Trained wild horses for $125

Oct 12, 2012
by WLJ

Since 2001, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has offered gentled wild horses for adoption at the Hutchinson Correctional Facility (HCF) in Hutchinson, KS. These are animals that are halter- or saddle-trained by inmates in a rehabilitation program there. Adoption fees for well-trained animals once commonly ranged between $600-1,000.

Now, through an expanded partnership with the Mustang Heritage Foundation (Foundation), BLM can offer gentled wild horses for adoption at the facility for just $125 (the minimum fee set by law).

This unique arrangement is made possible by HCF’s participation in the Foundation’s Trainer Incentive Program (TIP). For each horse the facility trains and successfully adopts, the Foundation pays a stipend to support the training program at HCF. Note: Only solid color adult horses qualify for the TIP. Certain special use horses (e.g. driving teams), colored horses and burros are not offered through TIP and may command higher fees.

In addition to benefiting the horses and the adopting public, the training program at Hutchinson also helps prepare inmates for their eventual reintroduction into society by instilling important values such as discipline, respect and hard work. Approximately 14-18 minimum security inmates participate in the program at any given time. As they progress through the program, inmates move from providing basic care for the horses (feeding, watering, cleaning), to actually training them under the supervision and guidance of a professional trainer and correctional staff.

HCF is designed to hold 350 horses in multiple enclosures and pens. In addition to boarding and training stalls, there are several riding rings and a large enclosed building that can be used for training during inclement weather. The entire facility was built by inmates using donated materials, including surplus highway guardrails from the Kansas Department of Transportation.

A large number of untrained horses and burros in holding at HCF are also available for adoption. BLM pays a $500 care and feeding allowance to adopters of adult untrained horses (four years old and older).

Wild horses—iconic symbols of America’s western heritage—are renowned for their strength, endurance, agility and intelligence, characteristics bred into them in the wild that make them ideal for work or recreation. BLM periodically removes excess animals from the range in order to maintain healthy herds and to protect other rangeland resources. The adoption program is essential for achieving these important management goals.

The Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping BLM promote and carry out an effective adoption program.

For more information, call BLM toll-free at 866- 468-7826, or visit Call HCF directly at 620-728-3296.

Learn more about the Foundation at www.mustangheritagefoundation. org. — WLJ