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Ely Field Office

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US Forest Service Wild Horse Territories
(numbered # 400 - 413 and #500 - 523)

Wild horse from Silver King Complex
on February, 2016 Internet Adoption

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.

The Ely District Field Office recently changed their HMA's, combining many into a few complexes. The Bureau of Land Management also zeroed out 11 herds in the Ely district in 2009. These included the "Seaman Complex" herds of Seaman, White River, Caliente, and others in Lincoln and Nye Counties.

The New Mega-HMA's:

1,225,000 Acres
AML 250 to 518
Includes Buck and Bald, Butte and Cherry Creek, as well as USFS WHT Cherry Springs HMAs

855,000 Acres
AML 240 to 493
Includes Monte Cristo and Sand Springs East HMAs

670,000 Acres
AML 100-210
Includes  Deer Lodge Canyon and Wilson Creek HMAs
606,000 Acres
AML 60-128
Includes Dry Lake, Rattlesnake, and Highland Peak HMAs.
DIAMOND HILLS NORTH (NV104) ,  DIAMOND (NV 609) and DIAMOND HILLS SOUTH (NV412) are being managed as a complex involving three different BLM administrative districts. The three HMA's are contiguous and unfenced, so the horses move between the three freely.

Here is a map of the Nevada Ely District's New
Wild Horse Herd Management Areas.


The new HMAs in relation to the old Herd Areas.
The Herd Areas are outlined in the darker gray patches.


The Original Ely District HMA's and HA's:



Although Spaniards brought horses with them to the Nevada area in the 1500's and 1600's, it wasn't until settlement began in the 1800's that wild horse herds began to develop in this area to any great extent. Many animals were abandoned as during times of economic failure or drought, forcing the settlers off the land. Others were brought there by ranchers, and allowed to roam the range at will, and then the ranchers would periodically go round them up and capture the ones they wanted to train for ranch work.

One source of today's 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, 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.

Story about Curly Mustangs from the Eureka area

Herd Management Areas known to produce Curlies:

  • Fish Creek (near Eureka, NV)
  • Black Rock East (NV)
  • Salt Wells Creek(WY)
  • Monte Cristo (NV-USFS)
  •  probably several more but these are the ones I know about

One theory regarding the origin of the Curlies is that rancher Tom Dixon imported curly horses from northern India to Nevada around 1880. There is a local verbal story of him importing 3 Curly horses, two mares in foal and one stallion, from India that came through the Khyber Pass to Nevada in late 1880’s or early 1900’s. Two curly stallions were born and one was released in the Buckskin area and the other in Long Valley, White Pine county. In the account related by Albert Laird, he believes this is the source of the Damele Curly mustangs found near Eureka, NV. So far no one has been able to prove or disprove this story Although this theory cannot be fully proved or disproved, the Curly horse was already present in America by that time. Evidence shows that Sioux Indians had Curly horses as early as 1801-02 and in his 1848 autobiography circus master, P. T. Barnum, writes of obtaining and exhibiting a curly horse .

Tom Dixon imported many breeds to his ranches to breed with local Mustangs that he used as his broodmares. from The International Curly Horse Organization's website).

The Damele family of Eureka, Nevada, started breeding curly horses in the 1930's from locally-caught curly mustangs, and they are credited with founding the domestic Curly breed.

Kumi and his adopter, Pam Stoddard, winning Costume class at the Reno Wild Horse & Burro Expo in 2005. Kumi is from one of "The Diamonds" (Diamond Hills, Diamond Hills North, or Diamond Hills South) though I'm not sure which one. Kumi was adopted by Pam the day after the 2004 Expo, so that is pretty impressive progress!
This is my little girl, she is now 18mos old. I got her when she was 14mos. old. She has adapted well with our other horse. She is so wonderful, just one of gods loving creatures, she came from Nevada, Ely area. Just wanted to share her with you.

Thanks Frank Mongue Alfred,Maine

NV401 Antelope

This is Sioux She is an 8 year old mustang trained through the Wild Horse Inmate Program (WHIP)  She was captured from the Antelope range Dec. 13, 1999. We adopted her in March 2003.  She is stubborn but we love her. Becky Winters Colorado

Kathleen Carasco of Indiana adopted this Antelope HMA horse. At 7 years old he is 14.1 hands high, lean and spirited.

Fargo was halter trained by Sandy Davitt for the 2008 Nevada Yearling Challenge


NV402 Monte Cristo
AML:236 now part of
Monte Cristo has Curly mustangs.

Monte Cristo geldings in holding facility

(The white one was later adopted by Tania Bennett of CA)

Honeysuckle Rose, aka “Rosie”
adopted  sept 1995 from monte cristo NV402 (she was born approx 93) 

She is the one that got me hooked on first horse

- Diane Fisher of MO


Monte Cristo horses in holding


NV403 Buck & Bald
AML 423 (Triple B Complex)

Buck & Bald HMA includes 4 parallel valleys, with mountain ranges bordering them: Long Valley, Ruby Valley, Huntington Valley, and Long Valley. The area is characterized by extremes of temperature (ranging from minus 30 in winter to 110 in summer) and extremely low rainfall.

The horses tend to be in the 14 - 15 hand size range, with a variety of colors, mainly the solid colors of bay, black, & red, with some buckskins, palominos, and sabinos.

The horses are believed to be descended from Pony Express and Cavalry remounts, as well as local ranch stock. The Buck & Bald horses make excellent pack string horses and versatile ranch horses.

Buck & Bald produces some Curly horses.


This is Nevada's Handsome Boy.  He is from Buck and Bald NV 403.  He is a six year old registered as a sorrel, but has definitely darkened with age.  He is my joy and well perfect in every way. 

Thank you
Sefra Schwab age 14


Dakota from Buck & Bald (Darla in Oklahoma, adopter)

Rhyia from Buck & Bald (Joyce Turner, adopter)

Palomino baby from Buck & Bald at Palomino Valley in 2001


Madonna, owned by Damien McGinnis

Capture Date: February 1986
Buck and Bald (NV403) Other  Info:
Palamino with light dorsal stripe, white star, stripe and snip. 14 hands.
Currently in Shadow Hills, CA, adopted out of Susanville, CA.
Owner: Damien McGinnis

Misty Bleu, adopted by Suzi Kicker
3 yr Lakota's Dream Mist
Buck & Bald herd
captured in fall 2006, adopted July 2007

-AJ Sutton


NV404 Wilson Creek
AML 160 now part of Eagle HMA

Whisper, adopted by Tom & Mitzi Nevin

Whisper, adopted by Tom & Mitzi Nevin, being trained by Ryan Coaxum

Lee from Wilson Creek & Rebecca Florio


NV405 Sand Springs East
AML 257 now part of

NV406 Cherry Creek (Triple B Complex)

Benny from Cherry Creek, part of Triple B Complex

NV407 Butte
AML 95 (Triple B Complex)

Butte HMA horse trained by Angie Robertson for the 2007 Extreme Mustang Makeover

Butte HMA horse trained by Jesus Castillo for the 2007 Extreme Mustang Makeover
Earl (Duke of Earl) from Butte (NV407) Born in 2005, captured July 23, 2005. Adopted by Judy Ballenger June 23, 2007, as a 2 yr old.

Earl at adoption

Earl in Spring 2008, 5th or 6th time under saddle. Watching the traffic come and go next to the highway.

Ericka Schelstraete Savage and her Butte HMA horse


NV408 Jake's Wash
AML 21



NV409 White River
AML 90

Audrey, is my colt's dam.  She is currently residing at Lifesavers Wild Horse Rescue in Lancaster, CA.  She is approximately 12 years old and was brought in by the BLM from the White River HMA (NV 409) in February 2005, very pregnant with my colt, who was born at the Ridgecrest facility.  They were both then transported to Lifesavers and I adopted him in August 2005. 

 Audrey's colt, Spirit Dancer, is now 14 months old and thriving.

I hope to ride endurance with him when he matures.  I am thrilled to have him as my equine partner, and would highly recommend mustangs to anyone who appreciates superb horses.

Thank you,
Barbara Edwards
Frazier Park, CA


NV410 Dry Lake
AML 94
Now part of Silver King HMA

NV411 Seaman
AML 159

The Seaman herd was gathered on an emergency basis in 2012-2013 due to extreme drought on the HMA.


NV412 Diamond Hills South
AML 22

Scruffy from Diamond Hills South


DIAMOND HILLS SOUTH (NV412) is being managed as part of the Diamond Complex, with  DIAMOND (NV 609) and DIAMOND HILLS NORTH (NV104) - 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.

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.


NV413 Moriah
AML 29

NV 414 Eagle Complex

670,000 Acres
AML 100-210
Includes  Deer Lodge Canyon and Wilson Creek HMAs

NV490 Schell Creek

NV491 Maverick-Butte


NV494 Golden Gate

NV496 Fortification

HMA's # 500 - 523

NV501 Eldorado Mtns (zeroed)



NV502 Gold Butte
(Burros only)

NV503 Muddy Mountains

NV504 Red Rock
(formerly Red Rock & Bird Springs)

Chance from Red Rock, adopted by Betsy Cambareri


Red Rock Shazaam

NV505 Blue Diamond

NV506 Potosi & Mt. Sterling
zeroed in 1999)

NV507 Wheeler Pass
(formerly called Lucky Strike - now administered by USFS)

Jill Hokansen Carr and Wheeler Pass Willow, an award-winning Endurance mustang
NV509 Ash Meadow (zeroed)

NV508 Johnnie
(formerly called Mt. Sterling & Wallace Canyon)

NV510 Johnnie
(was Last Chance)

This is confusing - Two "Johnnies"?

Internet Adoption horse form Johnnie HMA


NV511 Armagosa Valley (zeroed)  

NV512 Mormon Mountains (zeroed in 1998)

NV513 Meadow Valley Mountains

NV514 Blue Nose Peak (Caliente)

NV 515 Delamar

CLICK HERE for a BLM flyer about Delamar HMA


We adopted "Beau"  on July 22nd 2007.

He is a beautiful bay gelding with 3 white socks and a white blaze. He is between 3 and 4 years old  ( Vet says 3 - still has some baby teeth), BLM says 4.
According to the data he was captured on Feb 27th 2006 from the Delamar area of Nevada.
I am not sure where he was for this year and a half, but he was branded in Ridgecrest Calif, and I adopted him from Pillsbury Ranch ( Joan Embrey's place ) where they were holding the Mustang and Burro sale.
His number is 03179590
Within 2 days I could take his lead rope off, though he still lives in his halter  ( they said he was horrid to get it on ).  He leads very well, with very few spooks and so we are able to turn him out in the round pen.  Thru trial and error we discovered that the arena's fence is not high enough, as he sailed over it as pretty as can be, but we did catch him in under 2 minutes.  Did I mention he LOVES carrots, lol. 
Although still unsure about being pet, Beau is very friendly.  Easy to go in and clean his pen, though he does like to help and has dumped the wheelbarrow over 2 times.
Anyway,  Here are some photos of him to use on your site if you are still updating.  I notice that there are not any photos of horses from his area.  If you can use them, but need higher res, let me know which ones and I will send as attachment instead.  First one is before he jumped over the fence ;)
Steph Doerr


NV516 Clover Mountains


Clover from Clover Mountain NV, a yearling filly adopted via the internet adoption by Courtney Ahlberg, Kane PA
NV517 Clover Creek (Caliente)(zeroed) 

NV518 Applewhite

zeroed out

NV519 Little Mountain


NV520 Miller Flat


Shazam from Miller Flat

NV521 DEER LODGE CANYON  Now part of Eagle HMA

Bob (HowDoYouLikeMeNow), 2008 Extreme Makeover horse, from Deer Lodge Canyon (NV521). Born in 2005, captured Feb 19, 2007. Adopted by Judy Ballenger in Sept 2008.


Bob leading the way on his second trail ride, Aug 2, 2008 (The Katy Trail, Sedalia, MO.). I'd been riding him for less than 2 weeks at this point.

NV522 Highland Peak

Now part of Silver King HMA

NV523 Rattlesnake

Now part of Silver King HMA



NV523 Silver King Complex

606,000 Acres
AML 60-128
Includes Dry Lake, Rattlesnake, and Highland Peak HMAs


Silver King horses on a 2016 Internet Adoption

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