EL GROVE (CBS SF) – Ten mustangs trained by Northern California inmates are up for adoption Saturday.
The horses include mares and geldings, between 4 and 6 years of age. They were trained by inmates at the Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center as part of the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Wild Horse Program.
There will be a meet and greet from 9- to 10 a.m, at the correctional center, located at 12270 Bruceville Road, in Elk Grove.
The bidding will start at $300.
Rio Cosumnes is a county jail in rural Sacramento County offering vocational and educational rehabilitation programs to offenders. The wild horse program was created in 2014 in partnership with the Bureau of Land Management. Inmates apply to the program and must be approved for participation. The horses undergo about 4 months of training before going to auction and proceeds go back into the program.
There are similar programs in state prisons across the U.S. More than 235,000 animals have been placed in private care since the BLM’s Adopt-a-Horse-or-Burro Program started in 1971.
The BLM has removed tens of thousands of wild horses and burros from public lands and says the roundups are necessary “to control herd populations on ranges shared with wildlife and domestic livestock.”
Horse advocates oppose the roundups and have filed several lawsuits to stop them.
Despite the BLM controversy, the inmate program has been praised by local authorities who believe in the therapeutic benefit of working with horses.
“If you get the opportunity to be the first person to touch a wild horse, or have it follow you, it’ll make the hair on the back of your neck stand up and you’ll get tingles,” said Joe Misner, a longtime mustang trainer who runs the program. “It will change you. It’s changed me.”
Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones says the horses teach the inmates skills they can use on the outside like patience and humility.
“Their toughness and where they came from, their stature in life, either inside or out, matters not to the horse and the horse is in control.”
Jones says the recidivism rate is much lower for inmates participating in these kinds of programs.
CBSSF.com writer, producer Jan Mabry is also executive producer and host of The Bronze Report. She lives in Northern California. Follow her on Twitter @janmabr.