Nevada Wild Horses & Burros
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Did You Know?

Some of Nevada’s horses and burros are not managed under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. Horses in the Reno-Virginia City-Dayton area are 'estrays' managed by the Nevada Department of Agriculture. Horses and burros on the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge are managed by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. The National Park Service at Lake Mead also manages burros.

'Estray' means a domestic animal found wandering or without an owner.

A “hand” is 4 inches, so how tall is a horse that is measured at 15 hands?
15 hands x 4 inches = 60 inches/
12 inches/foot = 5 feet

Read More About It…

Legends in Endurance…
America’s Mustangs and Burros

Baby Burro

Did you know horses were found in America millions of years ago? Early horse was about the size of a dog. But horses disappeared from America about 10,000 years ago at the end of the last Ice Age.

Spanish explorers re-introduced horses to the Americas in the 16th century. Later, other horses and burros were turned loose or escaped from the cavalry, farms, ranches and miners. At the end of the 19th century, about 2 million wild horses and burros roamed the west. 

By the mid 20th century, mustangs and burros were viewed as pests. They competed with livestock and wildlife for forage and water. “Mustangers” were hired to rid the range of wild horses and burros. They used trucks and airplanes to catch the animals. Many horses or burros were shot or poisoned or sold for pet food. Some were even used as rodeo stock.

One day, Velma Johnston, a rancher’s wife, found some injured horses loaded on a truck, dripping blood. She learned there were no laws to protect mustangs or burros from the mustangers (horse catchers). From then on, Mrs. Johnston waged a fight to bring America’s mustangs and burros under federal protection. Her battle earned her the title Wild Horse Annie and led Congress to pass the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act in 1971. This Act requires the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Forest Service to protect and manage wild horses and burros on public lands in the west as living symbols of the pioneer spirit.

Mustangs and burros have become Legends in Endurance. Their home is the rugged and harsh American west -- which provides the food, water, cover and space (habitat) they need to live.

The average mustang weighs 800-1,000 pounds, is 13-16 hands tall, eats 20-25 pounds of food and drinks 10 gallons of water daily. Originally from Africa, burros are about half the size of a wild horse.

Last updated: 06-01-2015