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State Herd Area: Jicarilla WHT, New Mexico

In 1971, wild horses and burros were found roaming across 53.8 million acres of Herd Areas (HAs), of which 42.4 million acres were under the BLM's jurisdiction. Today the BLM manages wild horses and burros in subsets of these HAs, known as Herd Management Areas (HMAs) that comprise 31.6 million acres, of which 26.9 million acres are under BLM management.  Wild Horse Territories (WHT) are administered by the Forest Service in coordination with the BLM.

The Jicarilla WHT is located in New Mexico approximately 40 miles east of Bloomfield. The territory consists of 76,000 acres of National Forest land on the north end of the Jicarilla Ranger District. Wild horses on the Jicarilla WHT use this territory year round.

The topography is mountainous with elevations ranging from 6000 to 8000 feet. The climate is represented by hot, dry summers and cold winters. Temperatures range from below zero in the winter to 90°+ F in the summer.

Vegetation consists of pinyon-juniper and sagebrush communities at the lower elevations.  At the mid and lower elevations, sagebrush, rabbitbrush, serviceberry, snowberry, and winterfat are common along with grasses and forbs.  Ponderosa Pine and mixed conifer are present in the higher elevations.

Wildlife commonly viewed on the territory include black bear, mule deer, elk, bald eagles, redtail hawks, ravens, and a host of smaller terrestrial wildlife.Livestock grazing is permitted within the wild horse territory.

The Jicarilla Ranger District is well-roaded due to significant oil and gas development.  Horses are accustom to vehicle traffic and can generally be viewed from major roads within the territory.


The history of the Jicarilla wild horses is vague, but appears to be based on cavalry stock and ranch horses from the area along with an influx of horses from the adjacent Jicarilla Apache Reservation.   Genetic testing has indicated a mixed breeding background.

Herd Description

The appropriate management level for the Jicarilla herd is between 50 and 105 head of horses depending on range conditions.  Colors vary from bay to paint. 

Located approximately 16 miles northeast of Navajo Dam, New Mexico within Rio Arriba County. The BLM HA consists of both the Carracas Mesa Specially Designated Area (SDA) for wildlife and recreation and the Rosa Community Allotment (Figure 1). The SDA was formally the north pasture of the Rosa Community Allotment at the time of herd designation. The entire HA consists of approximately 32,000 acres. The Carracas Mesa HA borders the United States Forest Service (USFS) Jicarilla Wild Horse Territory (WHT). These areas are often referred to as a Joint Management Area (JMA) because the Jicarilla Wild Horse Herd utilizes both areas. It is impossible to discuss or manage the herd in terms of “BLM-managed horses” and “USFS-managed horses.” The USFS and BLM currently manage the herd under and Interagency Agreement. However, each agency is responsible for determining the specific management that applies to their respective areas and to conduct appropriate analysis of that management.

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