BLM Wild Horse Roundup
October 5, 2010
In Colorado and most states in the U.S., there are still a number of wild horse herds maintained mostly on BLM land.
Wild horses have virtually no predators and can double in population about every four years if not managed. BLM has been conducting birth control shots where mares cannot come into foal for about four years and it seems to have been quite successful. Most of these wild horse herds date back to around the 1800s and their genetics from this area show they came from domestic breeds that were on ranches at this time and were controlled in herd size by local ranchers, who culled out the weak ones and broke the stronger and more stocky quarter horse/thoroughbred type for ranch work.
Beginning Oct. 4-10 and Oct. 11-22, the Bureau of land Management is conducting two roundups to remove excess horses from the West Douglas and Piceance-East Douglas on both sides of Highway 139.
In the 1970s when Highway 139 was built, this herd became split on both sides of the highway. West Douglas is the area west of Colorado Highway 139 and south of Rangley. Another small herd became isolated on the east side when in 1983 a right-of-way fence was put in. Since then, BLM determined the area west of the highway is not suitable for wild horses due to the rugged canyons and sparse vegetation. The goal of this gather will be to remove all the wild horses in this West Douglas area, which is estimated to be about 100 wild horses. The horses in this herd tend to be small in size due to the lack of forage. All the horse will go to Canyon City facility for adoption or be sent to long-term pasture in the Midwest.
Piceance-East Douglas will be a gather of an estimated 138 horses that have moved outside the 190,000-acre Piceance-East Douglas Herd Management Area, which is an area BLM manages specifically for a healthy wild horse herd in balance with other wild life and grazing. This band of horses is east of Highway 139 and southwest of Meeker. BLM is not gathering any wild horses within the 190,000 acres area at this time. The population within this area is estimated at around 318 horses. (That does not include the 138 outside the area – so altogether east of Highway 139 there are 456 – BLM is only removing the 138 on this side of the highway.)