In 1971, wild horses and burros were found roaming across 53.8 million acres of Herd Areas (HAs), of which 42.4 million acres were under the BLM's jurisdiction. Today the BLM manages wild horses and burros in subsets of these HAs, known as Herd Management Areas (HMAs) that comprise 31.6 million acres, of which 26.9 million acres are under BLM management.
The Saylor Creek HMA is located approximately 15 miles south of Glenns Ferry, ID in Owyhee County, ID and Elmore County, ID. It encompasses 94,992 acres of public land. Elevation is from 3,000-4,000 feet. Topography varies from relatively flat to gently rolling top prominent buttes and ridgelines which dominate the landscape. Native vegetation for the HMA includes three major ecological range sites: Wyoming big sagebrush and Needle and threadgrass, Basin big sagebrush and Indian ricegrass, Wyoming big sagebrush and Thurber needlegrass. However these sites have been significantly altered by repeated wildfires; few of the native range sites remain intact. The majority of the HMA has been seeded to crested wheatgrass.
Wildlife living in the area includes pronghorn, mule deer, and upland bird species. There are 30-50 horses in the HMA. The horses range in size from 14-16hh and about 1,000 pounds. It is believed that the herd’s foundation originated from mares captured near Challis, ID by a group of horse runners from the Wendell, ID area. According to local history, several mares were transported into the Saylor Creek Area in the early 1960s. A registered stud was then purchased and turned out with the mares. Until the passage of the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burro Act of 1971 (P.L. 92-195), the group of horse runners would capture as many colts as possible in annual roundups.
The Saylor Creek Herd was gathered in 2010 after another devastating wildfire, the Long Butte fire. After BLM completed rangeland restoration efforts throughout the burned area, 30 horses were returned to the HMA in the early fall of 2011.