The wild horses up on the Virginia Range are taking it easy this afternoon.
Just above DaMonte Ranch High School, wild horse advocates say their ranks are 30 horses lighter than a year ago.
“They run the risk of being hit by vehicles or picked up by the Department of Agriculture, either way they are gone,” says Shannon Windle, president of the Hidden Valley Wild Horse Protection Fund.
Horses may still continue to wander into neighborhoods.
The Department of Agriculture, if it sees a safety hazard, will pick them up.
But what happens next has wild horse advocates and the department elated.
“We end up contacting the organization we have the agreement letting them know we have horses. We will exchange horses for 100-dollars per horse with them. At that point they will contact whoever they are going to work with. Whether they work with cooperatives in this area-- or out of this area as well--and place the horse at that time,” says Ed Foster with the Department of Agriculture.
Under the agreement, the horses will not be allowed to be set free on the range again, but wild horse advocates say they can offer another alternative.
“They will be in a good quality home to be 30 years old or more. They could be trained to be ridden that's all the better. The young ones stand the best chance and we realize some of the older horses they may stay with us forever, and we are more than happy to take care of them and provide them with a quality of life that will ensure safety and health,” says Windle.
The contract, signed on March 12 will be renewed on a yearly basis, provided both parties want to continue with the agreement.