For maps and more at:
US Forest Service Wild Horse Territories

The Carson City BLM Field Office includes the following Herd Management Areas: (Herds # 300's)

NV301 Flanigan

NV302 Dogskin Mtn

NV303 Granite Peak

NV304 PahRah

NV305 Pine Nut Mountains

NV306 Lahontan

NV307 Horse Mountains

NV308 Horse Springs

NV309 South Stillwater

NV310 Clan Alpine

NV311 Augusta Mountains (Augusta Mountains is the exception here: It is managed by the Winnemucca Office)

NV312 Wassuk

NV313 Garfield Flat

NV314 Pilot Mountains

NV315 Gabbs Valley

NV316 Marietta Wild Burro Range

NV317 Montgomery Pass (USFS)

NV318 Powell Mtn (USFS)

NV319 Tule Ridge/Mahogany Flat

NV301 Flanigan

Bravo, adopted by Joseph and Amanda Wilder, Asheville, NC
He is 15.3 hands tall, very drafty.
Extremely smart! Adopted as a 5 year old via Internet Adoption.


Flanigan (NV301) and Fort Sage (managed by California) are adjoining and the horses intermingle freely. They are located 35 miles North of Reno. Horses in this area are large boned and resemble small draft horses such as the Freisian. Due to rough terrain, the animals are sure-footed and hardy.

NV301 Flanigan
Donoma is a 6 year old mustang mare.  14 hands tall and very Drafty. She is currently "in school" with me, we are taking the John Lyons apprenticeship together and loving it! - Melissa Bucy

NV302 Dogskin Mtn

Dogskin Mtns is located about 30 miles North of Reno, and the entire HMA is very rocky and mountainous, resulting in very sound, sure-footed horses. It is a small are with an AML of only 15 animals. The mare pictured at right is the exception, but most Dogskin Mtn horses are solid colored and are reported toresemble the Morgan horse breed in appearance.

NV303 Granite Peak

Trainer Ben Bowman  IN  Horse gathered from Granite Peak HMA

Granite Peak is located adjacent to Dogskin Mtn, and the 2 herd areas are managed together. AML for Granite Peak is 18 animals. Like Dogskin Mtn, Granite Peak is steep and rocky, resulting in surefooted horses.

NV304 PahRah (zeroed in 1985)

NV305 Pine Nut Mountains

We visited Palomino Valley in August of 2003, and saw the intriguing, diminuitive Pine Nut herd. The Pine Nuts are small, very very cute, and have all the colors that ponies have - like chocolate and silver dapples and champagne - as well as the usual horse colors.

There are several theories on the origins of the Pine Nut herd. The first is that they are descendants of Shetland ponies used in the mines and bred locally by a Shetland breeder, into the 1940's. When the breeder retired, he simply released them into the wild, where they mixed with local wild horses.

Cathy Barcomb of the Wild Horse Commission says this about the Pine Nut horses:
"Thank you Nancy for posting the photos and generating interest in these special horses. They tend to be on the smaller side. It is my understanding, in the 1940's a person(s) had turned loose a large group of Shetland ponies. Through years of breeding the Pine Nut Herd Management Area was better known for these smaller horses. They don't look like true Shetlands because of the horse mix. The result was just a smaller size horse. They would be great POA type horses, they are strong horses and have incredible stamina and good conformation, just smaller. They tend to be 13-14 hands and some up to 14.2"

This is a Shetland Pony. Pine Nut horses do not look like Shetland Ponies. They have a completely horse-like, not pony-like, body shape and bone structure.

Another theory comes from a local retired brand inspector who was born and raised in Pine Nut Country. He says the Shetland theory is incorrect. He says they are very "Old Spanish" in type and size, and that they never mixed with other horses, so they are more likely a relatively pure group of ancient lineage.

Yet another theory is that they are descended from some kind of small horse or pony used in the Comstock Tunnel mines, to pull ore out of the deep, narrrow mine tunnels. Small horses and ponies have a long history of serving in mines in Greaat Britain and mainland Europe. It is also known that a strain of very tough ponies or small horses, possibly Exmoors, were imported from Great Britain to work in the Comstock mines.
Historical photo of a British miner with a Shetland pony.

So I decided to find out if DNA analysis could shed some light on this unique herd's history. In 2009, I pulled from my Pine Nut Pony, 36 mane hairs with hairbulb attached, and sent them to Dr. Gus Cothran. He analyzed it, and added the info to the analysis he had done for BLM with the 2003 gather. The results are fascinating, although they raise as many questions as they answer.

The herd has very low genetic variability, despite being fairly large in numbers. The likely reason is that at some point back in time, the herd was very small, so all animals are descended from that small original genepool. The herd also is unique among wild horse herds - it does not genetically show a relationsip to any other known, tested wild horse herd. The living domestic breeds that the herd resembles most closely in genetic type are the South American Criollos and similar breeds of known Old Spanish ancestry, and the Exmoor Pony.

Herd of Exmoor Ponies in England

This latter fact is fascinating to me, since Exmoors are a very ancient breed.

These test results support the old brand inspector's history more than any of the others, although the possibility of Shetland blood is not entirely ruled out - but not obviously supported either.

Compare the size of the Pine Nut mares (left) and this Calico Mountain mare (right) eating from the same type of hay feeder at the same facility. You can see that the Pine Nut mares barely can reach the feeder, whereas the normal-sized mare can easily pull hay out of the middle and upper sections of the feeder.

Four-Socks Baby: His necktag number is #3687 (or 3887? can't tell for sure)

Nine-Year-Old pregnant red dun mare.

Flaxen Chestnut mare with Strawberry Roan baby

Mares and foals

A nice Rabicano stud

More mares & foals - most of these mares are barely tall enough to reach the feeders.

Internet Adoption Pine Nut Pony


What can you do with a Pine Nut Mustang? ANYTHING!!!
Meet Jessi and Manny - a Pine Nut Adopter and Her Horse:

Jessi, a Florida adopter, with her Pine Nut HMA mustang, Manny - the beautiful black 14.2hh horse at far right. Jessi takes Manny to clinics, adoptions, and other horse events, where Manny is a model "spokes-horse" for the BLM Adopt-A-Horse program.

Jessi describes Manny as "just the best horse"  - very intelligent, affectionate, devoted, and sturdy. She likes his size - it's easy to get on and off without a mounting block.

Thanks to Gwilda Byrd for the photos, and to Jessi for answering my inquiry about the Pine Nut horses.

"ButterCup" a Pine Nut Pony gentled and saddle trained at the Warms Springs Correctional Facility's Wild Horse Program in Carson City, Nevada.

Sandra Schluter's Pryor Mtn (left) and Pine Nut (right) horses.

"Here is a picture of Shadow our 8 yr old Pine Nut horse on a 60 mile pack trip to Yosemite this summer.  Ray packed him, but he does ride him quite a bit as his second horse both here in Gardnerville and in the Sierra's! We also have Shadow's 3 yr old 1/2 brother who will be started this coming spring as he was a late bloomer. 
Another tidbit is that the BLM says that Shetland Ponies were released into the Pine Nuts years ago thus the horses are smaller. 

That said, I met a brand inspector who is in his late 60's and was born and raised close to the Pine Nuts.  He told me that that is not true and that the Pine Nut horses were probably closer to Spanish horses, being smaller and short coupled.  He used to capture and break and sell Pine Nut colts when he was a kid and never saw nor heard the pony story.  Did say that the horses were not mixed with local ranchers horses thus being closer to true Spanish Mustangs.  Makes sense to me!!!"

Sheila Schwadell


In 2007, I adopted one! Here he is:

Piney the Pine Nut Pony (click to read about him)

Piney is the little bay, standing at the trailer with three normal sized Mustangs.

Pine Nut Spirit

Pine Nut Spirit

My new Pine Nut Pony

picked up 11-25-2007

This little guy was one of three weanlings that was picked up with a band that wandered into a residential neighborhood in the Minden-Gardnerville area.  He was fully processed by BLM including receiving his vaccinations, interstate health certificate, brand certificate and being gelded before being turned over to the Fish Springs Posse.  The Posse volunteers got permission to bring them to California for placement as Nevada is in "horse overload."

The other two more colorful ponies were adopted but poor Piney, a plain bay, found himself a 2-striker in his first month in California. So I took him, sight unseen - with the help of Edona Miller, who brought him down from Litchfield for me. First he was a halter project, but I quickly realized I wanted to keep him, so I adopted him in December, 2007. He is the smartest, fastest-learning horse I have ever known!

Nancy Kerson

My Pine Nut Pony at age 2, December, 2008

Piney and Sparky

Piney's "First Ride" at age 3


Wild Pine Nut horses photographed by Kathy Port

Wild Pine Nut studs photographed by Kathy Port

Wild Pine Nut band photographed by Kathy Port

Wild Pine Nut Stallion photographed by Kathy Port

Pine Nut horses at Palomino Valley in November, 2008

NV306 Lahontan

Lahontan horses in the wild - photo by Tommy Crockett

Lahontan Joe

Gentle Ben from Lahontan HMA, adopted by Sharon Kipping

AML is 7 - 10 animals. The HMA is known for its high percentage of pintos as well as buckskins.

Lahontan Horses at PVC, 2004-2005

Grullo colt with star on forehead

buckskin pinto colt


NV307 Horse Mountains


NV308 Horse Springs
(zeroed in 2000)

NV309 South Stillwater


NV310 Clan Alpine

AML: 612 - 979 animals

Clan Alpine has a healthy population of mountain lions, resulting in low annual population increase to the horses, and many areas are populated primarily with older horses. The horses are solid =colored, bay, or gray in color, and they test genetically to be related to the Quarter Horse, Morgan, and Saddlebred.


NV311 Augusta Mountains
(Augusta Mountains is the exception here: It is managed by the Winnemucca Office; See Winnemucca Page)

Jack, adopted by Edona Miller


NV312 Wassuk


NV313 Garfield Flat

Garfield Flat mare

Weanling on Internet Adoption

NV314 Pilot Mountains

Bandit from Pilot Mountain

He was caught in January 2005.  We call him Bandit and adopted him this past January.  His papers say he is 3 years old. 
- Jessie in KY

Pilot Mtn colt being halter-trained for adoption at Palomino Valley

Pilot Mountains was partially gathered in winter of 2005-2006 and when winter conditions prevented the gather from continuing it was stopped, and then resumed and finished in July of 2006.








NV315 Gabbs Valley
zeroed in 1987

NV316 Marietta


Wild Burro Range

NV317 Montgomery Pass (USFS)

This herd's population is perfectly balanced with its environment - mountain lions keep the population from getting out of control. As a result, this herd has never been gathered.

This is such a rare ecological phenomenon that UC Davis takes students on a study trip each spring. Several private pack stations also take visitors to this region.


Photo from Rock Creek Pack Station website. This pack station takes people on horseback tours to see the Montgomery Pass mustangs

NV318 Powell Mtn (USFS)


NV319 Tule Ridge/Mahogany Flat

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