An older horse often returns unadopted to a government holding pen, where taxpayers will have to feed the animal for the rest of its life.
"We’re hoping to change that trend, starting right here,” says Paul McGuire of the Bureau of Land Management’s Oklahoma Field Office.
"Kellyville is going to be the testing grounds.”
For the first time, the government will offer a $500 stipend to anyone who adopts a horse that’s more than 4 years old. The money will be paid a year from now, to offset the cost of caring for the animal for the first 12 months.
"It’s a short-term expense for the taxpayer, but a long-term gain,” McGuire says.
"For a $500 investment, you can save $10,000 over the lifetime of the horse. That’s an investment any financial adviser would tell you to take.”
With clumpy, matted hair and tangled manes, most of these horses come straight from the wild. And even the ones that have been born in captivity have never been groomed.
"If you’re looking for the next champion jumper, or if you want a show horse, you won’t find one here,” says Chad Kelly, a Missouri trainer specializing in taming wild Mustangs.
But when they’re cleaned up and trained properly, they make excellent trail horses, Kelly says.
"These are blue-collar horses for blue-collar people. They’re strong. They’re smart. And they’re all-American.”