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365 Days in Horse Country – Colorado Rangers

Blog by Michael Stuart Webb | October 31st, 2013

365 Days in Horse Country – Colorado Rangers


Everyone involved in horses has heard of the Quarter Horse and Appaloosa, but not everyone knows about another breed that has been around as long as both of these; the Colorado Ranger.

The roots of the Colorado Ranger (also known as the Colorado Rangebred) lie in the Middle East, where General Ulysses S. Grant befriended Sultan Abdul Hamid II of Turkey in 1878, and was given a gift of an Arabian Stallion named Leopard and Barb Stallion named Linden Tree.  The two horses were subsequently used in a program designed to create a new breed of light harness horse to be called the Americo-Arab.

The advent of the automotive engine thwarted plans for the new breed, and the two stallions were sent to Nebraska for a summer to stand stud on the property of a rancher named General George Colby.  Here Colby bred the stallions to his mares of mixed breeding (some reportedly spotted), producing excellent working horses.

The reputation of Colby’s fine ranch horses soon spread, and not long after, the Ira J. Whipple family of Colorado purchased a double-bred grandson of Leopard from Colby, along with mares sired by Leopard or Linden Tree. In doing so, they brought the legacy of the fine horses to the state of Colorado.

They typical Colorado Ranger stands from 14.2 to 16 hands in height and has stock-horse type conformation.  Its build is refined while still being solid enough for hard ranch work.  Some horses in the breed retain a concave (dished) profile as the result of Ranger’s Arabian genes, and many possess considerable stamina.

Colorado Rangerbreds come is just about any solid colour seen in horses, particularly bay, chestnut, gray, black, and brown.  The Appaloosa-type coat patterns most often seen in the breed are leopard, frosted blanket, blanket with spots, and snowflake.

Along with having a compact body and powerful hindquarters, the Colorado Ranger is known for being willing, eager to please, and loaded with good cow sense.