Horse News

Wild Horses: The Proposed Destruction of the Sand Wash Basin Herd

by Carol Walker ~ Director of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation
as published at Wild Hoofbeats

“Sand Wash Basin has leases for sheep grazing and the destruction that these huge groups of hundreds of sheep have caused over decades leaves the range in poor condition in many areas. “

2008 Train Wreck – by Carol Walker

Two weeks ago I visited the Sand Wash Basin Herd in Colorado. I have been photographing the wild horses there since the disastrous roundup in 2008 when 11 wild horses died and I watched a wild mare being trampled underneath other horses who were being pushed into a horse trailer.

But now I am learning that the worst thing that can happen to the wild horses in Sand Wash is NOT a helicopter roundup. It is the BLM using bad science and making the herd a victim of a new and wholly unnecessary research study.

In April the BLM announced that it would be making up to 10 million dollars available in grants of up to 1 million dollars each  for wild horse and burro contraception and sterilization:

In Sand Wash Basin, the AML or Appropriate Management Level of wild horses is 155-355 and Wendy Reynolds, the BLM Little Snake Office Field Director claims that there are currently 460 wild horses in Sand Wash plus 40 foals, and this was on May 29 at the Northwest Resource Advisory Council Meeting on May 29, 2014…(CONTINUED)

Click (HERE) to read the Rest of the Story

23 replies »

  1. Sheep can be quite DESTRUCTIVE. They tend to yank the plants they feed on up from the roots – killing the plant. On the Sand Wash Basin HMA – it appears they allow about 20,000 AUMs for sheep and even more when you add in cattle. Using round number estimates, if they removed the sheep there would be enough AUM’s for another 1,500 wild horses on their legally designated herd area land.


    • And the size of a flock? is NO joke. Unlike cattle, which spread out over an area, sheep naturally ‘cluster’, and tend to leave little forage behind.

      Eyeballing SWB horses for removal and sterilization isn’t surprising; it’s just aggravating…


  2. I remember suggesting several years ago that BLM not sterilize every stallion they get their paws on. I am against chemical castration and chemical sterilization for the mares. It’s going to have us intended consequences and there won’t be any way to reverse some “researchers” mistake.

    We need to speak up and keep speaking that this is not what Congress had in mind in 1971. This is not on the range management.


  3. Someday the entire country will be sterilized. Every place will be as every other place. That is what happens when sterilized brains are in control. Check that, they are not sterilized brains they are brilliant for making millions of dollars at the expanse of our American Mustangs. Greed has no continence.


  4. If you know that the sheep kill the land why are you taking the horses off to put them on, what’s wrong with you people? And we pay you to do these things? How stupid we are. Lets get some thing done and get rid of these idiots.


  5. Sterilizing the stallions will destroy the gene pool of that herd and any herds where it is done. Already the gene pool of wild horses is too low. It will be another way to wipe them out.


  6. They belong to US and to all of the generations that follow us.

    Do we want to leave them only videos and pictures OR do we work save what rightfully belongs to every person in this nation.

    Sand Wash Basin Wild Horses Slide Show


  7. I saw a warning over a year ago and asked everyone connected with SWB and I got don’t worry we have a good relationship with local BLM !!! We are and have been in a War for years.If a scout warns you the enemy is just over the hill DON’T wait til they are in full speed ahead mode !!!


    • at this point, in my opinion we have lost our public lands to all the special interests. The wild horses are in ‘pastures’, to many fences that most ‘wildlife’ can jump or go under, not horses or livestock. Horses are a native North American species, we can’t even get the BLM or our gov to state this simple fact. Even in our sciences, all the equine fossils found across the Americas barely get a mention. Even today places like the la bre tar pits in Ca. have an entire tourist industry around those pits filled with millions of bones. Many of the bones are equine and there is not even a mention of equine in the area on their main website. Not many scientists seem to focus on equine. DNA studies on mustang remains from the 1930s-1950s would really help expand the knowledge/proof wild horses need to become the native species they are.

      anyway, is there any group who collects donations & buys the cheap lands sold now in states like Nevada? Sets them up as several mile square habitats just for wildlife, wild horses? There is so much land for sale now in places like Battle mountain that should be in the hands forever of some permanent foundation.
      here is a common google search I do of just the words “640 acres in nevada” that shows how many of these mile squares are up for cheap sale. I think any large groups need to change some of their focus to gain 50 or 100 miles of their own Foundation-land. The Foundation that owns the private land can then use the public lands around it as a stakeholder.


  8. The Roundup of the Sand Wash Basin Herd in Colorado, and the horrible wreck involving a young wild mare who goes over backwards and is trampled while being forced into a trailer.

    This roundup occured because the Humane Society of the United States was funding a study on the use of birth control on wild horses. The contractor who was rounding up the wild horses for the Bureau of Land Management is Cook, and I have observed 1 other round up that they conducted where their treatment of the horses was cruel and inhumane. In this case, they were driving terrified horses with a helicopter into small pens, not even giving them time to settle down, then driving far too many horses through a very narrow opening into a horse trailer. These wrecks occured the day after “media day” when the press was allowed to observe. I contacted then Deputy Director of the BLM, Henry Bisson about this – the answer from his office was “Sometimes accidents happen, and sometimes horses are killed. Fortunately, in this case no horses were killed or seriously injured.” As a matter of fact, that mare did survive and have a foal a few months later, but 5 horses died in that round up. I also went to the Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board Meeting and presented the photos and was met with no response. Just 2 years before I was at a meeting of that same Advisory board with horrible photos of yet another Cook roundup and they promised to look into it. Nothing has been done. The contractor Cook is still one of the two main contractors used by the BLM to round up wild horses and preventable accidents continue to happen.

    Carol Walker is an equine and wildlife photographer living in Colorado. She is the author of Wild Hoofbeats: America’s Vanishing Wild Horses available at http://www.wildhoofbeats. Music by Bjorn Lynne.


  9. This is just devastating. Let us know whom to write. Sally, Neil Kornze, BLM Field offices are closing their ears.


  10. Yes, Heidi Hazard was in charge of that roundup. She was in charge of a HMA where wild horses were found without water when she worked for the BLM . Why HSUS hired her I will never understand.


    • @ barbara , maybe reabilatation was in order before working full time for them and a different mind set . anyways after reading the full articule ,it’s going to be amazing to see if the poor babies are going to be disfigured or even worse disabilities are going to affect them because of this idiots actions and if so should be fired . or worse yet if they are not aborted . so sad , that people like this are employed by them or this is the actual basic human they look for to employ with them . i mean , look what they have in the washington d c offices . why can’t they just be left alone or why can’t the horses be rounded up with horses the way it is suppose to be done. the smart way because the other way leaves to many lives lost and to many injuries . the smart way is not the washington d c way . anyways they make me sick , no help from anyone in these texas parts of government , so useless always get the same message back from them almost word for word and every time i write by snail mail never receive anything back . so frustrated .


    • No, BLM doesn’t do anything right. Just look at the oil drilling leases , fencing,livestock grazing, predator control being asked for from F&W, PZP use ( which IMO is not necessary) etc. Thanks for all the info, Louie.


  11. Patrick Brennan, one of the 3 Amigos of Sand Wash Basin, is saying on FB that this is in error. That the SWB herds are not in danger. The 3 Amigos are photographers that frequent SWB and are comprised of Patrick Brenna, John Wager and Joe Tosh all of whom have wonderful photos they post on FB I certainly hope Patrick is the one who is right.


  12. We know what is going on but what do we do? Write letters,.make calls top a BLM that is made up of these ranchers, who file our letters and emails in file 13 and ignore calls? These morally depraved idiots are just going to do whatever they want and w don’t count. They don’t give a damn that these are our horses. They don’t give a damn about our wishes or demands. All they care about is our tax dollars do they can live their lifestyle of the rich and famous…….


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