NACO, Arizona (NBC) - They saddle up to protect our southwest border. Wild mustangs are captured, then put through a training program using Colorado's inmates.
At nightfall, Agent Dagen Haymire gets Big Foot and Sundance ready. Both horses are geldings, which Haymire says makes them perfect for the type of climate and terrain out there.
He says the wild mustangs have also come at a significant savings. A horse purchase would normally run $2,500 to $4,000. Haymire says, "With the mustangs we pay $925, $25 dollars to BLM and $900 to Colorado Correctional Institute and we get a year guarantee on the horses."
The agents start tracking as soon as the sun goes down. They contact other units in the area, and on this night, find a group of illegal border crossers.
Even though these agents use state-of-the-art technology, they rely on these horses now more than ever.
Haymire says, "As we build up our enforcement in the towns its pushing the traffic out to the more remote areas. And so they are relying on us as horse patrol agents to fill that gap."