Wild horses, burros for sale at Douglas County Fairgrounds

LAWRENCE, Kan. – A special wild horse-focused auction is taking over the Douglas County Fairgrounds this weekend. The animals were brought in for sale under federal herd management.

But horses are not the only wild animals to adopt.

Burros, who you may know as a donkey, is part of the same sale organized by the US Bureau of Land Management. Most of the 120 animals were brought in from Nevada public lands with prices starting at $125.

During Friday’s event, the focus is on horses, especially those with unique colors.

But some people focus more on blue and red hues that most laymen would simply describe as jenny gray.

“Well over there in pen no. 2 there are a few,” said Colleen Williams of Derby, Kansas, of the animals she observes. “So the ones over there that let you stroke their ears and stuff are the ones that caught my eye.”

Williams is a returning customer at the event. She currently owns six horses, including a wild one she previously purchased at sale.

“In all honesty, I learned a lot from my granddaughter because if it wasn’t for her sweetening those horses, I probably wouldn’t know this much,” Williams said.

“Right now she’s training another mustang colt,” she said.

“She managed to get closer to him. And then she got to give him kisses,” she said of the horse named George.

“Now if you’re building a fence, he’ll pull the tools out of your back pocket. We have what we call George’s Corner. If there’s something missing at home, you go to George’s corner, and it’ll be there,” Williams said.

Crystal Cowan, wild horse and donkey specialist with the Bureau of Land Management, said donkeys — like horses — need federal management.

“These animals roam our public lands in the western 10 states, and we just don’t have enough forage or water to feed them,” Cowan said.

“We have four burros enclosures here. We have a good selection of burros. Many people use burros to protect herds of cattle, sheep or goats,” she said.

“We do a few things to control the numbers every year because they’ll have a baby every year and double in number every four years and triple in number every six years,” Cowan said.

Prior to adoption, buyers must go through a brief application process to ensure they are qualified to bring an animal home and have enough room.

The sale continues from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Douglas County Fairgrounds.

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