KBR Wild Horse and Burro Information Sheet

A Day at the
Warm Springs
Wild Horse Adoption

Warm Springs Correctional Center,
Carson City, Nevada

The Warm Springs Correctional Facility gentles and saddle starts BLM and estray horses (mustangs) for public adoption. The program is under the authority of Nevada's Silver State Industries and training is under the direction of Hank Curry. The Warm Springs program is a working model as to how such a program should be run, with emphasis on safety, humane handling of the animals and honest presentation to potential adopters.
Visitors watching a horse being presented
(For background information please click here.)

Coming to the Facility

While the wild horse pens are separated from the main facility, the adoption is held inside the perimeter of a secure prison. Visitors can park close to the entrance and they should leave knives of any kind, purses, cellular telephones and cameras in their vehicles. Car keys and any contraband will have to be left at the guard station.

For security reasons blue jackets and blue jeans (or any outer clothing that appears blue) are not permitted. Visitors who forget and wear blue jeans will be issued white plastic overpants to wear and may have to take blue jackets back to their vehicles.

Demonstrating "bend-arounds"

(Jeremy Herr on "Professor Plum")

Presenting the Horses

All the horses being offered are presented before the bidding takes place. Horses that can be safely ridden in front of the crowd will be ridden. Those with less saddle experience may be saddled and presented in-hand, and occasionally mounted. While all of the saddled horses could probably be ridden, the emphasis is to avoid overstimulating and potentially harming a green horse. Trust between horse and handler must always be maintained. The handler's responsibility is to not ask the horse for more than he can emotionally handle, even though he may want to show how much more that the horse can actually do.

This horse has been ridden but was led in the presentation.
Note the braided mane and tail which demonstrates the horse's ability to allow humans "up close and personal."

(Jimmy Santos with "Cotton")

Fancy Footwork

While presentation emphasis is on safe horse handling practices both for the inmate handlers and potential adopters, some of the horses have enough time under saddle that they are comfortable working with the crowd on one side and loud speakers on the other. These horses may be trotted and cantered or be ridden in patterns. Visitors are still reminded, however, that these horses typically have only 45 days work and are only considered "saddle started," not completely trained.
Demonstrating transitions

(Chris Suggs on "Thor")

Extraordinary Results by Ordinary People

We wouldn't actually classify the inmate gentler/handlers as ordinary people. They participate in this program because of their affinity with and caring attitudes toward the animals. They are ordinary in the sense that none of them came into the program as a horse professional. Many hadn't never laid a hand on a horse before coming to Warm Springs.

Yet these men not only gentle wild horses, but they start them to saddle, then get on them and ride.

Nice quiet work for the crowd

(Curtis Lange on "Black Cloud")

Back to Basics

It was immediately apparent to us that the Warm Springs program is designed to develop a basic foundation in the horse. The horses are taught to accept, then trust humans. They accept grooming and having their feet maintained. They learn to work on the lead line, then ground drive. Before they are ridden, they have learned to stand still while being mounted and dismounted.

This logical approach is not only important for the horse, but important for the safety of the handler who oftentimes starts out with no horse experience, and ultimately for the safety of the adopter.

Mounting and dismounting

(Chris Pullen with "Smedley")

Unadoptable Horses?

The Warm Springs program also takes in so-called unadoptable horses. These horses may be older, may show some fear based aggressive tendencies that need to be worked through, or may have some other condition that requires rehabilitation before being offered to the average wild horse adopter.

These horses generally flourish in the Warm Springs learning environment and even those that start out as the most difficult usually come around after one or two 45 day cycles in the program.

Showing a gorgeous pinto

(Curtis Lange on "Hannibal")

A Variety of Ages

Most of the Warm Springs horses are mature. Some are several years old. The older horses are more emotionally and physically ready to train to saddle.

However younger horses are available through the program and adopters of non-gentled Nevada estrays from other wild horse offerings can contract with Warm Springs to have their horses placed in the program.

Some quality time with a long yearling

(Matthew Smith with "Pee Wee")

Travellers to Warm Springs have a number of reasonably priced hotel-motel accommodations available in the Carson City area. Lodging information is available over the internet from Tripadvisor.com or by searching under Carson City Motel in one of the major search engines. Many motels and hotels also offer casino and entertainment packages so visitors can have fun before and after the adoption.

Bidders lining up at the adoption table
Warm Springs adoptions are typically held on alternate months. Horses remain the property of the State of Nevada for one year after adoption. Title will be transferred to the adopter after this period if the horse has been provided proper care.

For more information, please log onto the Comstock Wild Horse Training Program website at www.silverstateindustries.com/horse.html.

Other SSI Adoption Features

February, 2003 Adoption

October, 2002 Adoption

June, 2002 Adoption

January, 2002 Adoption

Background on the Inmate Training Program

View the Latest Adoption Flyer


See the horses in their natural habitat in our feature,
Virginia Range Seasons

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