Seven horses and 10 wild burros were brought to Sundance Ranch in San Timoteo Canyon from the BLM base of operations in Ridgecrest, where more than 1300 wild horses and burros roam.
The owners of Sundance Ranch contracted with the BLM so the agency can board wild horses and burros there without having to cart them back and forth from the Ridgecrest base.
"It gives the people who may be unsure about adopting the chance to come back during the week and say, `You know, I think I can do this,' " said Art DiGrazia, wild horse and burro operations specialist for the BLM.
Annaliese Parra, 8, wore her cowboy hat and boots to the ranch Saturday, hoping to take home a chocolate brown horse.
"I already have a horse - a half quarter, half thoroughbred," Parra said. "I don't get to ride too much because I have school."
People wishing to adopt horses or burros were required to pay a $125 adoption fee before filling out an application.
The animals are vaccinated and have had their blood tested to make sure they are healthy, DiGrazia said.
Adoption hopefuls had to provide their own horse trailers and lodging - adhering to BLM standards - for the animals.
When adopting families have an approved application, the BLM will release the animal to the family on a one-year trial basis.
"You're a caretaker for one year," DiGrazia said. "During that one year, we come out and check on the animal and make sure everything's going ok."
When the trial period is over, the adopting families can achieve full ownership of their animal.
Leo Borja, of Highgrove, filled out adoption paperwork for a horse Saturday.
"It's a good program to be able to inherit a horse like this," Borja said. "You can't beat it."
At BLM horse adoptions in the past, the agency has parted with as many as 10 animals in a day, DiGrazia said. But by 2:30 p.m., there were only two people interested in adopting and DiGrazia said he suspected he knew why.
"The economy affects everything," he said. "When you have to choose between buying Cheerios for the kids and food for the horses, what do you think is going to win?"
The BLM will hold monthly adoptions at the Ranch, DiGrazia said.
"The next adoption will be Dec. 12.," he said. "It will be all burros and Santa Claus will be here."
Sundance Ranch is at 27273 Pilgrm Road.