Two wild horses in the Sand Wash Basin. BLM photo.
Photo Credit: BLM Photo by ©Jerry Sintz

Sand Wash Basin HMA

Horses within the HMA exhibit many different colors, although the most common are gray and sorrel. Based on genetic analysis, the herd's highest similarity is to Iberian Spanish breeds, followed by gaited breeds, North American breeds and Arabian breeds.

Location: The Sand Wash Basin HMA is in northwest Colorado, about 45 miles west of Craig.

Size: 157,730 acres, including 154,940 acres of public land, 1,960 acres of private land and 840 acres of state land.

Topography/Vegetation: The HMA's ridges and mesas are covered in sagebrush and bunchgrass, saltbush and pinon-juniper woodlands. The climate is typical of the Rocky Mountain region's cold deserts, with warm summers and very cold winters.

Wildlife: Elk, mule deer, Greater sage-grouse, pronghorn, white-tailed prairie dogs.

AML:  163-362

Recent management updates: The BLM is investing in infrastructure to manage the herd through increased fertility control application and bait-trapping as necessary. In 2023, aerial surveys concluded that the herd faced approximately 75 deaths due to harsh weather conditions and a lack of resources from previous overpopulation. We will continue to monitor and work with our partners to ensure the herd stays within the Appropriate Management Level to prevent further losses to the population. 

A group of wild horses in the Sand Wash Basin Herd Management Area in the winter. BLM Photo

Photo Credit: BLM Photo by ©Jerry Sintz