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 Bureau of Land Management’s (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 Divide Basin HMA encompasses a total of 778,915 acres; 562,702 of these acres are managed by BLM. The range can support between 415 and 600 head of wild horses. Currently there are an estimated 660 wild horses, and with the 2001 post-foaling population, the number is predicted to be approximately 763 wild horses.
The climate within the area is typical of a cold desert. Summers are generally hot and dry with long, cold winters. Temperatures can range from well below zero to the upper 90s. Annual precipitation ranges from a low of 7 inches up to 15 inches at higher elevations. Some wind is seemingly inevitable. Direction of prevailing winds is variable but is generally westerly.
Topography within the area is highly variable, ranging from mostly flat to slightly rolling foothills carved by drainages, and desert mountains featuring steep slopes, cliffs, and canyons. Preferred habitat for wild horses in the Divide Basin HMA is the rolling hills and flats found at lower elevations. Wild horses in the Divide Basin HMA have many domestic bloodlines in their background including American Quarter Horse, Thoroughbred, Standardbred, Arabian, and smaller draft breeds such as Percheron. Nearly every coat color can be found within the herds. The animals tend to be of moderate to large size for wild horses. Habitat conditions are such that the horses are in very good condition. The combinations of size, conformation, coat colors and patterns, and excellent physical condition have become a draw for potential adopters.