In the winter of 2009, the BLM launched one of the largest (and deadliest) wild horse roundups in recent years and removed some 1,922 wild horses from their home in the Calico Mountains Complex in Northwestern Nevada.
In a gesture of restitution, Return to Freedom Wild Horse Sanctuary embarked on a major rescue effort totaling 22 stallions and 84 mares, all survivors of the Calico roundup (with a few horses also coming from the Silver King roundup).
The rescued Calico and Silver King horses are destined for a large-scale wild horse preserve that we are creating in the western United States, where the stallions and mares will be reunited. Until then, these horses are safe and cared for and living a life as close as we can give them to the one they knew in the wild.
Bonded friends like Redman and Ranger spend their days romping across the pasture. They will never again know the fear and trauma of being rounded up and ripped from their families and home.
Thank you for helping us give these horses a new life, here at the sanctuary. Your support means the world to us, and is the difference between life and death for many horses. Please help us continue our life saving work by sponsoring one of our Calico horses today (see below).
HISTORY OF THE CALICO MOUNTAINS HORSES
Click to read about the Genetic Analysis of the
Calico Mountains and Granite Range.
According to Glenna Eckel, Wild Horse & Burro Specialist, the first wild horses in this area were the descendants of 500 Spanish Barbs brought into the Smoke Creek Desert from San Diego in the 1860s. Adding to them were high-quality horses of popular saddle, draft, and carriage breeds that were raised by ranchers and allowed to roam on the open range.
Ranch horses were raised and periodically gathered in this area by the Jackson family until 1971. They introduced Thoroughbred studs and Pinto mares to “upgrade” the local wild horses. (According to the DNA test results, apparently the “pinto” mares included Tennessee Walker and American Saddlebreds!)
This Herd Management Area (HMA) consists of 157,000 acres of steep volcanic mountainous terrain. Elevations range from 4000 feet, at the foot of the Black Rock Desert, to 8491 feet at Division Peak. Calico Mountains horses are highly desired by adopters for ranch work and performance riding. It is a very colorful herd with lots of creme (cremello, palomino, buckskin, perlino, and smokey black), Medicine Hat Toveros, and Frame, Sabino and Splashed White Overo pintos, as well as Tobiano pintos.
Click to read about the Calico Herd roundup.
Much of the Calico Mountains Herd Management Area is contained within the High Rock Canyon Emigrant Trail National Conservation Area. The Calico Complex consists of these Herd Management Areas: NV209 Black Rock East, NV221 Granite Range, NV222 Calico Mountains, NV226 Warm Springs Canyon, NV227 Black Rock West.
To learn more, read Nevada BLM’S Mustang Country — Glenna Eckel’s wonderful e-booklet that is chock full of information for mustang buffs, including wild horse history, visitor tips, and camping information; (be advised: it takes a while to download).