TJ Holmes

Spring Creek Basin

Since 2002, I've been visiting the mustangs of Spring Creek Basin, in Southwest Colorado. Since 2007, I've been documenting those mustangs, and since 2011, I've been darting mares with native PZP. My training was in August 2010, and I was fortunate to know and have been trained directly by Dr. Jay Kirkpatrick. I'm on the advisory board of the Colorado chapter of the National Mustang Association, which was formed in the late 1990s specifically to advocate for the Spring Creek Basin herd. Currently, the group has rescued wild horses that have gotten off the Ute Mountain Ute Reservation, and is working with Mesa Verde National Park officials to ensure safe treatment of the wild horses within the park that are to be removed. I'm also a founding member of coalition group Disappointment Wild Bunch Partners, formed in 2008 to bring more voices to the table to advocate for the well-being of Spring Creek Basin's mustangs. Other members are representatives of NMA/CO, Four Corners Back Country Horsemen and Mesa Verde Back Country Horsemen. We have worked with a variety of BLM employees, and for the last three years, our BLM partner has been herd manager Mike Jensen, rangeland management specialist at Tres Rios Field Office in Dolores. His commitment to the Spring Creek Basin herd has resulted in achievements such as our bait-trapping EA, signed last year. It's a proactive document that makes bait trapping the priority method or future gathers (when needed). We've done projects such as vegetation monitoring and fence repair/maintenance/building, and we built a second water catchment. I'm a recovering journalist. Since January 2012, I've worked for the Serengeti Foundation on its first mustang sanctuary, in Disappointment Valley. In 2017, Serengeti created a second mustang sanctuary in southeastern Colorado. Disappointment Valley Mustang Sanctuary is immediately adjacent to Spring Creek Basin Herd Management Area, so I live and work in mustang heaven!