WILD FREE-ROAMING HORSES OF OCHOCO NATIONAL FOREST
BIG SUMMIT HERD MANAGEMENT AREA (HMA)
The Lookout Mountain Ranger District oversees more than 150 horses, as of the June 2015 horse estimate for the Big Summit Herd Management Area, made up of several bands or family units. The HMA consists of approximately 27,300 acres and is located in the Ochoco National Forest some 30 miles east of Prineville, Oregon. This rugged mountainous terrain, ranging in elevation from 4,000 to 7,000 feet, is shared with elk, mule deer and antelope, as well as predators like black bear and mountain lion. The climate at these elevations varies from cold, snowy winters to hot summers.
What makes the Big Summit HMA special for photographing the wild horses is the backdrop of heavily forested Ponderosa Pine and mixed Conifer with open grassy meadows, interspersed by perennial and intermittent stream channels originating from numerous natural springs.
The wild horses in the Big Summit herd range in size from 800 to 1,000 pounds and stand 13-15 hands in height. Colors are varied throughout the many families.
The Big Summit wild horses appear to have maintained the genetic markers of the Iberian and Andalusian strains due to their relative isolation compared to other mustang herds throughout the Western United States.
© Scenic Vista Photography