Last week, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) proposed a controversial plan to deal with a backlog of wild horses.
They want to give $1,000 to anyone willing to adopt a horse on public lands or in government corrals, but one wild-horse trainer in Skagit Valley thinks it's a horrible idea.
Michelle Miner has been training wild horses for decades. She says her latest, Little Black Shadow, was likely rounded up near Yakima.
"I spend four hours a day with him every day and if you don't they go right back to being wild," Miner said.
That's the kind of investment people should expect if they adopt a wild horse, she says. It's why she is so critical of the federal government's idea to pay anyone a thousand bucks to take one.
Even if they have no clue how to handle one.
"You have no business taking one of these in, no business at all," Miner said. "Because just to have them walk in a barn is a big deal. You can't shut the door."
BLM calls wild horses a billion dollar problem. They expect their numbers to grow to 100,000 by 2019. In addition to adoption, they're asking to sterilize, euthanize and even sell the horses for slaughter.
Last year, the agency spent more than half of its budget on wild horses rounded up and placed in government holding facilities, where caretakers say the health of the horses is compromised.
"They don't understand hot wire, barbed wire - they just want to get away, by any means possible.They jump over. The dig under," Miner said.
Miner believes the federal government has mismanaged herds of wild horses for years, and the latest solution will make it worse.
The head of one of the nation's largest horse protection groups immediately condemned the package of alternatives as "a roadmap for the destruction of America's wild free-roaming horses and burros."
"BLM, the agency whose terrible mismanagement of this program has brought us to this place, is now proposing more bad ideas, including mass roundup and slaughter to cover for their incompetence," said Suzanne Roy, executive director of the American Wild Horse Campaign.
BLM claims it needs to protect rangeland for wildlife, including endangered species.
For Miner, though, the plan endangers the horses and the people who might think they're making money adopting one.
"They don't react like a domestic horse. They are a wild animal. They will always be a wild animal," Miner said.
Miner is hoping to find an advanced horse owner to adopt "Black", who she is offering for free to a good home. If interested, email Alison Morrow at firstname.lastname@example.org.