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State Herd Area: Piceance-East Douglas (CO)

The Piceance - East Douglas HMA is located in northwestern Colorado, near the town of Meeker. As early as 1882, settlers crossing this region reported seeing bands of wild horses. During the Great Depression of the 1930's more horses escaped or were released from abandoned homesteads and ranches. Today their wild descendants share the range with livestock, recreational activites, and oil and gas exploration.

The horses in this HMA are usually bay, black, sorrel, and brown, but a few are gray, buckskin, palomino, and pinto. The average height is 14 to 15 hands, and they weigh between 800 and 1,000 pounds. The habitat contains stands of pinon and juniper trees, intermixed with sedge grass, wheatgrass, and prairie grass. Douglas firs and aspen trees grow at the higher elevations, which can reach up to 8,700 feet.

The horses share the habitat with antelope, elk, mule deer, prairie dogs, coyotes, and sage grouse. In the spring it is most common to view the horses at 84 Mesa and Yellow Creek. During the summer the herds will graze on windswept ridges and southern exposed slopes. Visitors are restricted from camping within 200 feet of any water source, to ensure that all animals can gain access to the water.

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