Use and characteristics of the Colorado Ranger
Colorado Ranger Horses are also known as Colorado Rangerbreds. The breed developed on the Colorado High Plains, where it gained its qualities of endurance and athleticism, two of the characteristics that sellers promote when they sell a Colorado Rangerbred. The horses stand a useful 14.2 hands (58 inches/147 cm) to 16 hands (64 inches/163 cm) high. This makes them a good choice as family mounts, and indeed they excel as horses for pleasure and trail riding. Their rideability is one of the main reasons people buy a Colorado Ranger; in the show ring, they often appear in western classes.
Origin and history of breeding Colorado Ranger horses
When United States President Ulysses S. Grant was on a world tour in 1878, one of his important engagements was a meeting with the Turkish Sultan Abdul Hamid II. The meeting was clearly a successful one since the Sultan gave two fine horses to Grant, the first being a four-year-old grey Barb named Linden Tree, the other a grey Arabian named Leopard. The two stallions were shipped from Turkey to the USA, arriving in Virginia in 1879. On arrival, they drew the interest of Randolph Huntingdon, a famed Virginia horse breeder who was a leading producer of Trotters and Roadsters. Huntingdon saw the potential in these two stallions to fulfil his own dream, which was the creation of a new, wholly American horse that he intended to call the Americo-Arab. In a world that was still dependent on using horses in all aspects of everyday life, the potential for export as well as home use was immense, Huntingdon believed. The two stallions ran out with Huntingdon’s herds in Virginia for fourteen years. Then in 1894, the tale took another turn when General Colby leased the two stallions, now aged horses in their late teens and early twenties, to take to his ranch in Nebraska. Although they were only there for one year, the effect on Colby’s breeding programme was remarkable. When bred to the mares he owned, the result was a type of horse that was exceptionally good for cow and general ranch work. While the intention was not necessarily to produce horses with appaloosa colouring, this appears to have been the outcome of the intensive line breeding that was involved in creating the Colorado Ranger Horse. The horses were very popular in the west, while in Virginia, Huntingdon’s commercial operations were collapsing and in 1906 his entire stock was sold. The proto-breed continued to develop with the introduction of a new Barb stallion, Spotte, by the W. R. Thompson Cattle Company. In the 1930s, famous horseman Mike Ruby ensured the survival of the horses by removing them from a dustbowl area to better grazing in the Colorado Rocky Mountains.
Colorado Ranger horses in equestrianism
One of the most famous stallions in the history of the breed was Tony, a black-eared white horse, grandson of Leopard. Mike Ruby’s Max, a leopard-spotted stallion, was also influential as was his son Max#2.