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Northern California-Managed HMA's, N -Z
(Some are in Nevada but managed by California)

This map shows how the Northern California and Northern Nevada HMAs line up together

Also, see: California North A - M and California: Central & South

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 other mustangs 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, and individual temperament.
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 High Rock 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.





The New Ravendale HMA is located near the town of Ravendale, CA and is bordered on the east side by Highway 395. On the other side of Hwy 395 is Twin Peaks HMA. The herd management area contains 27,500 acres in Lassen County, California. The HMA has not had an AML determined, but is estimated to be approximately 25 head. The wild horses in this area are descended primarily from domestic ranch stock consisting of both draft and light horse breeds.



The Nut Mountain HMA is located 40 miles east of Cedarville, CA in Washoe County, NV. Nut Mtn is just North of High Rock HMA, West of Wall Canyon HMA, South of Sheldon USFWS Preserve, as well as Bitner HMA. The HMA is about 40,500 acres in size. The area has an AML of 55 wild horses with a range of 30-55 head. The horses in this area likely originated from historical ranching operations. This herd is made up primarily of blacks and bays with some pinto individuals.

Cody from Nut Mountain (right after adoption (above) and 6 years later (right)
Adopted and owned by Nancy Elbertson

Becky Delaney's spring 2008 Halter Project, "Brawny" from Nut Mountain

Nut Mountain lies on the border of Sheldon USFWS Pronghorn Preserve, and the horses are similar to the Sheldon horses - nice builds, colors are the basics: red, black, and bay, with some pintos, palominos and buckskins.

Internet Adoption horses from Nut Mountain

Photo of wild horses on the Red Rock Lakes range,
by Roxanne Talltree

The Red Rock Lakes HMA is located about 10 miles east of Macdoel, CA in northern Siskiyou County, California. It is entirely isolated from any other wild horse area. This HMA contains 17,000 acres on Mahogany Mountain. This area has a estimated AML of 25 wild horses. These horses may have ancestry tracing back to the Spanish Mustang. The Spanish blood lines have been diluted by a large variety of horses brought into the area by pioneering ranches. Gray and bay are predominant colors in this herd.

in 2013, Anthony Weytjens' Red Rock Lakes gelding was DNA tested by UC Davis, with results indicating primarily Irish Breed, Brazilian Breed, and Pony 3 (Shetland, Hackney).

"Brazilian Breed" is consistent with a Spanish ancestry via Spanish-operated breeding farms in Central America, which sent horses to both North and South continents. Irish Breed would include the Irish Draught, a light draft/multi-purpose horse that was very popular in the old days, ( and ponies and hackneys were popular for pulling light wagons and carriages, as well as for riding.

Red Rock Lakes includes several Appaloosa-type horses.

Sapa, Becky Delaney's halter project

Wild horses at Red Rock Lake HMA, photographed by Roxanne Taltree

photos by Roxanne Talltree

Blue Roan horse from Red Rock Lakes

Sapa from Red Rock Lakes, a halter project of Beck Seibel

These photos were taken by Stacy Snow for the 2015 Napa Mustang Days adotpion. Although the photos say "Available for Adoption" they may, by this time, not be any longer. They are being presented here as examples of horses from Red Rock Lakes HMA.

2 year old being trained by Rio Cosumnes Correctional Facility



This small area near MacDoel, California, is managed by the US Forest Service in cooperation with BLM. 

They are large horses with unusually calm temperaments and obvious draft ancestry.

When we visited Litchfield corrals, several Sisters mares came right up to us and wanted to be petted - and they had just been gathered, and not worked with at all!

Colt from Sisters. gentled by Lesley Neuman and adopted by Becky Sheridan

"Snowflake Appaloosa" horses from Three Sisters

Two handsome Sisters geldings, being trained for adoption by Ray Brown.


The Twin Peaks HMA is located approx. 25 miles northeast of Susanville, CA. Highway 395 borders the HMA to the west. The herd area contains some 798,000 acres in Lassen County, California and Washoe County, Nevada.

The HMA is managed as 5 separate home ranges which provide a home for both wild horses and burros. (and yes, they do occasionally inter-breed, creating wild mules!) Appropriate management levels have been established for this herd management area. These levels call for managing between 448-760 horses and 47-79 burros. Twin Peaks was last gathered in 2010.

Some of the original wild horses in this area descended from Spanish stock. Descendants of US Army Cavalry remounts prior to and during World War I and historic ranch stock consisting of both draft and light breeds make up most of the herd today. The wild burros likely originated from historic sheep operations in the area.

The Skedaddle Mountains area within Twin Peaks HMA also produces WILD MULES!!!

BLM Website about the 2010 Twin Peaks gather, including daily notes, adoption info, etc.

Skedaddle is the home range within Twin Peaks that produces mules, as well as some of the largest horses.


Thanks to Willis Lamm and Cindy Lawrence's "Mustang and Burro News" for this history:
The following is from a BLM E.A. 3.1.1 Herd History:
"The wild horses of the Twin Peaks HMA are descendants of introduced Spanish horses, local ranch horses and cavalry remounts (Amesbury, 1967).  It is believed that in the 1860’s two men brought 500 head of Spanish horses from San Diego, and drove some of them north to Buffalo Meadows, near Wild Horse Canyon. Descendants of these horses were captured, driven to Amedee (near Honey Lake), and shipped for use in the Boer War (1880), the Spanish-American War (1898), and World War I (1914) (Amesbury, 1967). During World War II the Marr Ranch of the Madeline plains was involved in gathering wild horses of the Twin Peaks HMA for US Army remounts. During this time local residents attempted to improve the herd quality by culling horses with undesirable traits and introducing saddle horses with desirable traits into the herds.

After the war, and the decline in demand for remounts, some local wranglers captured the horses to be sold for horsemeat and pet foods..."

In 2002, Dr. Gus Cothran, noted equine geneticist, analyzed 25 blood samples from Twin Peaks animals in holding at the Litchfield corrals. Read the whole thing HERE.

I have done my best to give a synopsis of this report below.

In 2002, BLM commissioned Dr. Gus Cothran, then of Univeristy of Kentucky (more recently, Dr. Cothran is at Texas A&M University in Texas), to perform a genetic analysis of the Twin Peaks HMA, using blood samples from 25 horses and mules. This was before DNA testing, so was done using blood markers.

Highest mean similarity for the Twin Peaks herd is with the Gaited North American Saddle Breeds, followed closely by the New World Iberian breeds.

Highest individual "S" value was with the Morgan Horse.

However, the Twin Peaks herd does not clearly resemble any specific major breed group, indicating mixed origins.

Three genetic variants were seen that are uncommon in domestic horse breeds: PGD-D, which is rare in any horse breed but does occur occasionally in many horse breeds; Pi-J, which is common in American Saddlebreds but in no other breeds; and D-dek, which indicates Spanish origins and is also common in Saddlebreds and related breeds." (d-dek is one of 4 blood markers that positively identify Spanish origin, and is the marker found in the Kiger and Carter Reservoir HMAs)

Overall genetic variation is low, which is surprising considering the large population size. In a smaller herd, this might indicate inbreeding, but that is unlikely given the herd size.

Another possible explanation is that the herd had a small founding population of mixed origins that later expanded to the current size, without much new input.

We know that Twin Peaks has 5 distinct Home Ranges, and which one the animals Dr. Cothran analyzed in 2002 I do not know, but speculate it was Skedaddle, because of the mention of mules.

Mapping of the equine genome was completed in 2007, allowing DNA testing instead of blood typing. Many adopters partake of this service by Texas A&M. Here are some results of Twin Peaks horses:


Here are some adopters' results for their Twin Peaks horses:

Christi Jacobs French: Just got my Twin Peaks gelding DNA Tested:

  • North American Gaited Saddle breeds (Rocky Mtn)

  • North American Gaited Saddle breeds (Morgan)

  • Western Europe Warmblood

Kim Marchant: My Twin Peak gelding is:

  • Morgan

  • Hackney Pony

  • Irish breeds

Claudia Valentino

DNA results in for Yuma from Twin Peaks:

  • Irish Sports Horse 

  • North American 2

  • Hackney

Cherilynn Raffone:

My Twin Peaks mare came back:

  • Paso Fino

  • QH

  • New Forest / Highland pony

Christi Jacobs French:
 Just got my Twin Peaks gelding DNA Tested:

  • North American (Rocky Mtn)

  • North American (Morgan)

  • Western Europe Warmblood


Ruby from Twin Peaks, adopted in 2000 by Mike Kerson, shown here at age 9

Aries, Sale Authority 12-year-old adopted by Katie Barrett

Rowdy, adopted by Katie Barrett as a 2-year-old

Rowdy being saddle trained

Tess Bozarth and Logan from Twin Peaks

Gracie, adopted in 2007 by the Mecchi Family, Napa, CA, and trained by 13-year-old Willow

JC from Twin Peaks

Red Sabino Twin Peaks mare adopted by Tara Flewelling of Orland

Madison, Twin Peaks mare adopted by Heather Edginton

Chevayo, adopted by Karen Mayfield

Twin Peaks mare for 2008 Western States Mustang Challenge
(Dixie LaFountain's nephew, Andy, is the trainer)

Baybea, an 11-year-old Twin Peaks mustang mare adopted as a starved 9-year-old rescue "with issues" by Jerry Barr of Paynes Creek, CA. Jerry reports the last couple of months have been very good ones, and Baybea is making excellent progress.

Symphony, Twin Peaks mare born in 2000 and adopted by Kathy Mahan

Symphony was captured in Twin Peaks HMA in July 2001 and went to Susanville, CA. Somehow she was moved to Ridgecrest, CA. and Kathy Mahan adopted her June 23 2002 at an adoption held at Pierce College in Woodland Hills CA.


Symphony’s Solstice from Twin Peaks

On a sunny Saturday in June 4 years ago, I took my daughter and her friends to a mustang adoption. It was the closest I had seen them come to West Los Angeles
. We just went to look of course. When we arrived we saw some yearlings in the first pens, some were colored, a couple of blacks, a gray. We stopped to watch some of the donkeys for a bit (The wild ones are adorable!) I moved on to the pens on the backside. Here were the 2 year olds and up, lots of bays and chestnuts. I moved down the row, trying to match the neck tags with the numbers marked as adopted.

At one of the last pens as I crouched down to read a tag, and a bay in the back dropped her head and looked right back at me. I stayed low resting my hands on the rails, and she slowly inched toward me, curious about who I was. She was probably wondering why I was all scrunched up and small. She came close enough to sniff my fingers pulling back with a puff of air when I wiggled them. Then she reached out to take another sniff.  Within minutes she let me tickle her chin, then her cheek. My knees protested with increasing pain so I stood bent over and she stayed near me. Soon she moved along the fence following my friendly fingers looking for more cheek/chin scratches.

We didn't need another horse! We were boarding the one horse we had already. Who would let us board a mustang anyway?? Or have an empty 20X20, 6-foot tall corral in Southern CA? One a single mom could afford?  It felt impossible so home we went.

I was tortured by memories of this curious, bold, intelligent girl! What a wonderful brave confident horse she would grow up to be! All night I tossed and turned. The next day I had a class, so I printed out boarding stables nearest to my home. I gave the list to my daughter and told her if you find a place we can keep her; we'll go back and get her.

She started calling and the closest were VERY expensive box stall type places. So my smart child went to the back of the list and went in reverse order and hit pay dirt. A place in the San Fernando Valley had a 24x24 stall available, and had boarded mustangs before.

I finished class and rushed home, picked up my daughter and to grab a halter. We arrived at the adoption 5 minutes before it was due to close. My daughter ran to see if she was still there as I was searching the board to see if her number was on the adopted list. It wasn't!!  They were ready to close up, and had to go ask the hauler to deliver just one more. Even after a LONG weekend of driving in LA traffic he said he would.  So I paid the $125 to adopt her, and hauled to a stable I had never even seen!

We named her Symphony Solstice to honor of the day we met her, and the change it brought about in her life, little did I know how big a change it would bring in my life.  It's been 4 years.  I have moved. I bought a house where she could live with me. Even though it meant moving away from my friends, family, and a job transfer.  We have since adopted a second mustang who is also very special to us.

Symphony is everything I imagined she would be and more. She watches over our other horses, ignoring her own fears if she thinks they are in danger. She is always the first in line to greet me.

She is mine because she chose to be, and I am hers. There is no mistaking that she claims me every time I enter her yard, her herd. She is my shoulder to lean on after a rough day; My place of instant peace.

- Kathy Mahan 

Cherilynne Raffone's Twin Peaks mare

Melinda Harrelson & Twin Peaks Doc Holliday

Dave Freeman & Twin Peaks Appaloosa

Twin Peaks gelding at Litchfield BLM Corrals - adopted by Annette Whitley

Twin Peaks Internet Adoption Horse, who became Bear, adopted by Lisa Knighton


Twin Peaks "Ms Jake" adopted by Joan Baeskens

Cheveyo, adopted by Karen Mayfield of Nevada


Twin Peaks Mare adopted by Roxanna Vickerey

Twin Peaks Clyde- adopted by Melissa Shur

Hoodoo from Twin Peaks - adopted by Lesley Neuman

Virgil, adopted by Kris

Wendee Walker and her Twin Peaks horse, Yogi

War Paint from Twin Peaks HMA.  Adopted in 2003 by Becky WInters of Colorado. Becky writes, "He is the sweetest Stallion.  I raised domestic horses for years.  I would never have owned a stallion because they can be so mean.  Mustang stallions are so different.  War Paint is my Papa Bear.  He has the best personality, and manners."
- Becky Winters, Colorado

8-year-old Twin Peaks mare adopted by Ann Souders

Yuma, adopted by Claudia Valentino


Twin Peaks Will, Lesley Neuman's "Blue Mule"

Lesley Neuman working with a 6-year-old Twin Peaks mule at an adoption

Apparently there has been some question about the origin of Twin Peak's mules, because Dr. Cothran makes a point of mentioning that one of the samples used was from a mule, and that everything about the mule's blood markers is consistent with having originated within Twin Peaks' wild horse and burro herds. In other words, the mules are not domestic runaways or recent introductions.

Wild Mules are not good adoption candidates. Even domestic mules can be more than most modern horse people can train effectively! It is the opinion of this author that wild mules should be allowed to live their lives in the wild (since they can't reproduce anyway) and should not be offered for adoption. Their chances of success are quite low.

There are some notable exceptions, however. Susan Watkins, Susan Wirgler, Kathy Sparling, and Lesley Neuman (all professional trainers or very experienced adopters) have Twin Peaks mules who are doing well. Just being a trainer or having mustang experience does not guarantee success! Way too many wild mules have endured failure after failure as they are passed from one unsuccessful trainer to another.

Susan Watkins riding Twin Peaks Walley and leading Caldwell the BLM Mule (Twin Peaks) through a Trail Trials course. Caldwell works in a pack string in the Sierras in the summer, and comes home to his owner and trainer, Sue Watkins, every winter.

Ginny & Dave Freeman adopted "ThomASS" the baby mule at the November 2006 Special Adoption in Litchfield, CA.
Although Tommy seems to be doing great in this picture, he ultimately reached a plateau in his training, which his adopter was unable to get past. He has been through at least two unsuccessful adoptions since then. Wild Mules generally do not domesticate well.

Beautiful 3-year-old mule from the 2010 Twin Peaks gather.


According to Glenna Eckel, WHB Specialist, Harry Wilson operated the Wall Canyon Ranch prior to WWII for the production of horses for the Army's remount program.

The Wall Canyon HMA is comprised of 49,000 acres in Washoe and Humboldt Counties of Nevada, just South of Sheldon USFWS and East of Massacre Lakes HMA. Warm Springs Canyon HMA is on its Eastern border. The HMA is located 46 miles east of Cedarville, CA. This HMA has an AML of 25 wild horses and a range of 15-25 animals. These horses probably originated from domestic stock from historical ranching operations. The predominant colors in this herd are black and bay. Some paint/pinto individuals also occur.

Lucca from Wall Canyon:

Lucca at the 4th of July Parade
Lucca was originally adopted as a youngster, by someone who got him saddle trained and then put out to pasture for several years. He then went through several owners, finally landing with Veronica Hammer, who loved him for a few good years. Sadly, Lucca developed some serious muscular-skeletal issues in his late teens, and had to be euthanized.

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 several that are located in Nevada but administered by California. It takes a while to download but is well worth the wait! 

Wall Canyon Internet Adoption horses

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