freeze brand cowgirl magazine
Photo by: Jen Fuller……

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When a wild horse is rounded up by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), they are given a freeze brand on their neck. This marking indicates that the horse is federally owned. Each one is unique and has identifying information like birth date and capture location. If you work with mustangs, then you should learn how to read one!

Photo by: Adopt A Mustang

Most mustang owners will have to shave the horse’s neck in order to read the symbols. Once you’re able to clearly see them, write each one down. The alpha-angle system is the BLM key code. It allows you to pair the symbol with a number.

After you’ve successfully connected the symbol with a number, you can figure out the horse’s birth date and capture location. The numbers can be entered into the BLM Wild Horse and Burro’s website.

The “U” always represents that the horse is federally owned. The first two numbers are the horses birth year. In the example, “16” represents 2016. The last six digits represent the state and herd management area that the mustang came from. In the holding pens, the horse will wear a neck tag with the last four numbers.

You learn something new everyday! Now, it’s time to put it to use. Do you have a mustang or a friend that has one?