Some of the top wild horses gathered from the Bureau of Land Management Diamond Wild Horse Herd Management Area will be offered for adoption or sale on Saturday in Carson City. Preview of the horses is at 9 a.m. and competitive bidding starts at 10 a.m., at the Northern Nevada Correctional Facility in Carson City.
“The Diamond 30 were selected for their moderate to large size, conformance and variety of colors,” said BLM Battle Mountain Wild Horse and Burro Specialist Shawna Richardson. “Many of the mares were pregnant and delivered healthy foals, so now we have a variety of ages and traits, something for everyone.”
The Diamond 30 grew to 38. They have not received training from inmates at the correctional center.
The BLM decided to hold back the 18 studs and 12 mares after they were gathered for possible return to the range in case of high mortality among the wild horses left on the Diamond HMA. Many of the wild horses left on the range were in poor body condition and there was little forage available because of over population, extreme drought and the severe winter conditions that were present at the time of the gather.
“The BLM was concerned that with high mortality, the population could drop below the appropriate management level for the HMA,” said Richardson. “We wanted to have the option to release Diamond horses back to the HMA if there was a need to support genetic diversity.”
The February 2013 gather of the Diamond HMA was part of the larger Diamond Complex gather. Wild horses move throughout the Diamond Mountain Range. The gather and removal of 792 wild horses from the complex was conducted because of over-population and severe drought conditions. At the end of the gather an estimated 79 wild horses were left in the Diamond HMA. Most of the wild horses gathered from the Diamond HMA were showing ribs, back bones and hip bones, and there was little forage left on the range to support them.
In monitoring the Diamond HMA this spring and summer, the BLM found more horses in the HMA than originally anticipated. Some of the horses were gaunt and underweight, sure signs of their hard winter. Others were in good condition, a testament to their resiliency on the range. Overall, the number of foals observed was low.
Observers conducting an inventory flight in July discovered a lot more horses than expected in the Diamond Complex. The estimated 161 left on the range after the gather were inventoried at nearly 500 horses by the three trained observers using the direct count method.
Because the population in the complex is above the high end of the appropriate management of 210 wild horses, the Diamond 38 will not be returned to the range.
“We don’t have an exact explanation for the increased population; however it’s possible that wild horses moved into the area from other HMAs,” said Richardson. “We will work on improving the inventory methods and tracking in the field to better understand the movement of wild horses throughout the complex.”
The Diamond Complex in central Nevada, includes Elko, Eureka and White Pine counties.