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Horses trained by inmates go up for adoption this weekend in silent auction at Elk Grove jail

A horse, a convict, a chance for change

At the Wild Horse Program at Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center inmates train wild mustangs to become adoptable to the public. Changed by his love for a wild mustang, Zephyr, Chris Culcasi struggled towards a life outside of crime.
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At the Wild Horse Program at Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center inmates train wild mustangs to become adoptable to the public. Changed by his love for a wild mustang, Zephyr, Chris Culcasi struggled towards a life outside of crime.

Nine horses will be available for adoption and purchase Saturday at an Elk Grove jail, all of them saddle-trained by Sacramento County inmates.

Those inmates are participants in the Bureau of Land Management and Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office joint Wild Horse Training Program, which launched in 2014.

Saturday’s adoptions are a silent auction, with starting bids on each horse set at $300, BLM said in a news release. The auction runs 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center, 12500 Bruceville Road in Elk Grove.

Applicants must be 18 years old, have no convictions of inhumane treatment of animals and be able to provide an adequate facility for horses.

The popular wild horse program was spotlighted in Sacramento Bee visual journalist Autumn Payne’s short documentary, “A Horse, A Convict, A Chance for Change,” which won two awards at last year’s Sacramento Film & Music Festival.

“Come to jail and leave with a horse,” a promotion on the Friends of R3C (Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center) website says.

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Michael McGough anchors The Sacramento Bee’s breaking news reporting team, covering public safety and other local stories. A Sacramento native and lifelong capital resident, he interned at The Bee while attending Sacramento State, where he earned a degree in journalism.
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