The large "U" symbol at the right of the regular brand (sometimes it overlays the regular brand) distinguishes Sale Authority from Adoption horses.

A group of Sale Authority mustangs waiting for shipment to a buyer

In late 2004, during the Thanksgiving recess, Senator Conrad Burns (R-MT) sneakily added a "Wild Horse Sale Authority" rider to the House's Omnibus Spending Act - a 200-page document designed to implement budgetary matters. This rider, undetected by nearly everyone until it was too late, effectively reversed nearly 35 years of Federal protection for America's free-roaming wild horses and burros. Horses aged 10 and over, as well as those - even babies - who failed to be successfully adopted after three times being offered ("3 Strikes You're Out"), become Sale Authority horses - to be sold "without limitation" by the BLM. This law has undergone a few positive revisions - the buyer must give written, binding assurance that he or she will not knowingly sell the horse(s) to slaughter.

When the infamous Burns Rider first came into law in 2005, some mustangs were sold to dishonest people who said they were getting the horses for a youth program, for Native Americans, etc., and instead sent them directly to slaughter.

Some were saved by the efforts of the Ford Foundation's "Save The Mustangs" program, as well as the efforts of other individuals. Public outcry brought about modifications in the law - it is still the law that the horses have to be "for sale without limitation" (no adoption-type safeguards) but it is more difficult to send them to slaughter.

In its defense, the Sale program does allow would-be adopters of good will the opportunity to bypass the year-long adoption process, and often to pick up a nice horse at a bargain price.

The Mustang Heritage Foundation conducts an annual contest, called "Mustang Magic" which is similar to their popular Extreme Mustang Makeover contests, only using Sale Authority horses Many trainers, veterans of both contests, have discovered the merits of being about to transfer full title directly to the adopter/buyers of the contest horses. 

As BLM struggles to cope with the huge build-up of horses they are caring for in holding facilities, Sale Authority is being looked at as a possible partial solution. No longer is it just plain-colored older horses. Youngsters as young as one year old are now finding themselves Sale Authority-eligible The bi-monthly Internet Adoptions now usually feature a Sale Authority section.

Here's an early Sale Authority story:

My name is Shelby Bedard, I live in Madison Florida. Kheiron is an 11 yr old gelding from the Sand Spring West HMA. NV0630 In Ely, Nevada.

I recently bought him as a Sale horse. He was captured from The Sand Springs West HMA in Ely NV in Jan of 2006 but because he was over the age of 10 when captured (he's 11) I was able to purchase him.  I was real leery of taking him on due to his age, and the fact that he was a wild stallion for 11 years, (gelded right before i got him) but i could see something in his eyes, he has a very gentle spirit, and decided that i was up to the challenge.


 His name is Kheiron, and he is one of the sweetest horses i have ever met, I have only had him home for 4 months now, and he has been easier to gentle than the 8 yr old Sheldon mare i adopted a couple of years ago.  He is a lover, not a fighter, and gets along with anyone, 2 footed or 4 footed.
If there is anyway to make him a poster child for the older sale horses, or anyway you can direct me to a place to let people know that an 11 yr old wild horse can be as sweet as a 2 yr old, i would love to brag about him.  I cant believe that a horse like this could have ended up at the slaughter house, just because of his age.