The ~Texas~ Mustang Project's Blog

Working for better management options and cohabitation through compromise and communication for the American Wild Mustang

Cold Springs HMA Wild Horse Gather

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on July 10, 2010

Cold Springs HMA Wild Horse Gather – July 2010 – Documents & Evidence

HMA Background: The Cold Springs Herd Management Area (HMA) comprises about 29,877 acres of public land and approximately another 3,000 acres of interspersed private lands. The HMA is located in Malheur County, about 25 miles SW from Harper, Oregon. The AML for wild horses within the HMA is 75-150 wild horses. The AML was established in Southern Malheur Management Framework Plan (MFP) (March, 1983) and was analyzed in the Southeast Oregon Resource Management Plan Final Environmental Impact Statement (SEORMP/FEIS, 2001). The HMA was last gathered in July 2005.  


The BLM is proposing to gather about 165 wild horses and remove approximately 106 excess wild horses from within and outside the Cold Springs HMA beginning in about July 2010. Seventy-five wild horses would remain in the HMA after the gather; of these, about 30 would be mares treated with fertility control and about 45 would be studs or geldings to adjust the sex ratio and slow population growth.



The area’s designation as a herd management area was maintained in the SEORMP/FEIS ROD (2002). AML was established a population range of 75-150 wild horses in March 1983 in the Southern Malheur MFP. The current estimated population of 181 wild horses in the Cold Springs HMA is based on a direct count aerial population survey completed in April 2010. This number is broken down into 143 adults and 38 foals.  

Analysis of these data indicates an average annual growth rate of approximately 17 % since the last gather. The current population is about 1 ½ times over the AML lower limit. Most of the wild horses observed in the HMA were a Body Condition Score of 4 using the Henneke Body Condition Chart.  

In the early 1970’s, wild horses within the Cold Springs HMA were predominantly grays and draft type. Sorrel, buckskin, bay, brown, black, and red roans were also found, with most showing draft breed characteristics. Adult horses in the HMA weigh an average of 950 to 1250 pounds and stand between 14.2 and 16.0 hands, with some stallions being slightly larger.



Stallions from other herds with similar characteristics have been periodically introduced into this HMA to help ensure genetic diversity. Baseline genetic diversity samples were taken in 2005. These samples indicate that genetic variability within the Cold Springs HMA is high and the herd appears to be of mixed origins from North American breeds. In comparison with other Oregon herds, the Cold Springs herd shows closest resemblance to the South Steens, Beattys Butte, and Paisley herds.



There was a large winter dieoff in 1994. As a result, there was a long period of time between 1987 and 2005 in which the Cold Springs herd was not gathered. The last removal of excess wild horses from the Cold Springs HMA was completed in July 2005 when 273 horses were gathered and 233 were removed. Following the gather, 12 mares and 21 stallions (a total of 33 animals) were released. The un-gathered population was estimated at 42 animals for a total estimated post-gather population of 75 animals (about 45 males and 30 females or a 60/40 % male/female sex ratio).  



Grazing Information: Cold Springs HMA is located within North Star Mountain Allotment and is entirely in one pasture; the Wildcat/Coldsprings Pasture is a total of 353% of the acreage within the entire allotment. There are a total of two livestock operators, one with two permits, who are currently authorized to graze cattle in this allotment annually. The operators are authorized to use 9030 Animal Unit Months (AUMs) of forage within the allotment each year between April 1 and October 31. An AUM is the amount of forage needed to sustain one cow, five sheep, or five goats for a month. The allotment consists of various pastures grazed in a rest-rotation system. Livestock grazing use in Wildcat/Coldspring Pasture is deferred until after the active growing season (May through June) two of three years in the rotation and is rested in the third year. The BLM allocated forage for livestock use most recently in the 2002 record of decision for the Southeastern Oregon Resource Management Plan (SEORMP). The allocation was carried forward from the Southern Malheur Rangeland Program Summary (January 1984), and will be revisited during activity planning associated with evaluation and assessment within South Fork Malheur River/Stockades Geographic Management Area as described in the SEORMP.   

Table 4: Livestock Use Information 


Total Allotment Acres    

% of Allotment in HMA    

Number of Permittees    

Number of Authorized Livestock    

Authorized Season of Use    

Authorized Livestock AUMs in Allotment    

Average Actual Livestock Use (AUMs) (Past 5 years)    

North Star Mountain   

91,702 PD 6,283 Pvt 3,824 State   



1,311 Cattle   

4/1 – 10/31   


6724 average 4872 minimum 8835 maximum   

Southeastern Oregon Resource Management Plan and Record of Decision  

This Record of Decision (ROD) approves the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM’s) plan to manage the public lands within the Malheur and Jordan Resource Areas of the Vale District during the next 20 years and beyond.  



2 Responses to “Cold Springs HMA Wild Horse Gather”

  1. To BLM:
    Dear Sirs: I greatly oppose your planned reductions of the wild horses in Oregon’s Cold Springs HMA. These reducations are excessive and you should increase the AMLs so that the wild horses become the principal presences in a well balanced ecosystem, not mere token numbers constitutinga prescription for their decline.

  2. Lisa LeBlanc said

    I don’t understand the Grazing Allotment numbers – too many Wild Horses, but not too many cattle?
    I’m not tryin’ to be a Airhead. I honestly don’t understand. The HMA is within the Allotment? And there is not enough forage for the Wild Ones & the Cattle?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: