First virtual R3C adoption finds good homes for wild horses

All eight wild horses were trained by inmates through a partnership between Bureau of Land Management and the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office


Bureau of Land Management

BLM Office:

Eagle Lake Field Office

Media Contact:

Jason Lutterman
A white and brown horse in profile. Photo by the BLM.

ELK GROVE, Calif. – All available saddle-trained wild horses were adopted at the first virtual event hosted by the Bureau of Land Management and the Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center (R3C) in Elk Grove. The event was held via Zoom on November 19.

“We are pleased that the virtual event, a first for the Bureau of Land Management in California, was a complete success and that each wild horse found a good home with a new family,” said Karen Mouritsen, state director for BLM California. “This success is a reflection of the quality of horses and the training they received from our partners at the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office.”

The wild horses available for adoption were gathered from overpopulated herds on public lands managed by the BLM. Through a partnership with the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office, the wild horses were trained by inmates at R3C and offered for adoption to qualified individuals via competitive bid through a virtual Zoom event. Each wild horse placed into a private home saves taxpayers approximately $25,000 in lifetime costs to care for the animal.

Adopted wild horses can be trained to excel at a variety of tasks and uses, from ranch work to trail riding and show competitions. Danielle Johnstone of Valley Springs, CA, one of the successful adopters at the virtual event, can’t wait to hit the trails with her saddle-trained horse. Johnstone and her husband placed the winning bid for a four-year-old red roan gelding, who R3C named Colorado. He will join two other wild horses Johnstone previously adopted from the R3C program.

“I really appreciate the honesty and integrity shown by the trainers at the R3C program. Above all, they’re truthful when describing their horses to potential adopters, and the follow-up support we receive is very helpful,” said Johnstone. “I’m really excited to get started with the newest member of our family.”

Thirty qualified bidders participated in the virtual event, including five returning adopters, and more than 20 observers were in attendance. The winning bids for all eight wild horses adopted during the virtual event totaled $14,775, with bids ranging between $700 and $3,250. The top bid went to a 7-year-old buckskin gelding gathered from the Nevada Wild Horse Range. Winning bidders will pick up their horses in December.

The fees collected at the event will be used to continue to support the inmate training program at R3C as well as BLM’s adoption efforts nationwide. The R3C program, which has placed nearly 150 wild horses into private care since its inception in 2013, is part of BLM’s efforts to manage healthy and sustainable populations of wild horses on public lands. The program benefits adopters who can bring home horses whose training is well underway. Participating inmates gain valuable professional and life skills.

Additional details about the adopted wild horses and the R3C program can be found on the BLM’s website.

The next virtual event at R3C is scheduled for February 2021. Find all upcoming wild horse and burro adoption events across the country.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.