65 horses gathered in Sand Wash Basin; further roundup delayed until Friday
Editor’s note: This story was updated to say that 65 horses were rounded up today, but further roundup will be delayed until Friday.
The Bureau of Land Management gathered 65 horses Wednesday from the Sand Wash Basin, but said further roundup would be delayed until Friday.
There were 22 stallions, 32 mares and 11 foals gathered from noon to 5:30 p.m., according to the BLM. The BLM did not report any horse injuries on Wednesday, saying that one horse jumped out of a corral without incident.
The gather will be delayed Thursday due to “inclement weather,” according to the BLM. The roundup will start again on Friday.
The Sand Wash Basin in northwestern Moffat County saw persistent rains overnight and into the day on Wednesday, said Erin Walter, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction.
“We have had some reports in that neck of the woods of pretty substantial rainfall,” Walter said, referring to Sand Wash. “Not all at once, but over the course of the day.”
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse, the Colorado Chapter of the Sierra Club and others have called on the BLM to stop the roundup, but that has had little impact on the timeline of what would be the largest wild horse roundup in the history of Colorado.
The BLM has insisted the gather is necessary as there is not adequate forage in the basin for the horses due to drought conditions. While drought conditions have eased on the Western Slope in recent weeks, the U.S Drought Monitor still puts most of Moffat County in the highest level of “exceptional drought.”
Drier weather is expected on Thursday across much of the Western Slope, but the Sand Wash Basin may still see some isolated rain.
“That area may still see some showers in the mid to late evening, but it will be more scattered in nature,” Walter said.
The roundup plans to remove 733 of the estimated 893 horses that are in the 158,000-acre basin, which is about 80% of the herd.
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Next week, Colorado Northwestern Community College and Moffat County are hosting a free day-long seminar for local ranchers and agriculture producers.