Death of famous horse leads to latest push for CDOT fencing at Sand Wash Basin from wild horse advocates |

Death of famous horse leads to latest push for CDOT fencing at Sand Wash Basin from wild horse advocates

Van Gogh was one of the most famous wild horses in the Sand Wash Basin area, one that was easily recognizable and heavily photographed by wild horse advocates and enthusiasts.

The news that Van Gogh was struck and killed by a vehicle on Highway 318 over the weekend has led to another push from wild horse advocates to have the Colorado Department of Transportation put up fencing along the highway to protect not only the horses, but travelers in the area.

Wild Horse Warriors of Sand Wash Basin currently has a meeting set up with CDOT for Friday, Oct. 9 via Zoom to discuss ways to make the road safer for animals and travelers, but the organization is asking community members to reach out to elected officials and candidates within the state to try and help put pressure on CDOT.

Those wanting to help out are encouraged to contact Governor Jared Polis (, and US 3rd Congressional District candidates Lauren Boebert (, and Diane Mitsch Bush ( Those that send emails are asked to include WHW in the recipients at

Community members are also encouraged to contact CDOT directly regarding the fencing at

Previously, WHW, the Bureau of Land Management and CDOT made significant progress towards a fence, starting with signage along the highway to warn travelers that wild horses are in the area and can be on the road. In late October 2019, CDOT installed four portable, flashing LED signs to warn travelers. Shortly after, CDOT installed two permanent signs along Highway 318 warning travelers of wild horses in the area with another five signs on order.

WHW wasn’t done pushing for fencing though, which all started due to the number of horses that were being struck and killed in the area. In the fall and winter, the horses migrate to the south end of the basin to eat the vegetation at the southern end.

In 2018, WHW raised more than $30,000 to put towards the fence with hopes of paying a third for the $90,000 bid along with BLM and CDOT. For now, WHW and other horse advocates continue to fight for fencing to protect the horses and travelers along Highway 318.

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