BLM Installing Sprinklers to Keep Horses Cool

Courtesy: BLM
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RENO, Nev. -- Bureau of Land Management (BLM) officials say they are installing water sprinklers at the wild horse enclosures in Palomino Valley in an effort to protect the horses from record-breaking heat.

On Friday, June 28th, the official temperature in Reno hit 103, breaking the previous record by three degrees. Record-breaking temperatures are expected to continue throughout the weekend and a Heat Advisory is in effect from 1pm Sunday to 10pm Tuesday.

The BLM says crews are installing the sprinklers in three of the large, outside pens and five mare/foal pens. The sprinklers are meant to reduce the heat levels inside the corrals. In addition, BLM staff will closely watch the horses react to the sprinklers to make sure they remain healthy.

In a press release, officials say shade shelters have been considered and the current policy is based on a number of things, including:

"- Wild horses and burros are accustomed to open environments and when their nutritional demands are met, they do well against the natural elements, including sun, rain, snow, and hot and cold temperatures. At Palomino Valley, the animals are fed hay each day; mineral blocks are available in each pen; and a continuous supply of water is available via automatic waterers.

- Open corrals with plenty of sunlight have proven to be the best way to minimize disease-causing organisms. The BLM's open corrals enable the drying effects of the sun and wind to take effect. The corrals are sloped to minimize the pooling of precipitation in the pens and to allow it to channel to the exterior of the facility.

- Due to the temperament of the animals, the social hierarchy between the animals, and their unfamiliarity with shelters, the BLM feels that corrals without shelters are the safest approach. Shelters could create a potential obstacle for animals running and playing in the corrals, and cause significant injuries. The BLM has wind breaks and/or shelters for sick animals. The “sick pens” do not have the same safety issues because the animals are in a smaller area with limited pressure from other animals."