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Yosemite National Park adopts two wild mustangs trained by inmates

Inmate trained mustang to join Sac PD Mounted Patrol

Charles Nebel, who is serving time at Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center for drug related charges, is a trainer with the Wild Horse Program. In 90 days he gentled and saddle-trained Babs, a wild mustang that is going to be adopted by Sacramento Poli
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Charles Nebel, who is serving time at Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center for drug related charges, is a trainer with the Wild Horse Program. In 90 days he gentled and saddle-trained Babs, a wild mustang that is going to be adopted by Sacramento Poli

Yosemite National Park adopted two mustangs, Drifter and Sandman, from the Sacramento sheriff's Wild Horse Program — a 120-day effort in which inmates feed, care for, and eventually saddle wild horses.

The 6-year-old horses arrived in the park in early April after undergoing training at the Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center in Elk Grove, according to a Yosemite news release.

Sacramento County Sheriff's Department partnered with the U.S. Department of Interior Bureau of Land Managementin a program to find homes for the more than 46,000 wild horses.

This is the first adoption of its kind for Yosemite, and these once-wild horses are adapting well to their surroundings.

For the last month park rangers have continued Drifter's and Sandman's training. They are ensuring the horses are comfortable in the entirety of the park environment — trails, asphalt, visitors, bicycles, parking lots, and vehicular traffic.

When Drifter and Sandman are ready, they will help park rangers perform a variety of duties, like traffic management, search and rescue, and mounted patrol.

"This is a unique and exciting opportunity to have these wild horses working with us here in the park, " Justin Fey,Yosemite National Park Ranger and Mounted Patrol Program Manager, said in the release.

"These horses are serving as natural ambassadors for wild mustangs and for Yosemite National Park. We are excited to get these horses ready to help us in a variety of functions.”

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