It was the kindness in his eyes that convinced her.

"That was the horse for me," said Debbie Heidenheim, who has adopted many wild mustangs through the Bureau of Land Management.

The bureau will hold a wild-horse and burro adoption this weekend in Tombstone.

The bidding, with a $125 minimum for each animal, starts at 9 a.m. today.

"The land can only sustain a certain number of animals," said Kristen Lenhardt, a BLM spokeswoman. "So, based on that science, we determine how many animals need to be removed for the area to be healthy."

The bureau removes animals and keeps them in long-term pastures where they await adoptions several times a year.

"We just want to make sure that these herds are taken care of, that they're healthy," Lenhardt said. "It's the BLM's top priority to find good homes for the horses."

In Arizona, there are about 250 wild horses and 2,500 wild burros, according to Roger Oyler of the bureau's wild-horse and burro program. He said this is the only avenue the BLM has to keep from "warehousing" horses.

"We've adopted them out to people that have never had a horse in their life but have always wanted to get one," Oyler said. "Once they start working with the horse, the horse will bond with them and they'll be buddies for the rest of the horse's life."

Adopters must meet certain qualifications, including approved living facilities for the animals.

If you go

• What: Wild-horse and burro adoption.

• Where: In Tombstone, on the corner of Fremont and Sumner streets.

• When: Today and Sunday.

• More information: www. blm.gov or 1-866-468-7826.