Inmate-trained wild horses head out to Montana for trail work

Three saddle-trained wild horses from the inmate wild horse-training program at Northern Nevada Correctional Center in Carson City, Nev., were selected by the U.S. Forest Service Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest to work as pack string horses for their trail crews. The three wild horses will join other horses and mules to form pack strings on the Rocky Mountain Ranger District and be used to transport people and supplies into backcountry areas to maintain trails. The District has 1,100 miles of trail, some of which are in wilderness areas where people are not allowed to use motorized vehicles. The horses will work the same schedule as the trail crewmembers – ten days on, four days off, ten hours a day – to accomplish the mission. Throughout the winter, they may be used for snow surveys and various other projects on the District. For the Rocky Mountain Ranger District, this is a brand-new avenue for acquiring horses for their trails program. “These horses have a great foundation and fit the bill for what we are looking for – mountain horses that will travel with our trail crews to maintain trails,” said Ian Bardwell, Program Lead for the Rocky Mountain District’s Trails Program. The horses will travel to Montana and start their training on the trails next month. The Bureau of Land Management and Nevada Department of Corrections – Silver State Industries have been working together for over 12 years to saddle-train wild horses and burros to make them more adoptable. Recently, State and Federal agencies such as California Department of Fish and Game and the U.S. Border Patrol have shown interest in utilizing wild horses to accomplish their agency’s missions. It is the hope of the Nevada BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program Lead Alan Shepherd, that other State and Federal agencies will see the potential in these saddle-trained wild horses and be able to incorporate them into their programs. For more information about how to adopt your own wild horse or burro visit BLM Nevada’s Wild Horse and Burro Program webpage at http://on.doi.gov/1DP3LhB. If you work for a State or Federal agency that has a use for saddle-trained wild horses, contact Alan Shepherd at (775) 861-6469 or ashepher@blm.gov.

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