It is believed that the Coyote Canyon Heritage Horse Herd has roots dating back to 1769 when the first mission was built in San Diego. The herd is the ancestral remnants of horses that carried a Spanish military expedition into California in the late 1700s. The missions supplied Spanish bloodstock horses to the nearby Rancherias, run by the Ranchos and Native Americans. Over the next 1200 years, most of the horses were driven into Utah or removed from Coyote Canyon.
In 2010, a group of citizens was concerned with the Heritage herd becoming extinct and formed a 501(c)(3) called the Coyote Canyon Caballos d’Anza (CCCd’A). CCCd’A is a non-profit dedicated to restoring this genetically viable horse herd back to the wild, primarily on public lands. Fourteen mares were brought from the Southern Utah herd to be bred with the four remaining Coyote Canyon stallions. At the moment, the 14 mares and 4 stallions are being held on private land.
Currently, the Coyote Canyon Herd is listed by the international equine conservation non-profit Equus Survival Trust as a critically endangered/nearly extinct breed. CCCd’A would like to create a working plan with BLM for the re-designation and relocation of the Coyote Canyon Heritage Herd on the appropriate Herd Areas (HA’s) designated to them under the 1971 Congressional Act “The Free Roaming Wild Horse and Burro Act.” CCCd’A considers the Heritage herd the living icons representing 243 years of Spanish Mexican occupation, Native American Ranching and Western pioneering in San Diego County. Today’s action directs the Chief Administrative Officer to draft a letter to BLM requesting that they explore the relocation of the Coyote Canyon Heritage Horse Herd to federal lands.