In 2023 the Colorado legislature passed Senate Bill 23-275 to provide resources and support efforts to ensure the long-term sustainability of Colorado’s wild horse herds and rangelands. This new program will be led by the Animal Health Division and managed by CDA’s Agriculture and Wildlife Programs Manager, Wayne East. This webpage has information about how the Colorado Department of Agriculture is implementing the bill and will be updated as the work progresses.
Colorado is home to four federally owned and protected wild horse herds generally found within federal herd management areas administered by the Bureau of Land Management in accordance with the federal "Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act." Federal budgets have not kept pace with the needs of these wild horse herds, and this underfunding has negative effects on the wild horses, Colorado's vital agricultural industry, rangeland conditions, wildlife, and more. Colorado has the opportunity to serve the diverse interests of livestock owners, wildlife, and range health by supporting humane wild horse management, stabilizing herd numbers, and reducing the unsustainable cycle of population growth followed by the removal of wild horses from the range.
- Growing partnerships and networks to support wild horse management;
- Providing state-level coordination and support for the existing work of local non-profit groups in delivering immunocontraceptives through darting; and
- Installing and maintaining infrastructure needed to support the well-being of rangelands and wild horses.
The Wild Horse Working Group was created by statute to make recommendations on humane, non-lethal alternatives for wild horses that are taken off range in Colorado or held in federal holding facilities.
See Senate Bill 23-275 for information on the various positions on the Working Group and their appointing authority. Appointments to the Working Group required by statute are not made by CDA. CDA is working with a contractor to facilitate meetings and draft recommendations on behalf of the working group.
The Wild Horse Working Group is a recommending body only. While its recommendations are expected to be highly influential in on- and off-range wild horse management in Colorado, the Working Group has no authority to bind or obligate the State or any Working Group members.
You can review the full Working Group Charter here.
The Wild Horse Working Group meetings will be held in person across Colorado and open to the public.
Future meeting dates and locations:
- April 23, 2024: Grand Junction
- June 17-18, 2024: Southwest Colorado (exact location TBD)
For more information about the meetings as it becomes available, please check back here or sign up for email updates below.
The Colorado Wild Horse Working Group welcomes civil and constructive public comment. The Working Group anticipates that public comment will enhance members’ understanding of issues and inform their decision making.
Every full Working Group meeting will include 30 minutes for verbal public comment. Commenters must sign up prior to speaking. Each comment will be limited to 2 minutes. First-time commenters will have the opportunity to speak before individuals who have commented at previous meetings. The Working Group will hear as many comments as possible during the identified 30-minute window.
Personal attacks, name calling, and profanity will not be tolerated and will result in a commenter’s time concluding prematurely. All threats, verbal or written, will be referred to local law enforcement.
Written public comment may be provided at any time using the form below or by emailing CDA_wildhorseprogram@state.co.us.
Working Group Members
Cynthia (Cindy) J. Wright
Wild Horse Warriors for Sand Wash Basin
Cindy and her sister, Aletha Dove, created Wild Horse Warriors for Sand Wash Basin in 2017. In 2018 they signed an MOU with the Bureau of Land Management with a focus on range management. Since 2018 they have raised over $150,000 for improvements in the Sand Wash Basin Herd Management Area and have conducted range improvement projects including fencing and water sources. Cindy is currently the only permitted tour guide of Wild Horses in the Sand Wash Basin Herd Management Area.
Spring Creek Basin Mustangs
TJ lives in the high desert of Colorado’s un-disappointing and endlessly fascinating Disappointment Valley, with mustangs and other neighbors of the four-legged variety. She documents Spring Creek Basin’s mustangs and acts as a birth-control provider (as a BLM volunteer) to reduce the need for roundups and removals of the wild horses that were there first and should always be there.
Colorado Tourism Office
As Director of Destination Development & Research for the Colorado Tourism Office Andrew works with communities across the state to realize their potential as tourism destinations. Guided by the belief that we are all stronger together, he helps identify common challenges and opportunities within a diverse set of tourism stakeholders to develop a common vision for the change they want to see in their community. In his free time, he can be found backpacking to alpine lakes or soaking in Colorado's eclectic hot springs.
Colorado Department of Agriculture
Les has been the Conservation Services Division Director with the Colorado Department of Agriculture since August of 2016. He provides oversight and coordination of the Department's efforts to protect and enhance the state's agricultural resources as they relate to conservation, land use, range management, soil and vegetation management, grazing on public lands, water quality and quantity, wildlife habitat, endangered species, and other natural resources related issues. He was raised near the small town of Corona, New Mexico where most of his time was spent working on the family ranch.
Rancher, Moffatt County Commissioner
Donald manages Sombrero Ranches on the western slope of Colorado, where he oversees the nation’s largest herd of broke horses, supplying riding stables, movie scenes and outfitters with ridable livestock. He has a strong background in agriculture, economic development, tourism, and has a broad understanding of the social and economic ties that comprise Moffat County, Colorado. Donald is serving his second term as a Moffat County Commissioner. He is the Commissioner Liaison to several county boards including the community Libraries, Fair Board, and the Moffat County Tourism Association.
Friends of the Mustangs
Judy has been involved with all aspects of the wild horses of Colorado. Her closest affiliation is with the Little Bookcliffs Wild Horse Range and she has over 35 years of experience partnering with the BLM to care for wild horses. This is Judy’s third year as President of Friends of the Mustangs.
Steadfast Steeds Mustang Horse Sanctuary
Tracy founded Steadfast Steeds Mustang Horse Sanctuary of Western Colorado in 2010. As a lifelong horse-woman, she has experienced many disciplines, including Dressage and Mustang Gentling. In addition to college, Tracy advanced her equine education through Horse Courses online in five areas of focus. Tracy is a graduate of the Academy for Coaching with Horses (2011), certified in EFLC (Equine Facilitated Learning & Coaching With Horses). Tracy attends continuing education clinics annually to keep updating skills and approaches with wild horse gentling. Tracy and her husband partner with their mustang mentors to raise public awareness of mustangs through tourist visitors, life-coaching clientele, and school groups at the sanctuary. They have one daughter; she and her family live in Quantico, VA, while her husband serves as a United States Marine.
In 2018 I co-founded Piceance Mustangs, a volunteer group out of Meeker, Colorado, of which I am currently the president. Our goal is to work with the BLM in the Piceance Basin to promote “healthy free-roaming horses on healthy rangelands.” We educate the public about wild horses (mustangs) by participating in events including Meeker Mustang Makeover, Sheepdog Trials, and Range Call during which we present information about the range and horses. In addition, we monitor the horses and the Piceance-East Douglas Herd Management Area (PEDHMA). In 2021, the Piceance Mustangs started a fertility control program. In 2022 we worked with the BLM on the largest wild horse gather in Colorado history. This year we are working hard to find adopters for the horses that were gathered. Piceance Mustangs had over 7,000 volunteer hours for the 2023 fiscal year. Kathy is a nurse by profession, and enjoys spending time with her 5-year-old grandson and introducing him to the wild horses of the Piceance Basin.as well as reading, hiking, and photography in her spare time.
Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
Alan Bittner serves as the Deputy State Director for Resources and Planning at the BLM State Office in Colorado. The division provides guidance and policy direction to the four districts and ten field offices within BLM Colorado’s 8.3 million acres. The division includes all biologic resources, wild horses, water rights and cultural resource management. In addition, statewide planning guidance and recreation management are led out of the division.
Before Colorado, Alan served as the Northern California District Manager in Redding, California since 2017 where he oversaw four field offices in a district that stretched from the coast to NW Nevada. Alan served as the Anchorage Field Manager, where he oversaw 24 million acres of BLM-administered public lands in western, south-central, and southeast Alaska. Alan also served as an Assistant Field Manager in Carson City, Nevada for four years where he oversaw the forestry, range, recreation, wildlife and wild horse and burro programs.
Alan began his career in Idaho where he worked for the U.S. Forest Service and BLM for 15 years. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in biology from Cornerstone University in Michigan and he enjoys getting outdoors with his wife Monique and their two boys.
Natural Resource Director, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe
For more than 12 year, I sustainably managed the largest cattle ranch in Wyoming. During my time as manager, I was able to get over 600,000 acres certified under the USDA Organic Certification Program. The ranch raised certified organic, grass-fed beef that we sold to the 32 stores in the Rocky Mountain Region of Whole Foods.
As the current Natural Resource Director for the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, I am in touch with several Natural Resources and environmental Managers from many Tribes in the Intermountain West. Each Tribe has its own set of challenges, but many of the tribes have similar challenges and goals. I have always found the Native American approach to the environment and natural resources to be one of balance and harmony, unlike some of the extractive practices found on non-Tribal Land.
My approach to land management, especially when it comes to grazing, is first and fore most the protection of native ecosystems. When one part of an intricate ecosystem is damaged, the delicate balance of the whole ecosystem is jeopardized. To restore this balance is a more difficult undertaking than maintaining this balance in the first place.
One way to maintain and protect native ranges and ecosystems is by monitoring. What is going on, not just in the health of native grasses and shrubs, but what is going on under the surface? How healthy is the soil? What about the organisms living in the soil? We can't expect healthy grasslands if we don't have healthy soil.
Sand Wash Advocate Team
Stella is the President of SWAT – Sand Wash Advocate Team and has been volunteering in Sand Wash Basin since 2012. The focus of SWAT is fertility treatment and the darting of mares with PZP. Stella started darting in 2014, along with a small group of other determined volunteers, when SWAT took over fertility treatment from the Humane Society of the United States. We firmly believe population control is necessary, and darting is what we can do as individuals to make a difference and lower the need for gathers so wild horses can remain wild and free in Sand Wash Basin, the only home they have ever known.
SWAT is a small boots on the ground advocacy group, working as volunteer partners with the BLM and administering fertility treatment to the mares of the SWB HMA since 2014. We have a Memo of Understanding with the BLM to provide fertility treatment, darting mares with PZP.
Stella lives in Northern Colorado with her husband, 3 mustangs, 5 dogs and 1 cat. Born in England, Stella came to the States in 1967, and has been a Colorado resident for the past 56 years. Living primarily in Denver, Stella retired and moved out of the city to Jackson County so she could adopt mustangs and to be closer to her volunteer duties in Sand Wash Basin.
The duties of SWAT don’t leave much time for hobbies, but what spare time is available Stella spends with her young granddaughters, rambling around Jackson County, and spending time with her horses and dogs.
Executive Director of White River and Douglas Creek Conservation Districts
Callie Hendrickson grew up on a cow/calf ranch near Uravan, Colorado and has dedicated her career to working with the original stewards of the land, the rancher. Callie has worked for and with conservation districts at the state, national, and local levels since 2002.
She is currently serving her thirteenth year as the Executive Director for the White River and Douglas Creek Conservation Districts (Districts) in Rio Blanco County. Callie has been engaged in many natural resource issues including rangelands, water, forestry, and wildlife.
Callie served on the National BLM Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board from 2012 – 2015 and on the Northwest Colorado Resource Advisory Council (RAC) from 2019 – 2021. As Exec. Director of the Districts, Callie has partnered with BLM to facilitate an intense rangeland monitoring program in the Piceance East Douglas Herd Management Area that has documented the forage utilization, the species that utilize the forage, and the rangeland conditions.
Callie also currently serves as the Yampa White Green Basin Roundtable’s Senate/House Appointee, the Colorado Cattlemen’s Water Committee as Co-Chair, Rio Blanco Stockgrowers Association member, Rio Blanco County Farm Bureau board member, and Club 20 board member. Callie lives with her husband in the beautiful White River Valley and enjoys all the Western Slope has to offer.
CANA Foundation Board
Elise serves as the Workforce and Wild Horse Policy Advisor on the CANA Foundation Board, a non-profit Environmental Conservation Organization. CANA’s mission is to conserve and restore the North American landscape through science-based rewilding initiatives that improve the overall health and vitality of North American grasslands and Western rangelands with a focus on wild horses as a keystone species.
For the past 5 years, Elise has worked with CANA’s international team of scientists on conservation and environmental research initiatives for ecosystem and land restoration using large herbivores, i.e., wild horses. The team has focused on climate change initiatives such as, carbon sequestration, and grassland ecology and rangeland restoration. She also is a legislative policy advisor to The Cloud Foundation, In Defense of Animals, SAFE Food Safe Horses, Central Oregon Wild Horse Coalition and the Wild Equid League of CO. Her 2 OTTSB horses rescued from the kill pen continue to be her teacher.
In her day job, she brings more than 25 years directing employment and training programs and developing policy at the state and local levels, and has learned the value of broad-based coalitions. She currently serves as an appointed member on several national workforce associations and state boards, has presented on workforce issues nationally and internationally, and has received numerous awards for innovation. Her work with industry, non-profits, and local, state and federal government partners has helped her navigate the political landscape, working with diverse coalitions to find solution-based integrated strategies that are a win/win for all parties.
Elise continues to focus on improving awareness and growing a diverse workforce through environmental, educational and employment programs, e.g., veterans to address workforce shortages in wild horse and rangeland management; rural and economic development initiatives, and science-based wild horse management -- which will benefit wildlife and people.
Sandra Hagen Solin
American Wild Horse Campaign
Sandra Hagen Solin, founder and President of Capitol Solutions, proudly sits on the Wild Horse Working Group as a representative of the American Wild Horse Campaign (AWHC). AWHC is America’s leading voice fighting to defend and ensure the future of America's iconic wild horses and burros and the Western public lands where they roam. AWHC’s in-the-wild management program for Nevada’s historic Virginia Range is the largest, humane fertility control program for wild, free-roaming horses in the world.
Sandra guides exceptional clients in navigating the intersection of politics and business as head of Capitol Solutions, a premier government affairs and lobbying firm. She founded Capitol Solutions in 1993 at 23 years old and quickly built a successful firm solving complex public affairs challenges at the local, state, and federal level for clients made up of Colorado's leading corporations, Fortune 500 companies and trade associations.
Named a “Key Colorado Influencer” in 2019, one of the “Top 10 Colorado Politicos” in 2018, and “Most Influential Business Leader” in 2022. Sandra served as the GOP Political Analyst for Denver News Station FOX31/KDVR while providing business, political and legislative insight and commentary for TV and print media outlets locally and nationally. She’s been featured in the New York Times, The Hill, FoxNews, CBS News, BBC, among Colorado-based outlets.
Sandra brought her years of political and media relationships and experience to bear on the impending 2021 Sand Wash Basin roundup resulting in a shortened roundup and BLM agreement to take a different approach in Colorado in the future. Months later, Sandra adopted two Sand Wash Basin stallions/geldings. In 2023, working on behalf of the AWHC, Sandra drove strong bi-partisan passage of SB 23-275, Colorado Wild Horse Project, by joining forces with the Governor’s office, the House Majority and Minority Leaders and key Senators.
Animal Welfare Institute & Homes for Horses Coalition
Tessa Archibald is a Policy Associate for the Equine program at the Animal Welfare Institute and acts as Manager of the Homes for Horses Coalition. The Homes for Horses Coalition (HHC) is a network of equine rescues, sanctuaries, and advocacy organizations dedicated to supporting equines in need. HHC advocates for laws and policies that improve the treatment of domestic and wild horses, donkeys, and mules. Tessa has a background in equine care and ownership and received her MS in Animals and Public Policy from the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University before moving to Colorado in 2021. Tessa is trained in the remote delivery of PZP immunocontraception and advocates for the use of fertility control in wild horse herds as a humane alternative to roundups and removals.
Additional Work Group Members
Dept. of Natural Resources, Assistant Director for Parks, Wildlife, and Lands
Governor’s Office, Policy Advisor for Wildlife, Agriculture, and Rural Economic Development
State Land Board, Recreation Program Manager
Richard (Dwayne) Rice
US Forest Service