Dude Ranch Life: A horse shopping spree

new horses at Colorado dude ranch

Each year, as we retire some horses and others are purchased, we need to replenish our herd to be ready for our dude ranch season in the summer. Typically this takes the form of going to sales in the spring, and hoping that they horses we picked will be as good when they get back to the ranch. This year, we decided to try a different approach. All fall and winter, Sam and KP have been scouring the classifieds, Craigslist, special horse for sale pages on Facebook, and spreading the word through local horse connections. They’ve put in a lot of miles on the road–going to see horses, try them out, get to know their history, and making purchases. All in all, since last fall they have brought home 16 new horses! It’s been a lot of work, but we’re all hopeful that the success rate for the horses working out for our needs will be much higher than past years due to this more in-depth purchasing process.

So, here’s who we have new to the team:

  • Betty- She’s a sweet and sassy Appaloosa mare with a hysterical Mohawk. We’ve already used her this winter for both kids and adults, so she’s a perfect, versatile horse.
  • Turtle- This guy is one of those priceless horses. His beautiful sorrel color is contrasted with four white socks and a big bold blaze. He’ll be one of our go-to kid horses as he is steady and safe.
  • Dollar- A stocky, little buckskin with a white snip. We’re looking forward to seeing who matches up best with him.
  • Chip- Sam describes him as “gritty.” He came from a feedlot where he’s worked hard dragging cows and keeping order. This little sorrel was painfully thin when we bought him, so he’s been on the VVR weight gain program and is doing really well now.
  • Sadie- A beautiful gray mare, she came as a two-fer with her son last fall. It’s going to take a little time for her to settle in, but she’s solid and gorgeous and we’re looking forward to putting some miles on her.
  • Bugs- This is Sadie’s son, and he is a spitting image of her. Sam says he’s still figuring things out at the ranch, so he might be one we work with for the first couple weeks of our season before we start using him for guests.
  • Blondie- Of course this is a palomino paint mare with that name! Her four white socks and petite frame make her a standout. She’s an old pro at giving kids riding lessons, so she will be great for kids and her slight build will make her a match for small adults as well.
  • Belle- She’s black, she’s sweet, and she is ready to be a kind babysitter for the kiddos.
  • Brother- This guy must have some Warmblood in his breeding as he is a tall drink of water. His solid build and kind temperament will make him a great steed for larger riders.
  • Peso- A big bay, this guy is going to take a little more time to work into the VVR lifestyle. KP has been working with him, and will probably spend more time on him this summer– settling him and tuning him up until he’s ready to get out with our guests.
  • Montana- This big, gray gelding has a colorful history. He was trained to do cowboy mounted shooting, but he just wasn’t fast enough to make the cut. So, just know that nothing can phase this guy!
  • Willow- Another beauty, this sweet mare is a gruella, which is a beautiful coloring that isn’t very common. She had a good little injury on her hip that we’ve been nursing, and she’s healing up really well, so she’ll be ready for the summer season.
  • Polly- This gal got her name from her unique brand with a P in it. A well-proportioned sorrel mare, she has given riding lessons to kids in the past, so there’s a good chance we’ll put some kiddos on her this summer.
  • Bear- He reminds us all of Nacho, so we’re hoping he’ll be a perfect replacement for that old guy as he heads towards retirement. This half-draft is big, bay, stocky, and laid back.
  • Jasper- Another half-draft, this one is a black beauty. His beautiful, long forelock makes me think of the kind of horse you’d see in a jousting match. But this guy would rather meander on the trail than charge down a lane carrying an armored knight.
  • Millie- There will always be the one KP falls in love with, and this is the one. She’s a super sweet bay mare who is ready to go….that is if you can get KP to share her!