Wild horse finds freedom instead of being adopted out Final 16 horses released onto Tahoe Reno Industrial Center | NevadaAppeal.com

Wild horse finds freedom instead of being adopted out Final 16 horses released onto Tahoe Reno Industrial Center

Karen Woodmansee
Appeal Staff Writer
Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal

Lucy, it seemed, was the perfect horse for adoption.

She was a good-sized bay, same color but a little larger than most of the horses collected from Virginia Range bands last year.

But she became ill in the corrals at the Nevada State Prison, and really didn’t get along too well with people, said Shirley Allen, who runs the Lucky Horse Rescue Corral in Dayton, a program of Least Resistance Training Concepts.

Allen had taken Lucy home to get her back in shape for the next step in the mare’s life – being part of the last band released onto Tahoe Reno Industrial Center.

Four bands of four horses each were released Wednesday onto the southern part of the old Asamera Ranch – now TRIC, just northwest of Silver Springs. Lucy was put in with a stallion, another mare and her foal, and she raced after them when her trailer door was opened.

Willis Lamm, president of LRTC, said the group was willing to trade Lucy for three yearlings and a mare they will try to adopt out, to give Lucy her freedom.

She got that freedom when the 16 horses were loaded up at the Nevada State Prison Silver State Industry corrals where they had been kept, and taken out to TRIC for release.

The release is the second since an agreement between the state and TRIC owner Roger Norman and manager Lance Gilman that allowed excess Virginia Range horses to be released onto the industrial park. State Department of Agriculture officials, whose department is responsible for the animals, said the state could no longer afford to feed the horses.

Thirty-seven horses were released in the north section of TRIC on Feb. 15.

The animals were first separated into family groups at the prison, then Wednesday were gathered into waiting trailers, four at a time.

They were herded into the trailer by Mike Holmes, estray program manager for the state Department of Agriculture, and a prison employee, by using a “flag” or a plastic bag attached to a whip.

The animals were not struck, but the waving of the “flag” behind them caused them to hurry into the trailer without incident.

“They’re pretty settled horses,” Lamm said. “They have not been mishandled in the corral.”

They were taken to TRIC and turned loose, ironically near a hollow that Holmes said was once used by mustangers to capture horses.

After their release, each band only ran a slight distance from the trailers, as if waiting for the others. After months of living in adjoining pens, they didn’t seem to want to separate into the stallion and mare bands. Then when they were all together, the entire group trotted into the vast expanse of the park. Lucy, the last one released, ran to catch up to the herd.

“They’ll work it out,” Holmes said.

Holmes said no more horses will be taken to TRIC, and individuals could not go onto the private property to see the wild horses or add to the herd with any unwanted animals.

“This is private land,” he said. “This is part of an arrangement the state made with the landowners.”

He said every horse he collects from the Virginia Range when the herds either get too large or are wandering too near homes and highways goes to the Nevada State Prison’s Silver State Industries corrals.

There they are microchipped, branded and given birth control. Then he calls Lamm or Allen to help find homes for the animals.

“Instead of turning all the horses loose, I would prefer they be placed in homes,” Holmes said. “That way there will be more out here for the herds that are left.”

• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at kwoodmansee@nevadaappeal.com or 881-7351.