Prison Cowboys

Can Mustangs do for prisoners what solitary and lock-up can’t?
Prison Cowboys

The term "mustang" is derived from the Spanish word mestengo, or "stray animal," and is used to describe any type of feral horse. Every year, the Bureau of Land Management rounds up thousands of "excess" mustangs across 10 Western states. At the Wyoming State Honor Farm, convicts train, or "gentle," wild horses that have been rounded up from the high Plains. If the gentling goes smoothly, a mustang will be tame enough to saddle, mount, and ride in three months. This photo essay looks at the innovative prison program designed to rehabilitate prisoners through the challenge of training the descendants of the first horses brought to North America 500 years ago.

Read a piece about the annual BLM roundup and the prison program here. See more of photographer Matt Slaby's work here.