When we started out the horse search, the breeds we were considering were Arabians, Arabian crosses, Morgans, and Mustangs. Both my husband and I really like the idea of adopting a Mustang and training it. However, we’re not entirely insane and recognize that we’re not at all equipped to do that. At least not from scratch. So we found a trainer to work with. We also aren’t planning to go to a holding pen and pick one out. Instead we’ve been looking at TIP horses, Mustang Makeover horses, and Carson City prisoner-trained horses.
If you’re not familiar with it, the prisoner program is a joint venture between the prison and the BLM that rehabilitates the prisoners by having them learn to train wild mustangs. Here’s an article from The Guardian. Here’s a blog/article on the training program and adoption procedure. Putting aside whatever this program does or does not do for Mustangs, I love what it does for the prisoners. All the street swagger and bullshit attitude in the world won’t win over a Mustang. You have to learn how to control your temper, you have to work hard every day, and you have to follow through. And the statistics prove it: “A five-year study by the NNCC administration found that inmates who participated in the program were less likely to be reincarcerated. They had a 15% recidivism rate, almost half the broader average of 28%” (according to The Guardian). Seriously, go read this article and watch the video and then come back. I’ll wait.
Some of these prisoners don’t even know how to ride when they start this program so it’s not like I think these horses are fully trained. We’re not taking one of these horses home to hop on. If we adopt one, we’re taking it straight to a trainer where it’ll be in full training with my husband taking lessons with the trainer.
The really cool thing about this program is that they post descriptions, pictures, and videos of the horses in advance of the auction. Seriously, the federal government is doing a better job of selling horses than most of the private owners I’ve been dealing with. Unfortunately, the pictures aren’t awesome as they’re not truly from the side and are more in-between a 3/4 view and a side view. This is great for photography, but not so awesome for looking at conformation. The videos are much more helpful and I’m sure seeing them in person will let me actually see conformation. It would just be nice to have better pictures in advance.
The Carson City prison horse auction is this weekend and we are theoretically going (there are many things that may change between now and then including snow, but it’s the plan at the moment). We are not committed to buying a horse. We’re going to go look and we might come home with a horse. But if we don’t like any of them in person or the bidding goes too high, we’ll come home empty-handed.
I’m curious which mustang (here’s the catalog) appeals to you. This is really just for fun. I already have ones I like and ones I discussed with the trainer (we actually have a spreadsheet with notes and even ratings). But I’m curious what other people would pick. And there are some nice looking horses that we aren’t even considering because of height. Comment below with which would one you would want to take home.