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State Herd Area: Sinbad (UT)

The Sinbad HMA is located 30 miles west of Green River, UT. It extends up to 18 miles on both sides of I-70 from the San Rafael Reef to Eagle Canyon. This HMA contains 234,000 acres of Federal and state lands. The vegetation is dominated by pinon-juniper trees, sagebrush, shadscale, and bunch grass. Wild horses and burros have occupied the San Rafael Swell area since the beginnings of the Old Spanish Trail in the early 1800's. Unlucky travelers would lose animals or have them run off by Indians or rustlers. Many of these animals were headed for sale in California and were of good breeding. The herds were also augmented through the release or escape of domestic horses from local ranches.

During the late 1800's and early 1900's, a man named Joe Swasey was the owner and operator of the Temple Mountain uranium mine. The mine was on the northeastern boundary of what is now the Sinbad HMA. His family was known for their sheep herds and horse operations. In the early 1900's they ran as many as 800 head on the San Rafael Swell. Near the Muddy Creek HMA they ran Thoroughbreds from Kentucky and sold them to the Army. A few of these Thoroughbreds ran on open range near the Sinbad HMA, but Swasey also bred Welsh ponies. The pony herd was started sometime between 1925-1930 with 30 head from Kentucky. There was only one stud in the band, named Moony. The ponies were used briefly in the mining operations, but were soon retired and put out on the desert just in case they were ever needed again.

By the early 1900's wild horse and burro numbers had soared and they were being captured and sold by "mustangers." This practice continued until the passage of the Wild Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act in 1971. Since then, the herds have been managed by the BLM. The dominant colors of the burros in the HMA are black and gray. The most common colors of horses are black, buckskin, grulla, and bay in that order. The horses range from 700 to 1000 pounds and stand 13 to 14 hands. The Sinbad HMA has enough forage to support 50 horses and 75 burros. To prevent overgrazing and habitat damage, the BLM gathers excess animals every 2 to 5 years.
For more information on wild horses and burros in Utah, go to:
Or call the Price, UT BLM office at (435) 636-3600.

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