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Rick Scott, Governor
Florida Department of Corrections, Secretary Julie L. Jones

Florida Department of Corrections
Julie L. Jones, Secretary

For Immediate Release
October 16, 2002
For More Information
Contact: Public Affairs Office
(850) 488-0420

Horse Whisperer Shares
Training Techniques With Inmates

Department of Corrections Secretary Michael Moore said today inmates participating in the department's equine training program will have a unique opportunity to learn about the "horse whisperer's" method of training horses.

Moore said Monty Roberts, the world-famous horse trainer who inspired Nicholas Evans' bestseller, The Horse Whisperer, will visit the equine training program at Marion Correctional Institution as part of his Horse Sense Tour 2002.

Roberts' unique training method was developed after he observed a group of wild mustangs for a period of several days. He noticed patterns in the way the mustangs communicated with each other; he says he can communicate with the horses by using the position of his body, head, and eyes. Roberts says he now can train an animal to accept a saddle and rider in less than half an hour, using no physical force.

Roberts said he grew up in a violent home, a familiar family background for many who become inmates. He says the nonviolent method he uses to train horses has taught him a lot about communicating with other people. He now talks with inmates who work with horses about these lessons.

Secretary Moore said the department's equine training program is the result of a partnership with the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation that began in 2000. Inmates in the equine program learn to care for retired thoroughbreds who have either sustained an injury or are not able to perform at their peak. He said the program trains inmates to rehabilitate retired thoroughbred racehorses. The horses are then used by the Department of Corrections and other law enforcement agencies or adopted by the general public. Some will remain in retirement at the farm.

"We are providing valuable training for our inmates, as well as a safe haven for these horses, who were once heros of the track," Moore said.

Moore said the inmates trained in the equine program will be employable as stable attendants, groomers, or exercisers once they are released from prison.

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