Mustang auction nets $2,005

Two burros were among the animals offered at silent auction Saturday at the Mesa County Sheriff’s Posse grounds in Grand Junction. Thirteen mustangs that were recently gathered from the Little Book Cliffs Wild Horse Range east of Grand Junction were available for adoption.

Horses were rounded up with a bait trapping method, which is much calmer for the horses than helicopter roundups.

De Beque resident Georgia Manus had her eye Saturday on Thor.

Manus was interested in the yearling, among 37 horses gathered in a multiweek roundup this month at the Little BookCliffs World Horse Range, because she said the horse “has a great mind.”

Manus knows Thor, and his family, well.

A volunteer of 15 years with the Friends of the Mustangs organization, Manus spends two to three days weekly in the Little Book Cliffs Range monitoring the herd.

“His grandfather disappeared this year and he’s not that old of a stallion,” she said Saturday morning, looking anxiously at Thor at the Mesa County Sheriff’s Posse grounds.

“Everybody loved him,” she said.

To underscore her interest in Thor, she wrote out her opening bid of $150 using a pink pen.

“I’m a nervous wreck,” she said. “It’s a bittersweet situation because you really don’t want to pull them off the range, but we want healthy conditions up there.”

All 13 of the Little Book Cliffs horses up for silent auction Saturday were sold to prospective owners, raising $2,005 in proceeds to go to the Bureau of Land Management’s wild horse and burro program.

“I’ve gotten phone calls from people in Massachusetts, Maine and Virginia, expressing interest,” BLM Grand Junction spokesman Chris Joyner said.

BLM will maintain ownership and title to all the horses auctioned Saturday for up to a full year, buying time to ensure the horses are going to healthy homes and not to slaughter, Joyner said. Saturday’s auction was the first since 2007 involving horses gathered from the Little Book Cliffs area.

BLM organizes the efforts toward restoring ecological balance of resources, which in part means managing the numbers of burros and wild horses.

The recent gather effort, which started Sept. 3 and ended Wednesday, was also unique for its methods, organizers said.

BLM and the Friends of the Mustangs group for the first time locally used bait trapping methods — which involves using various feeds to lure horses inside makeshift pens — as opposed to flying helicopters to force them where they need to go.

“It takes longer,” Manus of bait and trapping methods. “But it’s cheaper and so much calmer for the horses.”

And her final bid of $210 for Thor turned out to be a winner.

“I was so nervous I wrote $2,110 on the bid sheet,” she said.


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