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Horse adoption program gets new home

Dave Frank
Nevada Appeal Staff Writer
Brandon Sherman does a handstand before the beginning of the auction for the Mustang Training and Adoption Program at the Northern Nevada Correctional Center in Carson City, Nev., on Saturday, Oct. 11, 2008.
AP | Nevada Appeal

Andrew Hall kisses at the first horse he’s ever trained as it spins in place then walks to the gate of the corral.

He pets the horse, Fooler, on the neck as other inmates show off the wild mustangs they’ve also trained.

“You always want to stroke,” Hall says. “They like it right here on the withers or right on the forehead.”

Giving up the horse for bid Saturday as part of the Nevada Department of Corrections’ mustang training and adoption program now at Stewart Conservation Camp is hard, according to Hall, but at least now the horse is safe.

“Well,” he says, “as long as he’s going to a good home, that was my job, you know.”

Hall is one of 18 inmates part of the program that had its first adoption Saturday at the minimum-security prison since it was moved from Warm Springs Correctional Center in May.

All but one of the inmates in the program at Warm Springs were moved to the camp, said camp ranch manager Tim Bryant. Bryant said the move saved the corrections department money because the camp had the supplies the program needed already there.

Brian Connett, state prison industries deputy director, said Warm Springs also will have room to expand if it ever needs to.

The move improves a program that trainer Hank Curry said teaches inmates responsibility and how to take orders.

They start by learning to ride horses, he said, and move onto working with horses that have already had some training before starting with horses brought in from the wild.

Learning how to train wild horses at the camp can be hard, Hall said, but inmates can do it if they take the time. He wasn’t sure how long it would to take to train Fooler, however, when he got him in August.

“Before I even laid hands on him and started any training, he was bouncing off the pens and wanting to kill something and putting back his ears and charging,” he said “That’s why his name’s Fooler. He started off like he wasn’t having it, like he was a pretty hard case.”

Mike Korte, another inmate in the program, is working with his first wild horse. He took it over halfway through its training and showed it on Saturday.

The horse, Scout, still had a lot to learn, he said, but “he’s come a long way.”

Gerard Ward showed Sobe, the fourth horse he’s trained since starting in the program at Warm Springs.

Most horses eventually become gentle, he said, and Sobe is an especially good and smart horse that can even let himself out of the gate.

“This guy, he’s good to go,” Ward said. “I wish I could buy this horse.”

• Contact reporter Dave Frank at dfrank@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1212.