Meet the Calico herd that calls Return to Freedom home...

Calico Mountain Complex, Nevada
Captured in December 28, 2009-February 4, 2010, in the infamous Calico roundup (see A Case Study of a Broken System for Horses and Taxpayers). More than 1,700 horses were removed from their range in the Calico Mountain Complex in Northwestern Nevada’s Black Rock Conservation area.

Over 140 wild horses died as a result of this roundup due to the trauma and stress of the roundup and capture, the trauma associated with social loss sustained in the destruction of horse family bands, and the ongoing stress of captivity in an unnatural environment.

History suggests that the first wild horses in the Calico Mountain area of Nevada were descendants of 500 Spanish Barbs, brought into the Smoke Creek Desert from San Diego in the 1860s.

Others breeds introduced into the population over time, included high-quality horses of popular saddle, draft, and carriage breeds; horses that were raised by ranchers and allowed to roam on the open range for food and breeding purposes. The horses roamed over 157,000 acres of steep volcanic mountainous terrain, including elevations of up to 2,500 meters at the area’s highest peaks (read more about their history and adaptation).

These horses are a testimony to the enduring spirit of the diverse strains of the horses who helped develop our Great Basin Ranchos and mixed with breeds used for the Cavalry. They have adapted to the rugged and remote terrain and returned to a natural state over the last 200 years.

Picture Gallery: The Calico Herd