BLM Wild Horse Training Programs
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BLM Wild Horse Training Programs

August 16, 2019


MY NAME IS STEVE MANTLE. I’M A CONTRACT TRAINER
FOR THE BLM. I HAVE BEEN SINCE 1998. IN ’98 WE WENT TO AN ADOPTION. WHILE I WAS THERE,
I MET A BLM MAN. HE ASKED ME IF I’D
BE INTERESTED, AND I SAID, WELL, SURE. THEY SENT ME A CONTRACT. WE BID IT, GOT IT, AND WE ACTUALLY STARTED
TALKING ABOUT OFFERING THEM
FOR ADOPTION. SO WE WENT AHEAD, AND I THINK WE ADOPTED
36 OR 37 OF THEM. FROM THERE, WE JUST
KEPT WORKING HORSES, DOING MORE STUFF. CONTRACTS WOULD COME UP, WE WOULD BID ON THEM,
GET THEM. WE GOT A LOT OF
HORSES GENTLED. MY NAME IS JEFF MARTIN. I’M THE WILD HORSE SUPERVISOR
AT THE WYOMING HONOR FARM. WE’RE A MINIMUM SECURITY
CORRECTIONAL FACILITY. RIGHT NOW WE HAVE 225 WILD
HORSES AT OUR FACILITY. IT’S PART OF THE WYOMING
DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS. WE HAVE A COOPERATIVE AGREEMENT
WITH THE BLM WHERE THEY BRING US
THE WILD HORSES, AND WE MAKE SURE THEY’RE FED
AND TAKEN CARE OF AND WATERED, AND WE ALSO GENTLE AND TRAIN
THEM FOR PUBLIC ADOPTIONS. WE HELP WITH THE BLM ON GETTING
HORSES OFF THE RANGE AND HELP WITH THAT MANAGEMENT. THE PUBLIC GETS THE CHANCE
AT ADOPTING A WILD HORSE THAT’S BEEN HANDLED
AND GENTLED, AND WE PROVIDE MEANINGFUL
WORK FOR THE INMATES. SO I HAVE APPROXIMATELY 30
INMATES THAT WORK FOR ME. WORKING WITH THE WILD HORSES, A PERSON HAS TO GET GOOD
AT COMMUNICATION, COOPERATION, RESPECT. WORKING WITH THE WILD HORSE, THE HORSE HOLDS THEM
ACCOUNTABLE, AND MOST OF THOSE GUYS MAKE REAL POSITIVE CHANGES
IN THEIR LIFE TO WHERE THEY CAN NOT JUST
GET OUT OF PRISON, BUT STAY OUT OF PRISON FOR
THE REST OF THEIR LIFE. SO IT’S A PRETTY AWESOME
COOPERATIVE AGREEMENT WITH THE BLM. BLM WILL BRING US THE HORSES,
AND WHEN WE FIRST GET THEM, THEY’RE NOT TOLERANT
OF HUMAN PRESSURE. THROUGH THE PROCESS
OF US GOING THROUGH, FEEDING THE ANIMALS,
CLEANING THE WATER, WALKING THROUGH THE PENS, THEY START GETTING DESENSITIZED
TO THE HUMAN CONTACT, BUT WE DON’T EVEN WANT TO PUT
THE SADDLE OR A RIDER ON THEM UNTIL WE’VE GOT THEM REALLY
GOOD AND GENTLE IN THE BEGINNING. SO THAT’S PRETTY MUCH
THE PROCESS. Mantle: THAT’S THE THING… TAKE A HORSE THAT’S SO SCARED
YOU CAN’T TOUCH IT, AND IN 90 DAYS THEY’RE ROPING
STEERS ON IT, OPENING GATES, RIDING IT UNDER TARPS,
OVER TARPS. WE’RE UP HERE AT THE
WYOMING STATE FAIR, THE 100-YEAR ANNIVERSARY
THIS YEAR, THIRD ANNUAL MUSTANG DAYS SHOW AND TRAINER COMPETITION
AND ADOPTION. WE LOOKED AT THIS
AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO SHOWCASE HORSES FROM
THE TRAINING FACILITIES AND BRING THEM TO THE PUBLIC. WE BROUGHT FOUR HORSES DOWN
FROM THE HONOR FARM, SADDLE-STARTED HORSES, THAT WE’RE GOING TO RIDE THROUGH
THE TRAINER COMPETITION. AFTER THE COMPETITION, WE’LL ADOPT THOSE HORSES
OUT TO THE PUBLIC AND HOPEFULLY WE’LL FIND
REALLY GOOD HOMES. Mantle: YOU’VE GOT A WHOLE
DIVERSIFIED BUNCH OF PEOPLE THAT ARE STARTING TO
GET THE MUSTANG, NOT JUST A SINGLE GROUP. HAD A GOOD EVENT. HAD A BIG CROWD. LOTS OF PEOPLE,
LOTS OF INTEREST. ALL OF THE SADDLE HORSES
GOT ADOPTED. Martin: WHEN A PERSON ADOPTS
ONE OF THESE MUSTANGS, THEY REALLY GOT TO SPEND
A LOT OF TIME WITH THEM. THE SELF-PRESERVATION IN THESE
MUSTANGS, IT’S INCREDIBLE, BUT ONCE THEY BOND WITH YOU
AND THEY TRUST YOU, THEY’LL WALK THROUGH
FIRE FOR YOU. IT’S PRETTY AMAZING. IF YOU HAVE THE PATIENCE AND YOU’RE THERE TO
HELP THAT HORSE, THIS HORSE WILL DO
ANYTHING FOR YOU. SO, THEY’RE PRETTY
INCREDIBLE ANIMALS.

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