Diamond Hills North HMA
Wild horses must travel long distances between water and foraging areas and foals must be able to keep up with the herd from the day they are born, which is why most wild horses have outstanding endurance.
The majority of wild horses are descendants of domestic ranch, farm and homestead stock. There were several ranches in the Diamond Hills area that had domestic horse permits at the time the Wild Horse and Burro Act was passed (P.L. 92-195, December 1971). When the Act was passed, the BLM could no longer authorize grazing by domestic horses within wild horse herd areas, and all permittees were given a certain time period to gather and claim their branded horses. Any horses remaining on the public lands at the end of this claiming period were declared wild. The horses in the Diamond Hills HMA are probably a mix of several common breeds. One rancher in the area bred and raised American Saddlebreds and many of the horses caught in the Diamond Complex exhibited the characteristics of this breed.
The horses gathered from the Diamond Hills North HMA were slightly larger than other wild horses in various HMAs in the Elko area. They were an extremely colorful bunch with many red and blue roans, savinas, and a few paints. The horses from the Diamonds are also know for their relatively quiet disposition.
Location: The Diamond Hills North HMA and Diamond Hills South HMA are managed as a “complex.” The northern end of the area is approximately 40 miles south of Elko, Nevada.
Size: The area consists of 70,531 acres of BLM land and 1,033 acres of a mix of private and other public lands for a total of 71,564 acres.
Topography/Vegetation: The Diamond Hills North HMA and Diamond Hills South HMA are managed as a “complex.” The core of the HMAs are the Diamond Mountain Range where most of the wild horses spend the summer. Elevation ranges from approximately 5,800 feet in the valley bottoms to approximately 10,600 feet on Diamond Peak.
The HMA supports vegetation typical of the Great Basin region which consists of shrubs such as sagebrush, rabbitbrush and whitesage, and many species of native grasses such as Indian ricegrass, bottlebrush squirreltail, Sandberg bluegrass and Nevada needlegrass. The higher elevations support groves of aspen and pinon-juniper forests.
Average precipitation is approximately 7 inches on the valley bottoms and from 16 to 18 inches on the mountain peaks. Most of the rainfall occurs during the winter months when the plants are dormant and this creates the cold-temperate desert of which the Diamond Hills HMA is a part. Temperatures can be extreme. They range from a high of near 100 degrees F in the summer months to a low of -15 degrees F in the winter.