MURRAY — Even if people are not horse fans, they might want to get to the Cherry Expo Center on the Murray State University campus today or Sunday.
That’s because they could get to something that might not happen again for a while – an actual public event. The coronavirus scare that has gripped the entire world in recent days has not stopped the Wild Mustang and Burro Adoption that is being hosted by the United States Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management. Barring any unforeseen decisions from that department, this event will reach its conclusion on Sunday.
“We have had those discussions,” said Gant Massey, the assistant district manager of renewable resources for the BLM, which has landed this weekend in an area of the world nearly devoid of any activity involving a high number of visitors. That includes Murray State and the community’s public school systems opting to suspend in-class instruction until April, starting Monday.
“We’re very sensitive to what’s going on in the country and we have talked about it, and we are very aware (of other events being canceled). However, this is an ongoing federal government business that we’re doing and our goal is to get these animals taken care of.
“Now, if things change, if we get directions to do something different, we’ll adjust.”
The event is scheduled to open to both prospective adoptive owners, as well as onlookers, at 8 a.m. both today and Sunday, continuing through 5 p.m. Admission is free and this is an activity that may be as educational as it is for displaying nature’s beauty. These animals are exactly how they are advertised, and that is “wild,” having been taken off a range that starts in New Mexico, stretches to California and Washington state to the west, then to the Dakotas at its farthest east area. The heart of the range is Colorado, Utah and Nevada.
“That’s why we’ve got signs displayed saying don’t climb or don’t fall in for a reason,” Massey said, chuckling. “They will bite. They will kick, but when you get in a good relationship where you’ve got a good trainer and a good horse, that trust is what comes from the relation between humans and horses, and it’s been that way for thousands of years.
“And you know what? These are wonderful animals. These animals can be used in just about any situation in which anyone has ever domesticated a horse, with the exception of thoroughbred horse racing. They can be used as cutting horses, quarter horses (racing), but we have seen wild mustangs that have been gentled and it’s a good relationship.”
Massey also said that the Murray date is highly anticipated for the BLM because it is located in a place known as a horse haven, the commonwealth of Kentucky.
“It’s wonderful here and, traditionally, we do very well here,” he said, noting that, of 50 animals that were brought to Murray Friday, 15 already had been claimed and would be obtained by Sunday. “There is a lot of interest here. This is horse country.”