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Northern California-Managed HMA's, A - M

CA 263 - FOX HOG


Northern California, N - Z:




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Click here for
Nevada BLM'S "MUSTANG COUNTRY" online booklet - It's chock full of info for mustang buffs, including wild horse history, visitor tips and camping info for wild horse viewing in the Northwestern Nevada HMA's, including several that are located in Nevada but administered by California. It takes a while to download but is well worth the wait!


The Bitner HMA lies in northern Washoe County, Nevada about 40 miles east of Cedarville, CA. It lies sandwiched between the Sheldon Range USFWS on the East, and Massacre Lakes HMA on the West. Nut Mountain HMA shares its southern border, and Sheldon USFWS is North. Wild horses move freely between Bitner, Massacre Lakes, and Nut Mountain HMA's. The size of this area is 50,500 acres. This area has an AML of 25 wild horses with a range of 15-25 head. The horses in this area likely originated form historic ranching operations, and strongly resemble good ranch stock. Predominant colors in this herd are sorrels, blacks and bays with some pinto individuals. Bitner horses tend to have excellent ranch horse conformation and athletic ability, and tend to be sensitive, high energy horses - perfect for high performance disciplines.

Bitner HMA Mare featured on 2008 Internet Adoption

Bitner HMA Mare featured on 2008 Internet Adoption

Bitner gelding on 2008 Internet Adoption

Bitner gelding on 2008 Internet Adoption

Two Bitner mares at Litchfield Corrals in October 2012

Bitner mares at Litchfield Corrals in 2012

Artie from Bitner HMA, trained by Robert Carlson for an Extreme Mustang Makeover contest. Photo by Madeleine LeClerc.


Madeleine LeClerc's Watson
2007 Gelding from Buckhorn, CA
DNA test showed Welsh Pony, Standardbred, Irish Breeds


Buckhorn mare for adoption at Palomino Valley

The Buckhorn HMA is located 40 miles southwest of Cedarville, CA in Lassen County, CA and Washoe County, NV. It is bordered by Twin Peaks HMA to the South and Coppersmith HMA to the West. The are is comprised of 65,000 acres. This HMA has a AML of 85 wild horses with a range of 59-85 head. This area contains horses thought to originate from Spanish stock, diluted with ranch stock and US Cavalry remounts prior to and during World War I. The influence of the US Cavalry Remount program is especially apparent in these horses.
(See History page for more about the Cavalry Remount Program)

Comanchi from Buckhorn HMA, adopted as an older horse by Lin Amiri of Tracy, CA

3-year-old "three strikes" Buckhorn mare purchased by Cathy Barcomb, soon after the 2005 Burns Sale Authority revision to the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horse & Burro Protection Act.

At Litchfield, CA, holding facility


photo: Roxanne Talltree

There are also bay, creme, and solid-colored individuals, as well as a very few appaloosas and pintos, including the Medicine Hat pattern once prized by Native Americans.

Carter Reservoir HMA is isolated somewhat from other wild horse herds, allowing it to develop its own unique breed characteristics over time.

Cricket from Carter Reservoir, owned by Jim & Darrice Massey of Cedarville, CA

Carter Reservoir yearlings


The Carter Reservoir HMA is located in Washoe County, Nevada with a small portion located in Modoc County, California. It stands isolated from other HMA's. This area is about 23,000 acres in size. An AML for this herd is currently being established at 35 head, with a range of 25-35 head.

This herd exhibits strong "Old Spanish" coloring, including many with strong dun factors, as well as roans, and Frame Overo pinto, all of which are characteristics of horses of Old Spanish origins.

Genetic testing by Dr. Gus Cothran of the University of Kentucky has confirmed that these horses have genetic markers unique to horses of Old Iberian descent.

Overall, the herd clusters most closely with the North American Gaited Saddle breeds. Dr. Cothran states, "Based upon the combination of the similarity analysis and the variants present in the herd, it appears that the Carter Reservoir herd is derived from North American stock but that there is a Spanish component that is not through the North American breeds... The herd is likely derived from North American stock but it does appear to have some Old Spanish ancestry. "

There are only four known markers that absolutely indicate Old Spanish ancestry. The Carter Reservoir herd has two of these, plus a third that is "probably" indicative of Old Spanish ancestry. It appears to be a stable herd over recent years.

AML for this herd is quite small, and Dr. Cothran expresses concern over this, stating that genetic variation is likely to decline rapidly. The "fix" for this would be to introduce new horses from similar areas.

Carter Reservoir was last gathered in fall of 2009 and will be gathered again in 2013.

(photo: Rhonda Zinkel)
Before Rescue

(photo: Rhonda Zinkel)

After Re-Adoption & 1 year of good care

Here is Macchiato, the repo-ed starved Carter Reservoir mare that also lost her foal which Jona and Mindy Odom helped work out for me to adopt.  She was a starved 3 yr. old when I adopted her - I couldn't believe she was a 3 yr. old when I first saw her, she was so under-wt and small/short - which you can see in the 1st. pic which was her first day here (and this was after Jona had her for a month or so and then Mindy had her for a couple of months putting weight on her!)   The other pic is her less than a year later, this past summer.  She grew at least 4" in less than a year as a 3 yr. old!  Quite a transformation. 

- Rhonda Zinkel

Photo: Jim & Darrice Massey

Photo: Jim & Darrice Massey
Darrice Massey and Carter Reservoir Red Ryder
I have never had any horse or mule that I have saddled 3 times then put my foot in the stirrup. These pictures are the 4th and 5th time saddling and me getting on. The 5th saddling I started him walking around. He has never had anything but a kind look in his eye. What a kind heart he has.
- Darice

Want to Take a Guided Horseback Tour of the Carter Reservoir?
Jim Massey's Riders of The Sage is now offering Wild horse Viewing Tours!

Carter Reservoir band on the range, photographed by
Jim & Darrice Massey,

Riders of the Sage Guide Service

Scout, adopted by Skip Lang and now owned by Cathy Barcomb of Nevada.

At the capture site, 2003 gather
Pictures of before capture and at the capture site, courtesy of Lesley Neuman

Carter herd at Palomino Valley, fall 2003:


4084 - dun appaloosa



Roxanne and Elvon Talltree took these photos in late 2008 of horses in the Carter Reservoir HMA.

This band of Carter Reservoir horses includes a few domestic who were running with them at the time of the 2010 gather

Krista Koenig's Carter Reservoir horse, Fuego

Carter Reservoir horse adopted by Becky Delaney


The Coppersmith HMA lies 30 miles southwest of Cedarville, CA in Lassen County, CA and Washoe County, NV. This area is comprised of approximately 70,500 acres. This HMA has an AML of 75 wild horses with a range of 50-75 animals. This area contains horses thought to originate from Spanish stock diluted with ranch stock and US Cavalry remounts prior to and during World War I. Many of the horses in this area have characteristics common to Morgans and Quarter Horses. Predominant colors are bay, black and brown.

Like all Re-Mount areas, these horses tend to have more size than others, although there are certainly exceptions.

Penny, owned by Dave & Ginny Freeman, from Coppersmith HMA


Mojave Dreamcatcher
1992 Bay Gelding
Coppersmith HMA
Adopted June 1996 in Ridgecrest
by Cloud

This is my Coppersmith HMA mustang, Brutus. We live in Portola Valley, CA which is south of San Francisco.  He's is 16.2 hands and usually between 1350 and 1450 lbs depending on how much grass is in that pasture.  He definitely looks draft cross. 
I had heard the Coppersmith herd is rumored to have Clydesdales blood in it and he looks like he is a Clydesdale cross.  Ever heard this rumor about that herd?
He will be 10 in June and is a gentle giant.
By the way, when I got Brutus, he showed up at Save the Horses at 3.5 years and had passed hands a # of times.  His name was Uncle Sam when he came there and I changed it to Brutus as he's such a big brute.  When shown, he is The Brute of Uncle Sam.
Colleen McGuinness

This Coppersmith colt was adopted and returned to BLM. BLM Volunteers Mike & Nancy Kerson gentled and halter trained him, in hopes of finding him a good "forever" home.

Just three weeks into the project, Wendee Walker brought Julie Steel to meet the Bay Colt and the rest, as they say, is history! Here is "Chinook" with new adopter, Julie, and Annie the Horseshoer, getting his first trim of all four hooves - he couldn't have done better!

"Diamond" is from Devil’s Garden. He is now part of our family and lives happily in Marion, WI.

Rebecca Williams

"All Hallow's Eve" - yearling filly halter-trained by Nency Kerson and adopted by Sydney Blankenship



Map of Devil's Garden from resources/wildhorses.shtml
(purple line defines the wild horse territory)
The left (West) side is known for light draft-type horses. The right (East) side is known for saddle-type horses.


Kokomo, adopted by Carrie Wren

Gulliver, adopted by Stacey Coleman

2 year old red roan filly #8385 from Devil's Garden CA adopted off the May internet auction. We picked her up at Ewing Ill on June 23 2007. She was taken to the Smethport Fair on Aug 17 2007. She and Clover from Clover Mountain NV a yearling filly bought off the internet adoption, were a big hit. So many people stopped and wanted to know how to adopt. They were so impressed with how gentle and loving they both were. They were informed of the upcoming internet adoption and the Harrisburg on site adoption. - Courtney Ahlberg Kane PA

Devils Garden Internet Adoption horse

The Devil's Garden Wild Horse Territory is located five miles north of Alturas, CA in northern Modoc County, CA. This area contains some 236,000 acres and was managed for many years by the Modoc National Forest in cooperation with the BLM's Alturas Field Office. As of 2016, it is being managed solely by the US Forest Service. This HMA has an AML of 325 wild horses.

This herd used to be known for large draft-cross horses, but recent gathers have produced more light saddle-type horses.

THE SHIRE CONNECTION: My neighbor, R.F. Brown, who is from a pioneering family with long-time ties to both the Napa area as well as to Siskiyou and Modoc Counties in the far Northern part of California and Southern Oregon, tells this story of the origin of the draft influence in the Devils Garden horses: There was a man here in Napa, last name of Wheatley, who raised and bred Shire draft horses. A man from the X-S (I think that was the name) ranching company in Alturas bought a bunch of these, driving them all the way up to Alturas. They released the stallions into the range in the area now known as Devils Garden, to mate with the local wild stock, and they used the offspring as needed in their ranching operation.

POINT OF REFERENCE: This is a Shire draft horse. This is "Hank" a purebred registered Shire owned by Martha Conlin.

The Forest Service provides management lead on this territory, with the Bureau of Land Management conducting the gathering operations and placement of animals into the adoption program.

From the US Forest Service Website
(click here to read the whole thing)

"Wild horses have been present on the Devil’s Garden Plateau for more than 130 years. Many of the early horses escaped from settlers during the Indian Wars or were released when their usefulness as domestic animals ended. In later years, local ranchers turned horses out to graze and then gathered them as needed. It is believed that three different ranches, which had permitted horses on the National Forest, greatly influenced the current herd composition. Draft breeds influenced the horses in the west portion of the territory. Lighter riding breeds influenced the horses in the east portion of the territory."

Dr. Katie Blunk's Devil's Garden "Ole' Blue Eyes"

Michelle DeCamp's "Modoc" from Devil's Garden

Devils Garden Blue Velvet, adopted by Karen Floyd

Joan Baeskens' Devils Garden mare, Shawnay

Mona Maize from Devils Garden, owned by Jessica

Loretta Jones and her Devils Garden horse, Mikki. Loretta bought this horse as a trained 12-year-old, back in 1990. He was captured before the current system of neck brands came into place. His brand is "C-2." Mikki is now retired and living in Northern California. Loretta describes him as very smart, calm, and the best trail horse ever.

Devils Garden Leroy at work

Melissa Mattis and Aidan from Devils Garden

Satin from Devils Garden, adopted by Richard Oxios

Janice Owens and her two Devils Garden HMA mares, adopted in 2007

Janet Titus working with Al Owens' "Ellie" at the 2009 Napa Mustang Days

Cathy Ruprecht's Devil's Garden mare

Extreme Mustang Makeover horse assigned to trainer Angela Faulkner

Joanie, adopted by Tabitha Mitchell

Whispering Pines Mustang Sally,
adopted & trained by Dwight Bennett
From the USFS Website resources/wildhorses.shtml (this is just a hint of all the interesting info on this website - check it out to learn more about the history of the Devils Garden horses):

Historically, wild horses have been found on the Devils Garden Plateau for more than 130 years. Many of these  horses escaped from settlers during the Indian wars or were released when their usefulness as domestic animals ended.

In later years, like many areas throughout the west, local area ranchers turned horses out to graze and then gathered them, as they were needed.

Record high numbers of horses were bred for the military during World War I.

Today the Devil’s Garden Horses are one of the most popular horses in the BLM’s adoption program. Most the horses (Devil’s Garden RD) are classified as light draft and are a favorite with packers and wagon users as well as those wanting a sturdy, calm-tempered saddle horse.

The finer boned horses (Doublehead RD) are popular for both Endurance riders and those wanting good working stock.

Devil's Garden Research Natural Area (RNA)
Located west of Goose Lake in the Devil's Garden Ranger District, this RNA was established in February 1933. At 5,000 feet elevation, the Devil's Garden RNA consists of 800 acres of open stands of Western Juniper -with sagebrush, bitterbrush, rabbitbrush, bunchgrasses, and annuals on an expansive plateau littered with volcanic rock. The RNA is not fenced, but signs are posted along the perimeter. Basalt flows occurring in north to northwest block-faults are traceable by the more dense growth of juniper in that area. Frost mounds 40 to l00 feet in diameter are common in the RNA; this is unusual since frost mounds normally occur at higher elevations or farther north. (from )

The Modoc NF's Devils Garden Plateau Wild Horse Territory is comprised of roughly 236,000 acres. Included are portions of 10 grazing allotments on the Doublehead and Devils Garden Ranger Districts. A population objective of 305 horses was established in the 1980 Herd Management Plan and the 1991 Modoc Forest Plan.

Devils Garden is aptly named. While the terrain is relatively flat, horses range through a rough and rocky lava plateau. Stock water is often limited. Juniper encroachment has steadily decreased the amount of forage available for use, and soils are typically characterized with a hardpan sub straight restricting water percolation, resulting in low forage production potential. During the early winter before ground freezes up and during spring thaw there is high potential for soil compaction.

Devils Garden horses in the wild (USFS photos)



The Fox Hog HMA (CA-263) is located approximately 45 miles southeast of Cedarville, CA in Washoe County, NV. It borders two very colorful Nevada herds - Granite Range and Calico Mountains, on its eastern side. Like those HMA's, Fox Hog produces a great deal of color beyond the usual bays, browns, reds, and blacks. "Metallic" looking golden buckskins are somewhat unique to this area, for reasons not currently known.

The area is comprised of 119,000 acres. An AML 220 wild horses (with a range of 120 to 220) horses has been established for this area through the evaluation of monitoring data. This area contains horses from a variety of breeds with some displaying draft horse characteristics.

Fox Hog Sammy, owned by Tania Bennett
15.3 hh and very gentle

Fox Hog Windy, adopted by Andi Brinson

This is "Liberty Roo" my Mustang.  She is a 1998 Mare out of Fox Hog HMA. - Sheryl Brandmeyer

Randy Stark & Fox Hog Jake

Reka, adopted by Ginny Freeman

Buster, adopted by Tania Bennett

Fox Hog Tule adopted by Erica Williamson

Fox Hog stud horse

Hobo from Fox Hog

Fox Hog Internet Adoption horse

BLM wrangler, Grant Locke's large 16.1 hand Mustang is from Fox Hog HMA.
-photo by Jeff Fontana

Fox Hog mare

Fox Hog Redrock, at 2 years over 15 hands tall. Redrock is being trained by BLM volunteer Becky, for re-adoption

Dixie LaFountaine's mare for the 2008 Western States Mustang Challenge

Zapata from Fox Hog adopted by Judi Moore

Zapata at 2 years old

Zapata in saddle training

Fox Hog (and perhaps others) at Litchfield Corrals in October 2012

November, 2011 Fox Hog Gather - Photos by Amy Dumas:

Mares at 2011 Fox Hog gather, November, 2011




Studs at 2011 Fox Hog gather:



Rocky from Ft. Sage
adopted by Terry Garcia


The Fort Sage HMA is located approximately 40 miles southeast of Susanville, CA just east of the town of Doyle, CA. This herd area covers approximately 15,000 acres and is managed in cooperation with the BLM's Carson City, Nevada District. The appropriate management level (AML) is estimated to be approximately 65 head.


Photo: Rhonda Zinkel

Click here for Nevada BLM'S "MUSTANG COUNTRY" booklet - chock full of info for mustang buffs, including wild horse history, visitor tips and camping info for the Northwestern HMA's, including this one and several others that are located in Nevada but administered by California. It takes a while to download but is well worth the wait!

Ruger adopted by Brittany McConnell

The High Rock HMA (CA-264) consists of approximately 115,000 acres and is located about 45 miles north of Gerlach, NV and 45 miles southeast of Cedarville, CA. This area is located entirely within Washoe County, NV, and it adjoins Calico Mountains HMA, which is administered by the Winnemucca, NV district..

High Rock borders Fox Hog HMA and Calico Mountains HMA, on the South. On the North and East, it shares borders with Nut Mountain HMA, Wall Canyon HMA, and Black Rock West HMA. High Rock HMA is managed as 2 separate home ranges, with an AML of 40 (range of 30-40) animals established for the East of Canyon Home Range and an AML of 80 (range of 48-80) head established for the Little High Rock Home Range. 

Some of the horses in this area exhibit Spanish mustang characteristics.

Brittany McConnell had her High Rock horse DNA-tested and his top three breed resemblances are:
1. Non-Arabian Oriental
2. Heavy Draft - Belgian
3. North American - Morgan/Saddlebred

Tika, adopted by Tori Seavey

Tika, adopted by Tori Seavey

"Penny" adopted by RF Brown, Napa, CA,
Gentled by Michael & Nancy Kerson
Sold to Midori Morgan, who became a Mustang convert and a TIP Trainer!

Blue (above), and Shasta (below) both High Rock youngsters halter-trained by BLM volunteer Becky Delaney for adoptions in 2007. Blue is re-named "Lumos" and is owned by Tara Flewelling, who competes in trail trials with him.


Romeo from High Rock HMA - adopted and owned by Linda Thomas

The new adopter for Shasta (at right with trainer Becky Delaney)

McGavin Peak (USFS) near McDoel, CA
The McGavin Peak Wild Horse Territory (WHT)

AML: 0

J. Edelen writes: Here is one of my 3 mustangs.  He was captured in the McGavin Peak HMA near Macdoel, CA back in 2003.  He was foaled in 2002.  He is a great horse that we ride in the mountains and I pony my other mustang little sioux behind him on pack trips.  He is very stable and sure footed and always thinks things through before acting.  He stands around 15 hands now but has room to grow a little still.




McGavin Peaks photos of the last McGavin Peaks gather, by Roxanne Talltree:

"Black Filly" halter-trained by Nancy Kerson originally as a TIP project; Adopted by Nancy & Mike Kerson in 2014.


The McGavin Peak Wild Horse Territory was located in California about 7 miles east of Dorris. Both the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management lands are scattered tracts, which cannot support a sustainable herd, so the herd was zeroed out.


Large herds were found near McGavin Peak since at least the early 1900’s. The source of the original horses in this area is unknown. However, many horses escaped or were released by ranchers, miners, and soldiers, which mixed with the existing herds. Indications are that in the 1930’s some American Standardbreds mixed with the existing herd.

Periodic round-ups occurred in the early history of this herd. Large round-ups occurred in the 1930’s and 1940’s. The “good” horses were kept for domestic stock, and the “poor” horses were sold for pet food. This herd was also subject to much recreational horse chasing. The horses would be run through fences, and in the process a few horses would be killed or crippled. When the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act was passed in 1971, protecting the horses from harassment, estimated herd numbers in the McGavin Peak territory were around 30 horses. Bays and browns were the dominant colors.
(taken from USFS website)

At this point, the herd has been zeroed out, due to too much intermixing with private land.

For More Information

Contact the Goosenest Ranger District at 530-398-4391.
(from resources/wildhorses.shtml )


The Massacre Lakes HMA lies in northern Washoe County, Nevada. It is about 30 miles east of Cedarville, CA, and shares its eastern border with Bitner HMA. The area is 40,700 acres in size. An AML for this herd has not been established but is estimated to be 20 head. The horses in this area likely originated from historical ranching stock and are mostly sorrel or bays.

Massacre Lakes landscape, photo by Rhonda Zinkel



Large herds were found near Three Sisters since at least the early 1900’s. The source of the original horses in this area is unknown. However, many horses escaped or were released by ranchers, miners, and soldiers, which mixed with existing herds. Indications are that in about 1950 a thoroughbred stud was released into the herd.

Over the years this and other herds were used to replenish local ranch stock and to provide supplemental income for the local ranchers. During World War I, large numbers of horses from the Three Sisters area were rounded up and sold to the Army.

Though a small, isolated herd, the Three Sisters horses are valued by adopters for their sturdy bone structure and gentle temperaments.

The Three Sisters WHT is managed for an appropriate management level of 15 horses.


Sisters horses adopted by Ray Brown

Mike Kerson makes friends with a recently gathered wild mare from Sisters WHT at Litchfield Corrals.


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 and Owyhee 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.

If you wish to know more about your horse or burro's ancestry, please also read the HISTORY section.

Wild Horse & Burro Habitat Areas:

BLM-Managed Wild Horse & Burro Herd Management Areas:
Arizona  California  Colorado  Idaho  Montana  Nevada  New Mexico  Oregon  Utah
BLM Holding & Adoption Centers Long-Term Holding Facilities

Non-BLM Wild Horse Areas:
Atlantic Coast  Central USA 
State of Nevada Dept. of Agriculture (Reno-Area Comstock/Virginia Range "Estrays")
US Forest Service Wild Horse Territories  Sheldon USFWS 

Wild Horse Areas not included in this website: Indian Reservations, Private Lands