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State Herd Area: Sulphur HMA, Utah

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.

In the mountain peaks and sloping low-lands of the Needle Mountain Range roam a nationally recognized herd of wild horses with a Utah heritage much older than most. These horses draw their bloodlines from the old Spanish type, the first horses brought to America by the Spanish explorers in the late 1500's. Through time, the Sulphur Herd have been bred with escaped ranch livestock, but most still hold much of the Colonial Spanish traits. There are only 3 other wild horse herd areas in the United States which exhibit a high concentration of Spanish characteristics.

The original Colonial Spanish type horse displayed some characteristics of the extinct wild tarpan horse. Many horses of the Sulphur herd exhibit some of those early traits. Dominant colors include dun, buckskin, and grulla (a grey or mouse color). Other colors found throughout the region include bay, black, sorrel, palomino, and various roan's (blue, red, strawberry, etc.). Physical characteristics include ears that curve in like a birds beak, dorsal stripe,  bi-colored mane and tail, tiger-striped legs, and occasional chest barring. Additional features might include a sloping croup, low-set tail, deep body, narrow chest, broad forehead, but narrow face and muzzle from a frontal view. The Sulphur HMA horses roam a vast, unpopulated region of alternating high desert basins and expansive mountain ranges. Their home, the Needle Range, is a starkly beautiful mountain block that lies about 45 miles west of Milford, Utah, along the Nevada State line. In some spots the range rises to nearly 10,000 feet in elevation. From north to south, the mountainous spine of the Needle Range is comprised of two main peaks; Mountain Home and Indian Peaks.

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