. . . COULDN'T DRAG ME AWAY; Wild Horses Seeking Good Homes Jacksonville Equestrian Center Offering a Chance to Make Dreams Come True

Article excerpt

Byline: JOE BLACK, The Times-Union

Libby Ryan has been begging her parents since she can remember for a horse of her own.

Black, brown, old, young -- it doesn't matter. The 10-year-old just wants to ride her own horse down trails. She's been riding her parents' animals for too long, she said.

On Saturday, her parents finally gave in and bought her a 3-year-old brown horse with strong haunches from Oregon.

"I can't wait to get started training," Libby said.

More than 50 horses were purchased Saturday at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center through a program sponsored by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

The adoption fair continues today at the Equestrian Center, situated off Normandy Road near Chaffee Road, from 8 a.m. until noon.

Fran Edwards, program specialist with the bureau, said horses are brought in from all over the Western states for adoption.

The bureau captures wild horses that are on federal rangeland. Very few of the horses put up for adoption have been trained, she said.

Horses are caught because without natural predators and protection, the animals could not survive in areas with scarce vegetation or water, Edwards said. If the horses aren't adopted after making several trips similar to the one this weekend in Jacksonville, they are released into a federal sanctuary.

Tammy Reed, 34, of Macclenny picked out four horses to run on her 80-acre lot. …