Wild Horse Program

Arizona Correctional Industries (ACI) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) are working together with Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC) inmate population in a drug-free work environment. Under the guidance of experienced animal trainers, wild horses obtained from BLM are domesticated so that they can be offered for adoption. Known as our Wild Horse Inmate Program (WHIP), it operates in a state-of-the-art facility and employs a staff of professional horse trainers who provide horsemanship, animal husbandry and farrier skills.

BLM’s top priority is ensuring the health of the public lands so that the species depending on them – including the nation’s wild horses – can thrive. To achieve that end, the BLM’s wild horse program must be put on a sustainable course that benefits the animals, the land, and taxpayers.
National Wild Horse and Burro Program
After passage of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses Act in 1971, the BLM became the managing agency responsible for protecting the wild horse habitats on BLM land. The first wild horse gather in Arizona occurred in 1977 and was conducted near Alamo Lake in the west central portion of the state. Since that time, more than 12,000 wild horses have been captured and removed from the public rangelands in western Arizona. To maintain their population at about 1,600 animals (a level that the desert habitat can support) the BLM continues its population control program by gathering excess horses and offering them to the public through the BLM’s Adopt-a-Horse Program.
Our facilities, located at the state prison in the town of Florence, Arizona, include a training center within the prison itself and the holding center open to public view where adoptions are finalized.

The Training Facility, where up to 72 wild horses are “gentled” at any one time can be visited by appointment (and includes a DOC background check). Through their participation in WHIP, inmates:

  • Receive hands-on-training in the equestrian field.
  • Work to learn about the care and treatment of animals, while building self confidence.
  • Learn the value of patience, warmth and respect for all living things.
  • Gain employable skills they can use upon release.

The holding center, where more than 900 wild horses and 85 burros are currently cared for, can accommodate up to 2,000 animals. It is situated across from the prison complex about a mile from the intersection of Butte Avenue and Route 79 in Florence. The public can view the facility from the parking area and can visit within the fenced area by appointment and during special adoption events held throughout the year.

In the news:

You Can Adopt a BLM Wild Horse or Burro in Arizona Year Round. Please review the adoption fees and BLM requirements for adopting one of these beautiful animals. To request a tour of either facility or arrange an adoption, contact:

Wild Horse and Burro Program Manager
520 868-4011 x5932

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