Saddle-Trained Wild Horse & Burro Inmate Training Program

Wild horses in action with their trainees.

Adopt a Living Legend!

Make plans to attend the next

Saddle-Trained Horse Competitive-bid Auction
at the
Northern Nevada Correctional Center
in Carson City, NV

Scheduled for
Saturday, June 11, 2016






Saddle Horse Adoption Catalogs
Auction Results

February 2016 Adoption Catalog
February 20, 2016 Auction Results

June 2016 Adoption Catalog 
June 11, 2016 Catalog









February 2015 Adoption Catalog

May 2015 Adoption Catalog

August 2015 Adoption Catalog

October 2015 Adoption Catalog


February 21, 2015 Auction Results

May 30, 2015 Auction Results

August 1, 2015 Auction Results

October 17, 2015 Auction Results

Picture of an inmate on a horse overlooking a crowded stadium.

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.

Collage of Adoption Photos

Each wild horse or burro receives 120 days of training, but they are still “green-broke.” They will need daily training and handling by an experienced rider when they arrive at their new home.

There is plenty of time to preview the wild horses and burros and talk to their trainers before each adoption starts. 

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

Getting Here

Northern Nevada Correctional Center
Stewart Conservation Camp
1721 Snyder Ave.
Carson City, NV 89701

From the south (Gardnerville): From South Carson Street/Highway 395
Right turn E. Clear view Dr.
Right turn S. Edmonds Dr.
Right turn Synder Ave.
Left turn at horse adoption sign (very soon after turning onto Synder) 

From the north (Reno):  
From I-580/HWY 395
Left turn Fairview exit (highway ends here)
Right turn S. Edmonds, (across from the National Guard, sharp right turn where Fairview makes a sweeping left turn.
Right turn Synder Ave.
Left turn at horse adoption sign (very soon after turning onto Synder)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can we preview the horses available for adoption before the adoption date?
Since this a prison facility horses cannot be viewed until the morning of the adoption.

When and where will information about upcoming adoptions be posted?
Interested adopters can find a catalog posted on the BLM Nevada web site ( ) about one month 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 in February, May and October. An adoption is also generally held in conjunction with the Western States Wild Horse and Burro Expo currently held at the Douglas County Fairgrounds in Gardnerville (Pinenut Rd 2, Gardnerville, NV 89410), Nevada each August.
Catalogs with photographs of the animals and their descriptions are posted on BLM Nevada’s web site about one month prior to the scheduled adoption. Log onto
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 wild horse is $150, and the bids have gone as high as $8,200. However, the average price is about $800 to $1,000 per animal. 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.
You must also provide shelter from inclement weather and temperature extremes for your adopted wild horse. The shelter must have, at a minimum, two sides with a roof, good drainage, adequate ventilation, and access for the animal. Tarps are not acceptable.
Do I have to pick up the horse I adopt the day of the adoption?
We prefer 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?
No refunds, credits or exchanges will be approved.

For more information on this policy, or about adopting a prison-trained horse, contact:
• John Axtell, BLM-Carson City District Office, (775) 885-6146
• Hank Curry or Justin Pope, Nevada State Prison Department, (775) 887- 9331

What happens to the funds that are collected during the adoption event?  
The funds collected from Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Events goes into a WH&B program account that funds the transportation of these wild horses and burros to the adoption events and to BLM's holding facilities across the United States.

About the Northern Nevada Correctional Center program:
The gentling/saddle training program in Carson City began in October 2000. It is a cooperative effort shared by Silver State Industries (the Nevada Department of Corrections industries program) and the Nevada Department of Agriculture. Originally the program trained only estrays, but through an agreement, inmates now also train BLM wild horses. Two date over 800 wild and estray horses have been saddle trained at the correctional center.

What kind of training methods are used at the prison?
Least-resistance training (what comes naturally to the horse).
How many horses does the Northern Nevada Correctional Center train a year?
The Correctional Center trains about 70 animals per year and have trained over 800 since 2000. 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? 
You should call your local BLM Office and request an adoption application or you can print an application from the internet. To download a BLM adoption application (Form 4710-10) for a wild horse or burro, please go to:

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.

Contact Information

John Axtell
BLM Carson City District Office
5665 Morgan Mill Road, Carson City, NV 89701
(775) 885-6146 |  

Hank Curry or Justin Pope
NDOC-Silver State Industries
P.O. Box 7000, Carson City, NV 89701
(775) 887-9331 

BLM National Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Program
(866) 468-7826 |

Adoption Requirements at a Glance

  • Must be 18 years old. Parents or guardians may adopt and allow a younger family member to care for the animal.
  • Have no prior conviction for inhumane treatment of animals or for violating the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act.
  • Have adequate feed, water and facilities (at least 400 square feet for each animal) to provide humane care for the number of animals requested. 
  • Provide a home for the animal in the United States until you receive Certificate of Title from the BLM.

When I take adopted horse home, what should I expect?

Here is some “sage” advice from Hank Curry, Trainer.
These horses are green-broke. They are for the most part gentle. But they may overreact to new objects and appear spooky until they decide it will not harm them. (A spooky object could be anything they haven’t seen before. It may not be scary to you, but could be very scary to them. For example, they have seen a wheel barrow, but not a bicycle. They have seen men on foot but not a man carrying a backpack. They have little contact with women and are sensitive to perfumes or hairspray. Their sense of smell is sensitive and so is their hearing).

If you haven’t ridden your horse for about a week, double check yourself, your horse and your equipment before you go for a ride. The following steps are important:

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!