ENNIS, Mont. – About 500 wild horses have arrived so far at the Spanish Q Ranch in Western Montana as Bureau of Land Management officials work to reassure neighboring landowners about the long-term holding facility.
The horses, all geldings, began arriving Feb. 27, the Montana Standard reported.
Officials say about 700 horses will eventually be held at the 15,456-acre ranch, with the remaining 200 arriving by Friday.
“I was very surprised at how quickly they came,” said Stephen Wood, whose ranch borders the Spanish Q and who, with other neighbors, attempted to block the arrival of the wild horses.
The Spanish Q near Ennis has a 10-year contract with the BLM to house the horses at a cost of $1.36 per animal per day, much less than the average $5.50 cost at short-term facilities in Wyoming, Colorado, Nevada, Utah and Oklahoma.
The ranch will hold horses that have been captured to control population levels on public land and have not been adopted.
Neighboring ranchers appealed the move to the Interior Board of Land Appeals in December, but because the IBLA did not act within 45 days of the request to stop the transfer, the BLM said it had the right to go ahead and move the horses.
Wood said his main concern is fencing between his property, the Spanish Q and BLM property.
The BLM property forms a checkerboard pattern in the area.