Sand Wash wild horse gather continues through Thanksgiving holiday |

Sand Wash wild horse gather continues through Thanksgiving holiday

Craig Daily Press Staff Report
Wild horses removed from traps baited with hay wait in BLM corrals at Sand Wash Basin for sorting, treatment and release or removal.
Sasha Nelson

— Bait trapping of Sand Wash wild horses by Bureau of Land Management contractors will continue throughout Thanksgiving weekend and visitors to the area are being asked to keep their distance from activity and temporary fencing.

“We are working closely with our partner group the Sand Wash Advocacy Team (SWAT) to select which wild horses to remove,” Little Snake Field Manager Bruce Sillitoe said in a statement.

Recent wet weather slowed the operation, but it continues to move forward as conditions allow.

To date a total of 26 wild horses have been gathered. Twelve have been released back to the range, with five mares receiving fertility treatment. Ten horses have been removed and will be made available for adoption.

“The 10 horses that were transported to Canon City Nov. 20, made the trip safely with no issues. They arrived in Canon City at 3 p.m. and have all been checked in at the facility,” according to SWAT’s Facebook page.

Many of the horses removed for adoption will be made available after basic training through a cooperative program between BLM and SWAT’s parent organization, the Great Escape Mustang Sanctuary (GEMS).

“We hope to get as many of the horses we remove as possible into the Great Escape Mustang Sanctuary training and adoption program,” Sillitoe said.

BLM’s goal is to remove up to 50 wild horses while giving an additional 75 mares PZP, a treatment that delays fertility, to help reduce the growth of the herd.

BLM manages Sand Wash Basin for up to 362 wild horses, but the current population exceeds 600 — a number that poses a serious risk to the area’s ecological balance. Treating mares and removing some young horses should help check the growth of the Sand Wash herd.

“The BLM is committed to maintaining a healthy wild horse population in Sand Wash over the long-term,” Sillitoe said. “This small gather and fertility treatment will help keep wild horses and their habitat healthy.”

BLM works closely with its partner groups GEMS and SWAT to manage the Sand Wash Herd Management Area in Northwest Colorado.

A video describing the bait-trapping effort is available at

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Craig and Moffat County make the Craig Press’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.