What Happens at R3C Ranch
The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department along with he BLM Wild Horse Program created this program in 2014. The goal is to help both Wild Horses and inmates. Mustangs receive care and training from the R3C Wild Horse Program inmates and are then available for adoption to the public. This helps more than 40,000 Wild Horses in holding facilities find good homes. The inmates learn valuable social and vocational skills while gentling the Mustangs for adoption. This program has been shown to lower recidivism rates of inmates and successfully adopt trained Mustangs to the public.
Step one is to separate each horse from the wild herd to an individual pen. A halter and drag lead are applied in preparation of teaching the horse to give pressure.
Ground Work and Gaining Trust:
The trainer starts the foundation of ground work and ginning control of the horses’ hindquarters. They utilize the use of pole and hook for touching and feet prep for picking up the horses’ feet. The horse begins to lead and develop a friendship with the trainer through grooming and lots of relief from pressure.
This occurs in the round pen where the horse is introduced to lunging, being led over an obstacle course, and standing while tied. Saddle desensitizing begins with saddle blankets, then moved to old light weight saddles and finally bridles with a snaffle bit. Once the horse is comfortable they begin work on ground driving. This helps the horse gain trust and build confidence in preparation for a rider mounting them. The trainer then works on fence mounting, stirrup mounting, and when they are ready, the first ride with a pony horse.
What They Learn Under Saddle:
Once the horse is under saddle, the trainer then works on softening and flexing of the horses head and mouth to the bit both laterally and vertically. The horse is also worked on stopping, backing, and disengagement of the hindquarters. These horses experience miles and miles of round pen work, walk, trot, lope, stop, back and disengage.
The Final Step:
The final step of our training is riding the horse through numerous obstacle courses, in a cow pasture, being ridden in groups, working on trailer loading, and trimming the feet.
The training facility is located next door to the Sacramento County Sheriff Departments gun range as well as a local airport. Due to this, all the activities are performed in an environment that has sporadic gun fire, explosions, and both helicopter and airplane take offs and landing directly next to the round pens. All training is done while using natural horsemanship techniques and ensuring the time is taken to build the individual horses trust and to build the human leadership roles for them.