Written by BRAD POOLE
The Tucson sector horse patrol took possession of six mustangs from Colorado this week, and is harnessing their sharp hearing, keen eyesight and stamina to track drug smugglers and illegal immigrants trekking up through areas so remote even all-terrain vehicles cannot reach them.
“They can get where ATVs can’t,” said Border Patrol Agent Robbie Allred, 28, after he put the horses through their paces on Friday around a corral at the 240-acre Kansas Settlement training facility near Willcox, Ariz.
“They can get where helicopters and regular agents can’t,” he added.
Arizona straddles the most heavily trafficked corridor for human and drug smugglers from Mexico, who frequently trek out into the wildest reaches of the high-plains desert and mountains in a bid to beat beefed up border security.
The mustangs, which arrived in Arizona on August 15 are among 32 the Border Patrol has bought since 2010 under the Noble Mustangs program, in which Colorado prison inmates break and train the animals to prepare them for sale to the public or other government agencies.
The strong, compact horses are particularly valued by Stetson and chap-wearing horse patrol agents as they are an ideal match for the forbidding wilderness south of Tucson.
“These horses, having grown up in that, are already adapted to that kind of terrain,” said Bobbi Schad, the Tucson Sector’s mounted patrol coordinator and one of the patrol’s most experienced mounted agents. Read full report >>