KELLYVILLE — She printed off a picture from the Internet and kept it folded in the front pocket of her blue jeans all the way from Elkins, Ark. As Vickie Kyle watched Thursday, an 18-wheeler unloaded a whole truckload of horses into the dusty arena. But the picture stayed in her pocket.
Then a second 18-wheeler doubled the number of horses at the Creek County Fairgrounds, 30 minutes west of Tulsa on old Route 66. Still, the picture didn’t come out. Finally, a pickup with a trailer added six more horses to the group. And Kyle unfolded the photo. "That’s it,” she pointed at a small, light-colored yearling as it bounded through the chute. Then she pointed at the picture, printed from a government Web site that promotes horse adoptions. "That’s the one I’m going to take home.” Federal officials will offer more than 80 wild Mustangs for adoption this weekend, along with half a dozen jack burrows — all rounded up from government-owned land in the western United States. Officials thin out the herds on public lands to prevent overpopulation and starvation. Enticed by the chance to leave with a horse for as little as $125, people come from hundreds of miles away when the Bureau of Land Management sponsors an adoption. Gates will open at 8 a.m. today, with adoptions starting at 10 a.m. and continuing Saturday at 8 a.m. "They bite. They kick. They buck,” says Kyle, who has adopted four Mustangs at previous events. "They’re wild animals, and they act like it.” That’s why the younger horses — including the one Kyle picked out online and came specifically to find — always prove most popular. They’re relatively easy to tame.