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Border Patrol’s Laredo sector gets seven new agents on horse patrol

Laredo Sector Horse Patrol

In a graduation ceremony in Laredo, TX, on Aug. 2, seven Border Patrol agents joined the Laredo Sector Horse Patrol.

At a formal ceremony on a parade ground in the border town, Border Patrol assistant chief patrol agent (ACPA), Roberto Santos, welcomed the agents and their families. “These agents work in arduous conditions, long hours patrolling the border, and caring for these horses is truly a labor of love,” said ACPA Santos.

The Laredo Sector Horse Patrol currently has 18 horses, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Most of the horses have been named by local elementary students, according to CBP. During the four-week program, agents learn advanced riding techniques, it said.

The Border Patrol has used horses since it began in 1924, but has aimed to beef up mounted patrols along the border in the last few years, finding cost efficiencies in the equines. It re-established the Laredo Horse Patrol January 2010 and the agency said the program has had a positive impact on its operations in the Laredo Sector.

The horse patrol program is supported by horses obtained through the U.S. Department of Interior Bureau of Land Management’s Wild Horse and Burro Program. The horses were trained by inmates at a Colorado correctional facility under the Wild Horse Inmate Program.

CBP started using the BLM source and WHIP training under its “Noble Mustang Program” in it Spokane, WA sector in 2007.

The WHIP program obtains horses culled from BLM lands in the Western U.S. when their numbers exceed the land’s capacity to support them. The Colorado Correctional Institute program provides preliminary training for the horses, according to CBP, including learning to carry a rider or cargo.

BLM estimates that approximately 38,400 wild horses and burros are roaming on BLM-managed rangelands in 10 Western states. The Wild Horse and Burro program, said CBP, provides sturdier horses for half the cost of market-purchased horses, as well as aiding BLM efforts to find suitable homes for the wild horses.