Prisoners train wild mustangs to patrol U.S. Border

9:58 AM, Jul 5, 2011   |    comments
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"These horses are really tough and durable, and the jobs they'll be doing require that," Dion Pope with the Hutchinson Correctional Facility said. "I think they'll really do a good job."

In fact, mustangs have a long history with the U.S. Border Patrol, even though it is the first time agents have adopted horses from the Hutchinson prison.

"They currently have about 100 mustangs on duty on the northern and southern borders," Paul McGuire, of the Bureau of Land Management, said.

"It's perfect and they love it," Mary Olivares, with the U.S. Border Patrol, said. "They get to go out and do what comes naturally to them. They're roaming for eight hours with an agent, then they get to go home and rest."

The strength, agility, and intelligence that once helped these horses survive in the wild now make them fast learners in training. Inmates at the Hutchinson prison teach them to trust through a process called gentle breaking.

Now ready to ride, the mustangs will use their training and natural instincts to keep the U.S.-Mexico border safe. Once in Texas, each adopted horse will be assigned to a federal agent, who's responsible for his care. Much like a police dog, the two will together patrolling the Rio Grande Valley.

(Copyright © 2011 NBC Universal, All Rights Reserved)

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