SWAT is a group of dedicated volunteers working directly with the Bureau of Land Management to support and preserve the wild horses of Sand Wash Basin in Colorado.
All our volunteers have specific roles, and they also visit the range and photograph the herd and track social dynamics. Documentation never stops, the herd dynamics are constantly changing and we are continually challenged to keep up. Through photographs and range visits we are able to document the horses and their social structure. We maintain a large database that includes all horses - their names, identification numbers, gender, color, physical description, ancestry, and fertility treatment history. We document births, deaths, and injuries. If you visit Sand Wash Basin and take photographs, we encourage you to share them on our Facebook page. Photos are especially important to us and help our documentation.
We have volunteers who dart horses with fertility treatment, PZP. Our hardy team of darters are tenacious , determined and work extremely hard in all kinds of weather and rough range conditions. Through fertility treatment and the lowering of the birth rate, we are helping horses stay wild and free on the range.
We have supporters who join us at our yearly on range rendezvous cleanup day, typically held in September. This is a great opportunity to meet us and learn more about what we do. We more often than not will do a range project such as removing old barb wire and trash, taking down old fence signs, or repairing fences. We camp out and encourage anyone joining us to do the same, we do take time to view horses.
We meet with the BLM as needed to discuss range conditions, make suggestions for habitat improvement, and maintain a working relationship.
SWAT has a memo of understanding with the Bureau of Land Management - the BLM. This MOU gives us the responsibility of administering fertility treatment, which is our focus.
SWAT implemented the fertility treatment program in 2014, and we have continued to dart horses yearly ever since. We actively support the utilization of PZP to control the birth rate and population. We have certified volunteers who administer birth control using approved methods. Our team of darters are tenacious and determined and work extremely hard in all kinds of weather and rough range conditions.
We believe by lowering the birth rate we are preventing the gather and removal of horses, we are helping horses stay wild and free on the range, the only home they have ever known. The last large helicopter removal of horses from Sand Wash was in 2008. Because of our fertility control and our working relationship with the BLM, we have been able to hold the removals to a small bait and trap gather in 2016 of 43 horses.
We receive no compensation from the BLM, our work is performed by a group of dedicated, unpaid volunteers. Donations are very welcome and appreciated and help us to continue our work.
Please consider a donation to our cause! All donations to our 501c3 non profit are tax deductible.
A large part of our work centers around herd documentation. We maintain a large database of all horses in Sand Wash Basin. We track births, deaths, missing and injured horses.
All horses are assigned a unique identification number, and a name. We document color and markings to include socks, stockings, blaze, stars. We take photographs to document the horses and their family bands. We observe and take notes. We share information, and welcome photographs from visitors to the range. This information helps us identify horses and track their social structure.
Documentation is essential to fertility treatment. We track all mares, their treatment type (primer and booster), the treatment date, and other statistics. Our large database goes back to 2008, when the Humane Society conducted a fertility treatment study.
Herd Documentation never stops! Change within the herd happens daily, and we are continually updating our records. We welcome photographs and information that helps us!