing letters to Congress requesting protections be put in place for the ever-shrinking wild horse and burro populations.

This, of course, took time but in 1959, Public Law 86-234 was passed which prohibited the use of motorized vehicles to hunt wild horses and burros on public land. Following that, Johnston and her supporters were able to sway Congress to pass the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act (Public Law 92-195) in 1971. This law tasked the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) with preserving and protecting America's wild horse and burro herds.

Modern Management

Today, the BLM manages wild horse and burro herds over 26.9 million acres of public land. As part of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, the BLM is also responsible for identifying the Appropriate Management Level (AML) that each Herd Management Area (HMA) can sustain. Doing so ensures the long-term health of the range and the herds, along with maintaining the ecological balance across many species of plants and wildlife that share the land.

When the populations of wild horses and burros exceed the determined AML, the BLM is then tasked with moving excess horses or burros into holding facilities where they can then have the opportunity to be adopted by the public.

Management FAQs

Wild Horse & Burro FAQs

More Info

In addition to the above FAQs and information, the Bureau of Land Management Wild Horse & Burro Program website contains a wealth of knowledge and further reading. They have compiled a list of common questions from the public that gives straightforward answers surrounding the gathers, adoption programs, population control, as well as an entire section on myths and facts.

On their website, you can view a schedule of adoption events and learn more about how to bring home your own wild horse or burro.

Quick Links


History, management, adoption, and more! Get answers to your questions in the Forever Branded Education Center.


We exist because of our love for these amazing wild horses and burros.

When we brought home our first branded beauty, we had no idea that we'd become a part of a much larger community...a family. That's the piece that no one tells you; when you adopt a wild horse or burro, you join an incredible network of people just like you. People who love what these horses represent, their abilities, and the partnership opportunities that come from gaining the trust of a wild horse or burro.

Whether you currently have a pasture full of branded horses or are simply in awe of their story, the Forever Branded family is yours, too.



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We LOVE talking wild horses and burros and welcome the opportunity to engage with your event, school, or organization! If you would like to incorporate us into your next event, please reach out and let's chat.