MADISON COUNTY, Idaho - For more than a month, Local News 8 has been reporting on the overpopulation problem of wild mustangs in the West. There are way too many horses on way too little range land. Now some Madison County 4-H members are stepping up to help.
They have adopted 12 young mustangs off the Nevada range land. They intend to gentle and socialize them over the summer months, and then put them up for bid at the county fair in August.
"I love mustangs because of how much energy they have," said Tristan Hansen. "They're fast, they're ready to go. They can climb mountains and still not be tired."
Hansen has just graduated from high school, so this will be his last 4-H project. He liked the challenge of training a young mustang.
"Our jobs are to train them to load in a trailer, pick up their feet, brush and be petted, be people loving and not be dangerous," he said.
Boise 4-H members have been a part of this program for several years. They boast a 100 percent adoption rate. Madison County 4-Hers want to meet that same goal. Each club member draws a number out of a can that fairly determines the picking order.
Bailey York is one of the youngest members. She was very happy with her choice.
"I like her because she has soft eyes," said Bailey. "The whites of her eyes aren't showing. (That shows) she's calm and comfortable with her surroundings."
Tristan drew last, which means he had last choice of mustangs. He didn't mind.
"They're all not bad. Some have a few bumps and bruises on them, but they all look pretty good so it won't bother me who I get," said Tristan.
Of course the real question is, will the 4-H members be able to part with their horse, after bonding over the summer months?
"We've had that conversation," says Heidi Hansen, Tristan's mother.
"It'll be his call. He'll have to make the decision. We'll be taking care of it for him while he's at college," she said with a smile.
Young Bailey says she knows what she'll do come county fair time.
"Just try to take her and sell her for some good money!" she exclaimed.