The Lost Creek Herd

I’m at work, so of course I should be writing a blog, right? It’s been a while between posts (for me.) Cello is doing amazing. He had more time off last week than usual due to my tight schedule and inconvenient thunderstorms. The storms came with a lot of rain, so I couldn’t complain. Some didn’t have enough rain still.. I pulled up to the ranch on Saturday to see fire trucks leaving. Again. Lighting had stuck, this time on the property behind the large pasture a little ways. Dana (Spencer’s wife) saw the bolt of lightning and how close it was, so she ran upstairs to grab her binoculars. Yup, smoke. She hauled a** out there on the quad and put the fire out herself as best she could while Spencer called the fire department. They put it out twice before the trucks got there, in 20 minutes it was snuffed. This was the third fire at Castle Peak Ranch, the second within the property line (another 15 minute campfire sized fire had happened earlier the week.)


Anyways, that wasn’t the point of this post. I was bored today and planning our Wyoming vacation (Tetons, Yellowstone- canoeing, hiking, camping, climbing outdoor extravaganza) when it dawned on me to google the herd Cello came from (Lost Creek.) I found some interesting things. Like maybe I should have named Cello something related to fire- he gets a little more worked up over the fires than the other horses, with good reason, but maybe partly because there was the LOST CREEK FIRE the year he was born. So let’s recap.

  • A wild fire in his herd management area the spring he was born
  • A wild fire in Ft. Collins the day he was adopted
  • A fire big enough to prompt ranch evacuation scares the first month he is home
  • 2 small fires within the ranch property lines in the second month he is home

Aside from fire things, the Lost Creek herd was pretty interesting. Check these out, pulled from the BLM sites.

Genetic testing on the Lost Creek wild horse herd has shown the horses to carry a very high percentage of genetic markers identified with the Spanish Mustang breed. This means the horses are genetically more like the Spanish Mustang and other New World Iberian breeds than they are like other breeds such as American Quarter Horse or Morgan. The characteristic makes the Lost Creek herd unique among the wild horse herds of Wyoming tested so far.

The Lost Creek herd is located in southcentral Wyoming and is managed by the Bureau of Land Management’s Rawlins Field Office. The current population of the herd is about 116 animals. The herd management area (HMA) is located in the central portion of the Great Divide Basin and contains a small portion of the area known as the Red Desert. The Lost Creek herd has been more isolated from surrounding herds than is characteristic for Wyoming herds.

According to Chuck Reed, Rawlins Field Office, whose work is concentrated in the wild horse program, “The horses in the Lost Creek herd look a little different than other wild, free-roaming horses in Wyoming. They are just a tiny bit smaller, and their coloring is different than that of neighboring herds. Paints are less common in Lost Creek with solid colors predominant. Dorsal stripes and other so-called ‘primitive markings’ are more common.”

The BLM has been working with noted equine geneticist Dr. Gus Cothran of the University of Kentucky to better understand the genetics of the wild horses it manages. This information will help the BLM develop a management plan for the horse herd that will ensure its longterm viability as a rare and unique genetic resource. The plan will identify ways the management of the Lost Creek herd and its habitat might need to be modified in order to protect the rare and unique genetic resource.


The Lost Creek HMA lies within the Great Divide Basin, a closed basin out of which no water flows. Some desert playa and vegetated dune areas are interspersed throughout the HMA. Several sensitive desert wetland riparian areas occur throughout the area, including both intermittent and perennial lakes and streams. Elevation ranges from 6500 to 6800 feet. Winters are long and severe. Annual precipitation averages a little less than six inches.

I think we might try to stop by Lost Creek on our trip. It isn’t too far out of the way, I don’t think. I’ll have to check on that. 

Our ride went well yesterday, just a little arena work (which is settling down way better) and a little short trail ride. I felt really good when the ride was over. We’ve been doing more groundwork stuff and I feel like we are coming along nicely in our relationship. I’ll have to get some riding videos up soon!


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