Wild horses, prison inmates, and Homeland Security. Its a strange combination but its a partnership with a purpose.
Its all part of "Noble Mustang," a new program that will patrol Montana's northern border with Canada using horses. The unlikely paring begins with the Bureau of Land Management's wild horse and burro program, which takes mustangs off public lands for sale to private owners. In Canon City prison inmates have been training the wild horses since 1986.
There are nearly 30,000 wild horses running free in the United States, but their population needs to be controlled. When the number of horses gets out of hand, many begin to starve because of over grazing. The BLM is trying to maintain the size of the herds at a manageable pace.
Every few years, the BLM takes the excess horses and then they break them, train them, and then adopt them out to private citizens. The animals are known for their strength, intelligence, endurance, and sure-footedness.
Now, the horses trained by inmates are helping to keep our borders safe. A number of the newly tamed mustangs will be used by border patrol agents to comb the northern U.S. border. The Border Patrol recently adopted eight wild horses to patrol that sector, mainly in Montana.
Its a program they say has as much benefit for the inmates as it does for the horses.