Red Rock Canyon NCA
Range Cattle, Elko NV Railroad Valley Oil Well, Battle Mountain NV Bear Poppy Flower, Las Vegas NV Desert Tortoise, Las Vegas NV Wild Horses, Battle Mountain NV
BLM>Nevada>BLM Programs>Wild Horses & Burros Program
Print Page

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, October 15, 2016






Saddle Horse Adoption Catalogs
Auction Results

February 2016 Adoption Catalog
February 20, 2016 Auction Results

June 2016 Adoption Catalog 
June 11, 2016 Auction Results

October 2016 Adoption Catalog
October 15, 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 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
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? 
In spite of efforts to provide adopters with healthy animals, situations arise where unrecognized lameness or health problems surface following adoption. Upon request, an adopter may receive a credit for the amount of the original adoption toward the adoption fee for a replacement animal if the following conditions apply:

  1. Within six months of the original adoption, the adopter provides a signed statement from a veterinarian that the animal died, had to be euthanized, or was diagnosed with an incurable illness or lameness attributable to a condition that already existed at the time of adoption.
  2. The death, development of the illness, or lameness of the animal must not have been preventable by proper care from the adopter.
  3. The request for replacement, with the substantiating veterinarian's statement, is received by the BLM no later than 30 days after the animal's death or diagnosis.
  4. Adopters shall return live animals to the BLM; should the animal have been euthanized or succumbed, the adopter is responsible for the disposal of the carcass.

BLM will issue the original adopter an adoption fee voucher with the following stipulations:

  1. The voucher will be the same amount paid at the time of the original adoption.
  2. Valid for 1-year from the date issued.
  3. Redeemable toward the fee to adopt another animal at an upcoming satellite adoption event, Internet adoption, or during a regularly scheduled Northern Nevada Correctional Center adoption.
  4. The voucher cannot be used at an event sponsored by the Mustang Heritage Foundation (MHF).
  5. The voucher is only good for one animal.
  6. If the fee for the replacement animal is more than the original adoption fee, the adopter will be required to pay the balance. If the fee for the replacement animal is less than the original adoption voucher amount, the remaining balance will be forfeited.
  7. No other refunds 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 (WH&B) 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 as a cooperative effort between the Nevada Department of Corrections – Silver State Industries and the Nevada Department of Agriculture to train Nevada estray horses. BLM joined the partnership in 2004; through an agreement signed in 2007, the inmates now train only BLM wild horses and burros.

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?
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? 
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!