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Mustangs on the Saylor Creek HMA, Idaho
Mustangs on the Saylor Creek HMA, Idaho

Herd Management Areas (HMA) are lands under the supervision of the United States Bureau of Land Management that are managed for the primary but not exclusive benefit of free-roaming "wild" horses and burros. While these animals are technically feral equines descended from foundation stock that was originally domesticated, the phrase "wild horse" (and wild burro) has a specific meaning in United States law, giving special legal status to the descendants of equines that were "unmarked and unclaimed" on public lands at the time the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 was passed. There are approximately 270 HMAs across 10 states, comprising 31,600,000 acres (12,800,000 ha). Equine population estimates in each HMA can vary significantly from year to year, depending on habitat condition in a given area, fecundity of the animals, or if a gather has occurred. The original feral horse herds in the Americas were of Spanish horse ancestry. Additional stock brought by eastern settlers moving west, ranging from draft horses to Arabians and Thoroughbreds, added a variety of other horse types. (Full list...)

Today's featured picture

Christina, Queen of Sweden

An image of Queen Christina of Sweden (1626–1689) on a 10-ducat coin from the German state of Erfurt. The only surviving legitimate child of King Gustav II Adolph and his wife Maria Eleonora of Brandenburg, Christina became queen at the age of six, upon her father's death at the Battle of Lützen in 1632. She abdicated in 1654 when she converted to Roman Catholicism, becoming a symbol of the Counter-Reformation. Her image appeared on Erfurt coinage as a result of the state's occupation by Swedish forces between 1631 and 1648, during the Thirty Years War. Seven gold coins are known to exist bearing the effigy of Queen Christina: a unique 1649 5-ducat, and six 1645 10-ducat specimens.

Image credit: National Numismatic Collection and National Museum of American History

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