U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
Saddle-Trained Wild Horse & Burro Inmate Training Program
The Northern Nevada Correctional Center/Stewart Conservation Camp Saddle Horse and Burro Training Program is a cooperative partnership between the Bureau of Land Management and the Nevada Department of Corrections-Silver State Industries. Through this training program, wild horses and burros are gentled and trained before being adopted. About 60 wild horses and burros are trained and adopted at the facility each year.
The program holds quarterly adoptions each year and all wild horses and burros are offered through a competitive-bid adoption conducted by an auctioneer. Each wild horse or burro is only offered for adoption once during each event. This is an adoption, not a sale. The adopter must take proper care of the wild horse or burro for one year and at that time can apply for title. Once the title is issued the wild horse or burro will then belong to the adopter.
To be qualified to bid, each potential adopter must fill out an adoption application prior to bidding. You must complete all the required fields and bring it with you on the day of the adoption, or you can fill out the adoption application the morning of the event. Once your adoption application has been reviewed and approved by a BLM staff person, you will be issued a bidder card and be eligible to bid.
Adoption Application is available at http://on.doi.gov/17Ro1Bi.
Northern Nevada Correctional Center
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can we preview the horses available for adoption before the adoption date?
When and where will information about upcoming adoptions be posted?
Interested adopters can find a catalog posted on the BLM Nevada web site (www.blm.gov/nv) about 2-4 weeks prior to the adoption event. The catalog includes a description and photograph of each animal.
When are adoptions held?
Adoptions are held three times a year at the facility generally in February, May and October.
Catalogs with photographs of the animals and their descriptions are posted on BLM Nevada’s web site about 2-4 weeks prior to the scheduled adoption. Log onto www.blm.gov/nv
What can I wear and bring to the adoption?
Since this is a prison facility and the inmates wear blue denim, blue denim is not allowed so that the security guards can readily distinguish between the inmates and the public also tank tops and shorts are not allowed. Also, cell phones and cameras are prohibited, because of security and privacy concerns.
Can I bring my children to adoption events at the Correctional Center?
Yes. However, children may not wear blue clothing either. Additionally, parents are responsible for assuring their children remain with them at all times.
Do I have to be present to adopt a wild horse? Can I send my friend?
You must be present to adopt a wild horse. You cannot send a family member or a friend. The person signing the Private Maintenance and Care Agreement will be the legal adopter and the only person that can apply for title after a year of proper care.
What is the average sale price of horses trained by prison inmates?
Prices vary widely. The starting bid for any saddle-trained wild horse is $150, halter-trained starts at $125. The average price ranges from $800 to $1,000 per animal however, the bids have gone as high as $15,000. It really depends on how many people are interested in one particular animal.
How much training do the horses actually have?
These horses are “green-broke” which means they have received up to 120+ days of training by the inmates. These horses will continue to need daily training to reinforce the basics they have learned. Most horses will initially need an experienced rider.
What are the facility requirements?
The minimum size corral is 20’ x 20’ which is also the recommended size until the adopted horse becomes easy to catch. Even though these horses are green broke, they may still startle easily and attempt to jump over the corral, therefore a corral height of a minimum of 5’ is required and of heavy duty construction using poles, pipes, or planks with at least 1 ½ inch thickness and without dangerous protrusions. Barbed wire, large-mesh-woven, stranded, and electric materials are unacceptable for fencing.
Some form of shelter must be available, within the corral area, to mitigate the effects of inclement weather and temperature extremes for your adopted wild horse. Examples of acceptable shelter may be of natural cover (tree, etc.) or man-made structure.
Do I have to pick up the horse I adopt the day of the adoption?
The BLM prefers that you take the horse home the day of the adoption, but special arrangements can be made with the prison to pick up the animal in a couple of days.
Can I get a refund or exchange my adopted horse for another in the future?
BLM will issue the original adopter an adoption fee voucher with the following stipulations:
For more information on this policy, or about adopting a prison-trained horse, contact:
• John Axtell, BLM-Carson City District Office, (775) 885-6146
About the Northern Nevada Correctional Center program:
What kind of training methods are used at the prison?
How many horses does the Northern Nevada Correctional Center train a year?
Three to four adoptions are held each year and all horses and burros are offered through a competitive-bid adoption process, conducted by an auctioneer. Through these adoptions, 60 - 80 wild horses and burros are trained and adopted each year; from its beginning to February 2016 over 1,000 horses have found new homes. More animals are not trained due to the size of the facility and the expense involved in training a wild horse.
What is the average size of a wild horse?
Wild horses are generally 14.2 hands, however, larger horses are generally selected for training. Most of the saddle trained horses are between 14.2 and 15.2 hands with some as tall as 16 hands. Common colors of wild horses are sorrels, bays, and browns. Occasionally, we have grays, duns, roans, and paints.
How many people show up to adopt at each event?
The number of interested adopters has continually grown since the Correction Center started training wild horses. Each event generally averages between 15 and 30 qualified adopters and over 200 people in the audience.
How do I pre-qualify to bid on a horse?
You can pre-qualify in two ways: (1) print a copy of BLM’s adoption application, fill it out completely, and bring a copy of your completed application with you the day of the adoption; (2) fill out an adoption application the day of the adoption. Once your application has been reviewed and approved, you will be issued a bidder card and will be eligible to bid.
Where can I obtain an adoption application?
Does BLM accept personal checks? What other types of payment are accepted?
The BLM accepts personal checks, money orders, American Express, Discover, VISA, MasterCard, travelers’ checks, and cash as payment for adoption fees.
What are the BLM’s trailer requirements for hauling my horse home?
We recommend stock type trailers, three horse slant load trailers are acceptable. Other types of trailers will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. If you would like to use a trailer other than a stock type or three horse slant load please contact us for provisional approval. For additional information refer to the following:
BLM requires trailers that meet the following minimum requirements:
• Covered top, sturdy walls and floors, and a smooth interior, free from any sharp protrusions.
• Removable partitions or compartments to separate animals by size and sex, if necessary.
• Trucks with stock racks are not acceptable.
• Ample head room.
• Floor covered with a non-skid material.
• Adequate ventilation.
BLM personnel will inspect the safety of each trailer and reserve the right to refuse loading if the trailer is unacceptable.
Adoption Requirements at a Glance
When I take adopted horse home, what should I expect?
Here is some “sage” advice from Hank Curry, Trainer.
1. Catch your horse. When you want to catch your horse, indicate to the animal that you want to catch him. Don’t hide the halter or try to sneak around. Take your time, petting establishes confidence, and the horse should willingly accept the halter.
2. Basic ground work and drills. With the halter on your horse, ask him to lead, back up, yield his shoulders, and yield his hip. Repeat these drills until the horse is respectful and responsive. The horse will usually drop his head, blink, chew or possibly all three. At this point, you are taking command. Be sure to pet the horse when he gives a good response.
3. Lunging. Lunging your horse is a good exercise and a means of showing the horse you have control. Put him through his gaits: walk, trot, canter and stop, back up. Reverse directions. When the horse gets to be responsive, he is starting the warming-up process. Now would be a good time to groom him and saddle-up.
4. Warm Up. Lunge the horse both ways, stop, back up. Reverse directions and repeat stop, back up. Now put a snaffle bit on your horse and repeat these lunging exercises. Now tighten the cinch on your saddle and repeat. If the horse responds well to “whoa”, reverses and backs easily, he is probably ready to ride.
5. Warm Up Area. Use a good solid corral. If a round pen is not available, you may use a square pen but a somewhat restricted area will help you control the horse. When the horse is respectful and responds well… Enjoy Your Ride!