DVD or VHS (2-DVD or 2-VHS set) almost 3 hours of instruction!
$39.95 plus $5 shipping/handling = $44.95 total
Lesley Neuman: The First Touch Gentling Your Mustang $45.00
Lesley works with 3 wild horses at a BLM adoption, and very clearly explains what is happening, what she is doing, & what she sees in each horse as it progresses. Study this video and you can learn "pressure and release" gentling techniques to gentle your own new mustang!
Help for Burro adopters! Crystal Ward Donkey Training
All the basics of gentling, handling, and training. A MUST for new burro adopters! Good for domestic donkeys, too!
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 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. Predominant colors in this herd are sorrels, blacks and bays with some pinto individuals.
Bitner HMA Mare featured on 2008 Internet Adoption
Bitner HMA Mare featured on 2008 Internet Adoption
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)
3-year-old "three strikes" Buckhorn mare purchased/saved by Cathy Barcomb, under the 2005 "3 strikes you're out" revision to the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horse & Burro Protection Act.
This horse's only "crime" was being sent to three adoptions with more horses than adopters. She is beautiful, gentle, smart, and perfect in every way. She was gentled by Lynda Sanford (pictured) and now lives with Cathy Barcomb of Reno, NV.
At Litchfield, CA, holding facility
Comanchi from Buckhorn HMA, adopted as an older horse by Lin Amiri of Tracy, CA
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.
Many of the horses in this area look much like the Kiger herd of Oregon, with strong dun factors including diluted dun coloring, dorsal stripes, barred or striped legs, and dark points. Blue roan and Frame Overo pinto are other colors found in the herd, all of which are characteristics of the Spanish mustang.
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 - actually, they have more Spanish markers than the Kiger.
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, with no recent introductions of new stock. Dr. Cothran expresses concern over the extremely low AML, stating that genetic variability is likely to decline rapidly.
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
Scout, adopted by Skip Lang and now owned by Cathy Barcomb of Nevada.
The Carter Reservoir HMA was gathered by BLM in late summer of 2003. All but 25 of the Carter herd is now in captivity and dispersed to the various individual adopters. Jona Kalayjian has begun a Registry for these special horses, to preserve their breed character and special lineage.
At the capture site Pictures of before capture and at the capture site, courtesy of Lesley Neuman
Carter herd at Palomino Valley, fall 2003:
4084 - dun appaloosa
MOTHER & SON
Roxanne and Elvon Talltree took these photos in late 2008, showing dun, palomino and frame overo horses in the Carter Reservoir HMA.
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
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.
CHINOOK, aka "BAY COLT"
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!
Mojave Dreamcatcher 1992 Bay Gelding Coppersmith HMA Adopted June 1996 in Ridgecrest by Cloud
"Diamond" is from Devil’s Garden. He is now part of our family and lives happily in Marion, WI.
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.
Melissa Mattis and Aidan from Devils Garden
Whispering Pines Mustang Sally, adopted & trained by Dwight Bennett
Melissa Mattis' "Aidan" from Devil's Garden
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 is managed by the Modoc National Forest in cooperation with the BLM's Alturas Field Office. This HMA has an AML of 325 wild horses. Many of the wild horses in this area exhibit draft horse characteristics. However, some areas are dominated by animals with light horse breed characteristics.
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.
"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."
Devils Garden Blue Velvet, adopted by Karen Floyd
Dr. Katie Blunk's Devil's Garden "Ole' Blue Eyes"
Devils Garden horse in the Extreme Mustang Makeover, assigned to trainer Angela Faulkner
EMM horse from Devils Garden - assigned to Trainer Joseph Misner
Devils Garden Internet Adoption horse
Joan Baeskens' Devils Garden mare, Shawnay
Mona Maize from Devils Garden, owned by Jessica
Devils Garden Leroy at work
Satin from Devils Garden, adopted by Richard Oxios
Janice Owens and her two Devils Garden HMA mares, adopted in 2007
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 http://gorp.away.com/gorp/resource/us_national_forest/ca/rec_modo.htm )
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.
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
The Fox Hog HMA 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
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.
Romeo from High Rock HMA - adopted and owned by Linda T.
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!
The High Rock HMA 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. Sorrel and Palomino pintos occur in this herd.
Tika, adopted by Tori Seavey
Tika, adopted by Tori Seavey
"Penny" adopted by RF Brown, Napa, CA, being trained by Michael & Nancy Kerson
Blue (above), and Shasta (below) both High Rock youngsters halter-trained by BLM volunteer Becky Delaney for adoptions in 2007
The new adopter for Shasta (at right with trainer Becky Delaney)
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.
The McGavin Peak Wild Horse Territory (WHT) is administered by the Goosenest Ranger District, Klamath National Forest.
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)
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.
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
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.
Sapa, Becky Delaney's halter project
Wild horses at Red Rock Lake HMA, photographed by Roxanne Taltree
Wild Appaloosa stud - photo by Roxanne Talltree
When we visited Litchfield in September, three or four 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
This small area near MacDoel, California, was gathered in late summer of 2006 by California BLM in cooperation with the US Forest Service. Approximately 75 animals were gathered. They are large horses with unusually calm temperaments and obvious draft ancestry.
Snowflake - Re-assignment filly needing a home
For information about adopting Snowflake contact California BLM
Two handsome Sisters geldings, being trained for adoption by Ray Brown.
This is War Paint, from the Twin Peaks HMA. We adopted him in 2003, and got title for him in April 2004. 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
Twin Peaks "Ms Jake" owned by Joan Baeskens
Twin Peaks horses at an adoption:
These horses at a BLM Adoption in Turlock, CA in spring of 2003 are all from Twin Peaks HMA
Ruby, adopted by Mike Kerson
Twin Peaks filliy at an adoption
Dave Freeman and Dakota from Twin Peaks
Rowdy, adopted by Katie Barrett
Rowdy in training
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.
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!!!
JC from Twin Peaks
Dr. Gus Cothran, noted equine geneticist, analyzed 25 blood samples from Twin Peaks animals. I have done my best to give a synopsis of this report below.
Red Sabino Twin Peas mare adopted by Tara Flewelling of Orland
Tess Bozarth and Logan from Twin Peaks
Wendee Walker and Twin Peaks Yogi practicing dressage
Gracie, adopted by the Mecchi Family, Napa, CA, and trained by 13-year-old Willow
Twin Peaks mare for 2008 Western States Mustang Challenge (Dixie LaFountain's nephew, Andy, is the trainer)
Chevayo, adopted by Karen Mayfield
Chevayo, adopted by Karen Mayfield
Baybea, an 11-year-old Twin Peaks mustang mare adopted as a starved 9-year-old rescue "with issues" by Jerry 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 I 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
Dr. Gus Cothran's Genetic Analysis of the Twin Peaks Herd:
(Summarized by Nancy - my apologies if I didn't get it right. If you want the "real deal" ask your BLM agent for a copy)
The two main areas he looked at were:
1. Herd health from a genetics standpoint, and
2. Clues to the herd's history.
1. GENETIC HEALTH & DIVERSITY:
Looking at herd health, one of the first things to look at is genetic diversity - the more variable the genepool, one expects to find greater genetic health (as opposed to inbreeding, which narrows the genepool and can cause doubling up on weak or defective genes)
He made the quite surprising discovery that the genepool is not very diverse. Normally this means inbreeding, but since Twin Peaks is a huge area with a very large population of wild horses, inbreeding is most unlikely. The more likely possibility is that all the horses are descended from a small (but diverse, in terms of breed represented) "founding population," and have not been infused with "new blood" or outside mixing, for a long time.
This is consistent with known history - that the already-present wild horses - who may have been fewer in number than we usually think, due to "mustanging" or whatever, were mixed with high quality domestic stallions for the Cavalry Remount program, etc.
Another way a gene pool becomes less diverse is when people develop a new breed - the desirable animals are mated and reproduce, and the undesirable ones tossed out. New blood is not allowed in, and the genepool becomes, well, for lack of a less-highly-charged word, "purified." The animals "breed true," meaning they and their offspring have a certain set of recognizable and predictable characteristics that set them apart from other breeds, whether that be color, behavior, movement, conformation, performance, or whatever went into the breeding decisions.
Obviously, people often mess up and along with the genes they want, they get disasters that they don't want, and they get the classic inbreeding issues associated with pure breeds.
In the case of the Twin Peaks herd, this isn't happening. They got the concentration of genetic material that one associates with a true breed, but, probably since Mother Nature culls heavily, they don't seem to have the problems that go along with humans developing a breed.
I should note, about the low diversity: In another of Cothran's studies (Carter Reservoir), he talks about this. When loss of diversity happens quickly (such as through inbreeding or suddenly low population due to disaster or whatever), the herd is in trouble. All the "bad genes" are suddenly doubled up on, and you start to see a lot of weak and defective foals. But when it happens slowly, gently, over a long period of time, as it did with the Carter Reservoir herd and most likely also in the Twin Peaks herd, it simply results in a more uniform, "true breed" kind of thing.
Yogi from Twin Peaks
Twin Peaks Logan
Twin Peaks Rowdy adopted by Katie Barrett of CA
Twin Peaks Ruby, adopted by Mike Kerson of CA
Since Twin Peaks horses are known for their size, beauty, nice temperaments, and fairly recognizable conformational similarities, it seems to me that this is what we have with Twin Peaks. Many people report that they can pick out the Twin Peaks horses when they go to an adoption or horse show - there is something unique, recognizable, about the Twin Peaks horses. So the Twin Peaks Herd, according to my interpretation, may qualify as a True Breed - Dr. Cothran didn't come out and say it in his report, but the fitting description is there.
Dr. Cothran does not recommend making any introductions of new blood at this time, but notes that he would like to study more samples (as 25 individuals is a small sample size, especially from so large a herd area) and the situation should be monitored carefully over time to catch genetic problems if they arise.
The breeds most likely to have played a part in the origin of the herd are Iberian, Thoroughbred, Draft, Morgan, and the North American gaited Saddle breeds. (Most of this is typical of the Southeastern Oregon horses that I've read genetic studies on, too, only most of them don't have much, if any, draft)
As for ancestry and history, this is very technical, but the synopsis seemed to indicate that the Twin Peaks herd is similar genetically to other wild herds in the region - a combination of original Old Spanish horses, with more modern domestic stock, and the herd bears closest similarity today to the gaited American saddle horses, the Standardbred carriage horses and Thoroughbreds and Morgans - none of this is surprising.
What was surprising, although he made absolutely no reference to it in this report, was the inclusion of one of the known "Old Spanish" marker known as "D-dek" on the chart of markers identified. When this happened in the Kiger analysis, this was much ballyhooed, proof of "Old Spanish" lineage. But it was not even mentioned in this one, because Old Spanish was not the focus of the report.
There are only four known markers that are absolutely indicative of Iberian (Old Spanish) ancestry. One is the "D-dek" This is the one the Kiger herd has. It is also in the Twin Peaks herd!
Twin Peaks Will, Lesley Neuman's "Blue Mule"
Lesley working with a 6-year-old Twin Peaks mule at an adoption
TWIN PEAKS MULES 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.
Ginny & Dave Freeman adopted "ThomASS" the baby mule at the November 2006 Special Adoption in Litchfield, CA.
Tommy is doing great in this picture.
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!
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.
Debbie McCracken devoted considerable time & energy to monitoring & protecting this tiny herd. When foals started to show up with club feet, it was assumed that inbreeding was responsible. Debbie went to work to prove that in fact, this birth defect was caused by an imbalance of minerals in the area, not the genetics, and that corrective hoof trimming restored the foals to normal usefulness.
Tragically, Debbie died unexpectedly of a blood clot following surgery to replace a hip. Debbie was a wonderful friend of wild horses, and she is sadly missed.
This small Southern California herd consists of 3 mares and one stallion. Besides, the two I have adopted from this herd, Dawn Rystrom has one of the babies from there. This herd is a combination of TB and QH's from some 1960's ranchers in Ash Meadows and possibly some Shoshone Indian Horses. These horses are believed to have split from the Nevada Ash Meadows herd. The Nevada Ash Meadows herd is zeroed out but previously had a palomino mustang in the Marine Color Guard. Dawn Rystrom can tell you about the herd personality as it is very laid back and send you a picture of her baby.
In addition to the 22 HMA's, California originally had 7 more identified Herd Areas, but most of these have been zeroed out and the remainder are not managed by BLM to preserve wild horse & burro herds in them:
Many of the HMA's administered by California lie partially or entirely in Nevada. They are better understood, in terms of herd origins and qualities, when considered with the Nevada herds whose borders they share. This map shows the relationships between the Northernmost of these Herd Management Areas.
Of the HMA's shown here, California manages Fox Hog, High Rock, Nut Mountain, Wall Canyon, and Massacre Lakes on this map. Nevada administers the others.
Buckhorn, Coppersmith, and Twin Peaks also lie partially in Nevada, but they are located just Southwest of this map.