Colorado Wild Horse Facility Quarantined Due to Disease Outbreak

Canon City BLM holding facility location of wild horse deaths
BLM Colorado Administrative Units map shows location of Canon City wild horse holding facility.

Wild horses at the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) holding facility in Canon City, Colorado, have been infected with an unknown disease that is highly contagious and sometimes fatal, according to information from the BLM. The BLM is working with local, state and federal officials to determine the cause of 67 horse deaths as of April 26. The outbreak began on April 23.

The facility is now under a voluntary quarantine. An independent veterinarian and a federal veterinarian are on-site to help diagnose and treat animals. Horses showing signs of contagious disease are being quarantined from the population.

There are currently 2,550 horses at Canon City. The facility can house up to 3,000 animals at one time.

Horses gathered from the West Douglas area of Colorado in the fall of 2021 are the most impacted by the ongoing disease outbreak.  

“We are working with local, state and federal officials to determine what is impacting horses in the facility and how we can respond as effectively as possible,” said Stephen Leonard, BLM Colorado Wild Horse and Burro Program Manager.

The BLM’s wild horse and burro holding facility at the Colorado Department of Corrections in Canon City is one of only five facilities in the nation with a Wild Horse Inmate Program. As part of a cooperative agreement between the BLM and the Colorado Department of Corrections, inmates feed, care for and train horses for adoption while gaining meaningful and marketable experience they can use when they reenter the workforce.                                 

The Canon City facility holds adoptions for both trained and untrained mustangs. Generally, inmates at the Canon City facility finish training about seven to 10 horses each month.

BLM Colorado will post additional information and updates on this outbreak at Colorado – Herd Management Areas | Bureau of Land Management (

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