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 (CENTRAL - SOUTHWEST NEVADA - HMA's numbered in 600's)

Wild horses on Fish Creek HMA, Photo by BLM Wild Horse Specialist, Shawna Richardson

Battle Mountain District includes two Field Offices. Battle Mountain Field Office includes 12 HMAs:

Augusta Mountains
(1/3 of its area is located within Battle Mountain, but the HMA is managed by the Winnemucca District)
Bald Mountain
Diamond Mountain (aka "Diamond")
Fish Creek
Hickison Burro Range
New Pass/Ravenswood
Roberts Mountain
Rocky Hills
Seven Mile
South Shoshone
Whistler Mountain

Tonopah Field Station manages 15 HMAs:

(Dunlap was formerly managed by Carson City District, as part of Pilot Mountain HMA, but management has recently been given to Tonopah.)
Fish Lake Valley
Gold Mountain
Hot Creek
Little Fish Lake
Montezuma Peak
Stone Cabin
Paymaster/Lone Mountain
Sand Springs West
Silver Peak


 Most wild herds in this area originated with large herds brought there by ranchers, and allowed to roam the range at will. Since the ground is rocky and there are few natural fencing materials available, allowing stock to roam freely, and going out and catching them when needed, was the common practice.

An important source of today's Central Nevada wild horses is known as "The Dixon Strain."

Tom Dixon was a rancher who came from Ireland to California and then to Nevada in 1869. He raised Shires, Percherons, Morgans, Hambletonians, and various Irish stock. ("Hambletonians" is not a term we hear much today, but they were popular in the 1800's and were the foundation bloodline for the Standardbred breed of today). Dixon ran his horses from Long Valley to Fish Creek, Fish Spring, Diamond, and Monitor Valleys, and his herds numbered over 10,000.

Yet another source of today's wild herds were the Clifford “Steeldusts.” “Steeldust” was a common name referring to a preferred type of cow pony. These horses were descendants of Steel Dust, a Kentucky bred stud born in 1843.

Steel Dust was of Thoroughbred lineage, but an excellent sprinter. He was a blood bay who stood 15 hands high and weighed 1200 lbs. He was moved to Texas and became a popular sire for ranch stock. Many ranchers would breed wild mares of Spanish decent to Steel Dust, and the result was a much desired cow horse.

Horses of Steel Dust lineage became commonly known as “Steeldusts,” and these horses later became known as Quarter Horses.

Several HMAs in the Battle Mountain District produce a small percentage of curly horses.

The origins of the curly trait are not known, although there are various theories. The Damele Family, which began settling in the Eureka, NV area as early as 1864, are associated with the preservation of the curly trait. They were attracted to these unique horses when they first saw them running with local wild bands, and frequently captured them to train and either sell to others or to add to their own ranch stock. A devastating winter in 1932 proved their value. At the end of the winter, when the men went out to check on their stock on winter range, only their curly horses could be found still alive. After that, they began breeding curlies in what is now the "Simpson Park" Herd Area along the old Pony Express Trail near Highway 50 through the Eureka area.

At the start of the Wild Horse & Burro Act of 1971, there were recognized claims for 1241 horses, claimed by 6 owners. 10 were claimed and removed by their owner. Due to the high cost of gathering them, combined with possible fines and fees associated with claiming them, the rest were abandoned and allowed to become bona fide "wild free-roaming horses" along with the existing wild herds. After this, ranchers were not allowed to include horses in their grazing permits, unless they could effectively prevent their horses from mixing with wild herds.

In 1974, the entire Battle Mountain District was estimated, based on a combination of aerial surveys and the observations of field personnel, to be about 3000 horses and only 15 burros.

Story about Curly Mustangs from the Eureka area

BATTLE MTN District is in GREEN

Click on either map for an enlargement


(These are all numbered in the 600's)


Learning about the specific herd management area where one's own horse or burro is from can enrich your appreciation for your adopted animal. It is in that spirit that these pages are offered.


Do understand, however, that HMAs (Herd Management Areas) are not breeds. A horse or burro from one HMA has far more in common with all others from all other HMAs than it has differences. Although some herds are managed more intensively than others for certain traits, there is still variation in size, body type. Example: Many people have a certain size in mind when they adopt. Certain herds are known for having a high incidence of certain size parameters (examples: Pine Nut Mtns and Swasey for smaller pony-type and Twin Peaks, Black Rock East & West, and the Owyhee Complex for larger-than-average horses) but even within those herds there will be exceptions. And large and small horses can occur in just about any HMA. So when adopting, look at the individual, not just the "brand name" of HMA.



NV601 South Shoshone

South Shoshone mares & foals at Litchfield BLM facility in early 2008.

Internet Adoption horse at Litchfield Corrals, from South Shoshone HMA

The South Shoshone horses from the 2007-08 gather were sent to Litchfield Corrals in California. Several became Extreme Mustang Makeover horses, BLM Volunteer Halter Projects, and many more were adopted individually throughout the state.

The South Shoshone horses are typical old style ranch horses. They are smart, athletic, loyal, quick, and sturdy. In stature they are on the shorter side, which was favored by cowboys in the old days for ease in mounting and dismounting in a hurry. South Shoshone horses reflect their relationship to Quarter Horses, in both their conformation and their typical sorrel, black or bay coloring.

Sue Watkins and "Ima Your Horse" - her South Shoshone project mare
for the 2009 Western States Extreme Mustang Challenge.

Sweet Pete, or Petie from South Shoshone

DNA results: Mixed ranch stock with a trace of Spanish heritage (Basque?)

NV 602 New Pass-Ravenswood 

Colorful wild band spotted off US 50 in the New Pass-Ravenswood HMA by Nancy & Saanen Kerson, May 2014

In 2010, Dr. Gus Cothran examined the herd's genetics. In summary, he says: "Overall similarity of the New Pass/Ravenswood HMA herd to domestic breeds was relatively high for a feral herd. Highest mean genetic similarity of the New Pass/Ravenswood HMA herd was with Light Racing and Riding breeds, followed very closely by the North American Gaited breeds. As seen in Fig. 1, the New Pass/Ravenswood HMA herd pairs with the Morgan Horse just outside the cluster of the Riding horses and other North American breeds.  In comparison to other Nevada herds it is closest to Saulsbury followed by Hall Creek."



Attached are two photos of "The Girls."  The bay is "Cholla" and the red roan is "Sage."

They are both from the NV602 New Pass-Ravenswood herd management area and were captured on November 5th, 2007.


I live in Twentynine Palms, California, and I adopted my girls on April 19th in Lake Perris, California, at a BLM Adoption Event.  I only meant to get one, but they were having a special so I came home with two and so glad I did.  They have been a great deal of fun to work with.  They were just barely a year old when I got them and now are about 16 months.  I lost my Arab mare a few years ago, and had been wanting another horse but couldn't decide when someone mentioned the BLM Adoption Program. 


Best decision I ever made.  Trail riding is what I like to do, and what better trail horse than a mustang.  They are learning at a great rate, and I hope to be riding by next summer.  They are learning to drive and drag things and are building muscle and endurance.  I am interested in the mounted search and rescue in the area, and also the the mounted patrol of the national park nearby.  I believe they will be perfect for it.


They are also a couple of the friendliest horses I have ever encountered.  They love attention and nicker whenever someone walks out the door.  When I am in the corral cleaning, they are standing right there trying to help.  They are interested in everything and love to have toys in the corral to play with.


I have had horses all my life, but these two are just different in many ways than  a horse born in captivity. 


Thanks so much for the website.


Renee Recker



i just thought i'd forward a pic of my new pass-ravenswood HMA gelding, who has a minimal curly gene (according to someone who is a breeder of curlies ;)  he is Ivan, captured at 5, now 9, and doing fabulously. 


he is a smidge under 14 hds, but looks bigger ridden.   he's a sweety, has a great personality, easy going, relatively lazy, but we like that.

- judy barr

NV603 Bald Mountain

Historically, horses have easily and frequently migrated between Bald Mountain, Callahan, and New Pass/Ravenswood.



Bald Mountain horses' DNA profile is consistent with Iberian origins.

NV604 Callaghan

The Callahan herd is very colorful.

Missy from Callaghan HMA (photo courtesy of Andi Harmon)

Callahan horses were DNA-tested by Dr. Gus Cothran, with these results:
Pantanario (a Brazilian breed of Iberian origin),
Moroccan Barb, Quarter Horse, and other North American saddle horse breeds

BlackHawk, adopted and owned by Dr. Katie Blunk, from Callaghan HMA

NV 605 Rocky Hills

Photo thanks to Shawna Richardson, Battle Mountain BLM

Rocky Hills genetics were studied by Dr. Gus Cothran in 2010. He summarizes: "Overall similarity of the Rocky Hills HMA herd to domestic breeds was above average for feral herds. Highest mean genetic similarity of the Rocky Hills HMA herd was with the Light Racing and Riding breeds. The two groups of Iberian type breeds were second and third.  However, the Rocky Hills HMA herd does not fit in with any domestic horse cluster and, in fact, is at the extreme outside of the dendrogram.  This is probably and indication of a high degree of genetic mixture.  In comparison to other Nevada herds, the Rocky Hills herd does not pair with any specific HMA but fits in the middle of several herds." In summary, he notes "Ancestry not clear. Divergent from other breeds."

Handsome, from Rocky Hills, adopted by Johnnie Forquer




Curly mare


Angie, 14.1hh, adopted by Karen R of Missouri



Curly yearling

NV606 Desatoya

Desatoya geldings at Palomino Valley

Here are pictures of our Desatoya mare gathered in February 2004 and the third picture is of a colt from her, conceived at Desatoya, although he was actually born at Cassoday (LTHF) KS the following July.

The Desatoya horses that I have are very well muscled, about 14 hands in height. The heads are plain and convex but the brain capacity is good, they are no dullards, that's for sure. Conformationally the bodies are similar to a QH. The colt, now two, along with another Nevada-bred two-year-old, are my granddaughter's Parelli projects.  

Sometimes these two appear to have champagne coloration, they are buckskin duns, but there's a little more going on in there.

- Bettye Roberts

Desatoya mare adopted by Bettye Roberts of Oklahoma

Colt, born in captivity from a pregnant mare gathered from Desatoya

Desatoya mare adopted by Bettye Roberts of Oklahoma

Desatoya Internet Adoption horses

NV 607 Roberts Mountain


Truman, adopted by Amy Dumas


In 2010, Dr. Cothran examined the herd's genetics. In summary, he says: "Overall similarity of the Roberts Mountain HMA herd to domestic breeds was slightly above average for feral herds. Highest mean genetic similarity of the Roberts Mountain HMA herd was with Light Racing and Riding breeds, followed very closely by the North American Gaited breeds. ....The Roberts Mountain herd does not show close relationship to either the Rocky Hills or Fish Creek herds that they have possibly mixed with in the past.  This could be due to sampling or just general mixing of the different sets of genes within the herd.

Genetic variability of this herd is high and this is likely due to both the past large population size and mixing with other herds.  Color diversity in the herd also is great which is consistent with the genetic diversity.  Past measures of genetic diversity based upon blood typing data done at Stormont Labs also show high levels of variation. Genetic similarity results suggest a herd with mixed ancestry that primarily is North American which is consistent with the appearance of the horses. "

NV608 Whistler Mountain

no data available 


NV104, NV609, and NV412

Before the passing of the 1971 WFHB Act, most horses roaming this area were considered to be private. However, once the Act was passed, owners were required to either remove private stock or pay fees, and few, if any, were removed.

From Dr. Gus Cothran's 2006 genetic analysis of the Diamond Complex herds: "Genetic Similarity: Highest mean genetic similarity of the Diamond Hills herd was with the North American Gaited Breeds and the New World Iberian breeds. Highest individual breed similarity was with the Welsh Pony, which seems unlikely to have been a direct contributor to the herd.  The overall pattern of similarity values and variants present indicates mixed origins primarily from North American breeds with possibly some Spanish background, although the Spanish may be trough breeds such as the Quarter Horse.....The herd appears to be of mixed origins, perhaps with a small number of recent introductions.  The known subdivision (into smaller Home Ranges) probably accounts for some of the diversity...although there is no clear difference in variants present in the different areas.  The overall pattern of variation no suggests recent loss of overall variability.  The Diamond Hills herd shows relatively high genetic similarity to all major groups of domestic horse breeds as compared to most feral herds.  This is consistent with mixed origins."

However, by 2013, when he again examined the herds, this time using more modern DNA analysis (in 2006 it was still blood markers), he determined: "Overall similarity of the Diamond HMA herd to domestic breeds was somewhat low for feral herds. Highest mean genetic similarity of the Diamond HMA herd was with Light Racing and Riding breeds, followed closely by the North American Gaited breeds... The Diamond HMA herd clusters with the Morgan breed in a cluster distinct from the branch that has the other breeds of these two groups.  These results, along with the high variability, indicate a herd with mixed origins with the possibility that the Morgan Horse was important in this herd's ancestry. As with most trees involving feral herds, the tree is somewhat distorted. In comparison to other feral herds from Nevada (Fig. 2) the Diamond Hills N. HMA herd shows fairly close resemblance. In an analysis to look for outliers within the herd, almost all individuals fit best with either the Diamond or Diamond Hill North HMAs with one exception.  Individual 64252 did not fit well with other horses from either HMA but rather showed closest affiliation with a Warmblood breed and two North American breeds.  The results of this analysis confirm that these two herds are closely related.  The Morgan also showed up in the top associations for individual horses supporting the ancestry results above."

Summary: Diamond Hills HMA: Clusters with Iberian breeds
Diamond HMA: Clusters with Morgan
Overall Diamond Complex: Shows indications of fairly recent admixture of herds from North and South converging there.

NV 609 Diamond

BLM Pages about "the Diamonds."

Collection of BLM Photos of the Diamond ranges and the horses, from 2004 - 2013
Declining range conditions, due to protracted drought, necessitated a large emergency gather in February of 2013.

Diamoetion mare

Diamond is being managed as part of the Diamond Complex, with DIAMOND HILLS NORTH (NV104) and (NV412) - a complex involving three different BLM administrative districts. The three HMA's are contiguous and unfenced, so the horses move between the three freely. "The Diamonds" horses tend to be of good size, with sturdy bones and excellent musculature. They are favored by adopters for their trainability and nice dispositions. There are many roans in this herd and some grays, as well as the "usual" colors. Horses in the Diamonds Complex have been DNA tested and the results indicate domestic origins, and include most of the more common domestic breeds.



Photos thanks to BLM Wild Horse Specialist, Shawna Richardson



Hickison wild burros, photographed by Donald or Dustin Gasser in fall of 2009

NV 611 North Monitor

Wild Horses on the North Monitor Range
Photo thanks to Shawna Richardson, Battle Mountain BLM

NV612 Fish Creek

Nevada Sky, adopted by Angela Martin, West Brookfield, Vermont

I have an 8 month old Mustang filly that I adopted from Palomino Valley, in September 2005.  She is really sweet, agreeable and learns quickly.  I have named her "Terra".  She is from the Fish Creek HMA.

- Pam Respini 

Before the passing of the 1971 WFHB Act, most horses roaming this area were considered to be private. However, once the Act was passed, owners were required to either remove private stock or pay fees, and few, if any, were removed.

Dr. Gus Cothran examined the herd's genetics in 2008. In summary, he says: "Highest mean genetic similarity of the Fish Creek herd was with the Old World Spanish breeds but the values for all of the non-cold blood horse groups were similar.  There was no strong allelic indication of Spanish ancestry.  The Fish Creek herd does not fit into any group but is on the outside of the cluster of riding horses of several types. This result is consistent with a mixed breed origin of the herd."

Fish Creek band on the range

NV613 Seven Mile

2-year-old pinto stud at Palomino Valley October, 2005

Above and below: Annette Carter's "Phantom" from Seven Mile HMA

"Ras" trained by the Warm Springs Correctional Facility's Wild Horse Training Program, and adopted by Janice Owen

 NV614 Little Fish Lakes


DNA shows strong Quarter Horse & Thoroughbred influence

Kahlua from Little Fish Lakes



NV616 Hot Creek


NV617 Monitor


NV618 Stone Cabin

Stone Cabin has a high percentage of gray horses, who are known as "Stone Cabin Grays" (Stone Cabin Grays are gray just like any other gray horse, but in the early days, folks, including Wild Horse Annie,  were unfamiliar with the action of the gray gene and thought it was unique to this herd)

Augustus, adopted by Eric Clayton
(click to read Eric's blog about Augustus and the Stone Cabin mustangs)

Stone Cabin DNA results: "No clear breed association"

Stone Cabin was a favorite of Wild Horse Annie

Historical photo of Wild Horse Annie and two BLM employees at a 1975 gather of Stone Cabin

Horses were actively captured and removed from the Stone Cabin area prior to 1959 (The "Wild Horse Annie Law" that banned motorized captures). Thousands were "harvested" during the 1940's. Until the late 1940's, local ranchers actively managed the herds, releasing high quality purebred horses into the bands and actively culling the herds for quality.

After the passing of the 1971 Act, 4 privately-owned horses who had been running with the wild herds were removed by their owner, and the rest became part of the wild, BLM-managed herd.

Stone Cabin horses are popular, and the Battle Mountain District often holds Trap-Site Adoptions for the youngsters after a gather. This allows adopters to get a "blank slate" horse that has had very little human handling, and has not been exposed to the risks involved in being transported to a major holding facility, and the exposure to disease agents that might be present at any large public horse facility



Stone Cabin horses on 2016 Internet Adoption

NV619 Reveille

BLM stock photos of Reveille gather



Reveille's location on the border of Nellis Air Force Test and Training Range creates some difficult management situations. Mainly, helicopter gathers are extremely problematic to arrange with the Air Force, (while the helicopter is in the air, AFB planes can't fly) so recently bait trapping has become the preferred method. But, event hough Reville horses are accustomed to low-flying aircraft, there is always the risk of one spooking the horses, which is dangerous in an enclosed space.

Reveille horses' DNA clusters with Draft horse breeds. No primary breed type. Genetically show close resemblance to herds in the Black Rock East & West herds (Winnemucca District). Why would this be? Possibly because the Black Rock herds were Cavalry Remount areas, which may have used related breeding stock.


Reveille horses from a 2016 Internet Adoption

NV620 Saulsbury

Saulsbury horse being trained at Northern Nevada Correctional Center in Carson City, Nevada


BLM info:

NV621 Paymaster-Lone Mountain

DNA results: Tennessee Walker, Old World Iberian Breeds and the Alkal Teke

NV622 Fish Lake Valley

Fish Lakes Valley horses in the wild
Photo thanks to BLM Wild Horse Specialist, Shawna Richardson

Elisa Wallace's 15.2hh horse from Fish Lake Valley tested genetically to be of mixed Arabian, Paso Fino, Hackney, and Shetland influence

Curly horse on Internet Adoption from Fish Lake Valley

NV623 Silver Peak

Silver Peak has burros as well as horses

DNA results for Silver Peak horses: Rare variants present. One not uncommon in Spanish ancestry. Low genetic variability, strong indications of inbreeding

Curly mustang from Silver Peak adopted by Kathy Mahan


NV624 Palmetto

NV625 Montezuma Peak

DNA: Brazillian breeds in a cluster with Criollo breeds.

NV626 Goldfield

NV 627 Stonewall

NV628 Gold Mountain


NV 629 Bullfrog


NV 630  Sand Springs West

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