Wild Horse and Burro - Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is a wild horse or burro?

A: A wild free-roaming horse or burro as defined by federal law is an unbranded, unclaimed, free-roaming horse or burro found on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) or U.S. Forest Service (USFS) administered public rangelands in the western United States.  Wild horses and burros are descendants of animals released by or escaped from Spanish explorers, ranchers, miners, U.S. Cavalry, or Native Americans.

Q: What is a freezemark?

A: The BLM uses freezemarking to identify captured wild horses and burros.  Freezemarking is a permanent, unalterable, painless way to identify each horse or burro as an individual.  It is applied on the left side of the animal’s neck.  It uses the International Alpha Angle System, which is a series of angles and alpha symbols.  The mark contains the registering organization (U.S. Government), year of birth, and registration number.  An example of the alpha angle code freezemark interpretation can be viewed at the BLM National Wild Horse and Burro Program website.