Horse Isle 3: Big Book of Breeds
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Big Book of Breeds
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[ INDEX ] Equine Type: Horse Breed: Colorado Ranger   [ PREV ] [ NEXT ]
The Colorado Ranger (also known as 'Rangerbred') is an American horse breed, which is known for its excellent cow sense, and for its spotted coat. While this breed resembles the Appaloosa, with which it is often confused, these are two different breeds with different history and different linage requirements.

One might think that the Colorado Ranger was solely developed in Colorado, but in fact the story of this breed starts in Nebraska, in a farm owned by a retired army general called L.W. Colby. Colby had a friend called U.S. Grant, who received two desert-bred stallions during a trip to the Middle East: the first was an Arabian named Leopard, and the second was a Barb named LindenTree. In 1894, Grant gave the stallions to Colby for one breeding season. Colby crossed the stallions with the mares on his ranch, and was impressed by the foals who grew to be excellent cow horses.

The horses who were bred at Colby's ranch excelled so much as cow horses, that they attracted the attention of ranchers and breeders from nearby states. One of these states was Colorado, where a group of ranchers decided to establish their own stock of Colby horses. To this end, one of these horsemen, called A.C. Whipple, purchased a group of mares from Colby, as well as one black spotted stallion called Tony, all of which related to either Leopard or Linden Tree, and started to breed them. The resulting foals not only grew to be fine cow horses, but also had spotted coat colors, which made them stand out even more.

In beginning of the 1930s, a horseman from Colorado named Mike Ruby bought one of Tony's sons named Patches 1, plus a black leopard Arabian cross named Max who was Leopard's son. Ruby crossed these two stallions with the mares he had in his ranch, and, similarly to Colby forty years ago, was also impressed with the quality of the foals. Therefore, not only that he continued to breed the horses, but he also documented the birthdate, color, and linage of and every horse in his breeding program.

In 1934, the horses bred by Mike Ruby were officially recognized as belonging to a unique breed which received the name 'Colorado Ranger.' One year later, in 1935, Ruby founded the Colorado Ranger Horse Association (CRHA). Unfortunately, Ruby decided to limit the number CRHA members to 50, and to accept for registration only horses bred by CRHA members. It meant that many breeders of Colorado Ranger horses could not register their horses. Therefore, these breeders decided to register their spotted horses as Appaloosa horses instead, which is why some Colorado Ranger horses have Appaloosa parents in their pedigree. These breeders also bred their horses with Appaloosa horses, and thus introduced Appaloosa blood into the Colorado Ranger breed.

In 1964, the "50 members" law was revoked, and anyone who bred Colorado Rangers could join the registry. In addition, any horses who could be traced back to one of the two foundation sires of the Colorado Ranger breed -- Max 2 or Patches 1 -- could be registered as a Colorado Ranger. Therefore, many of today's Colorado Rangers have Appaloosa ancestors.

Until the 1980s, the Colorado Ranger association had an open studbook, which allowed crossbreeding of Colorado Ranger horses with horses of other breeds, such as Appaloosas, Arabians, Ara-Appaloosas, Quarter Horses, Thoroughbreds, and even Lusitanos. While, the studbook was closed in the 1980s, crossbreeding with Appaloosas, Arabians, Ara-Appaloosas, Quarter Horses, and Thoroughbreds is still allowed. Crossing with American Paint Horses is forbidden, and therefore crossing with Appendix Horses is allowed as long as the horse is 50% Thoroughbred an 50% Quarter (not 50% Paint.) Therefore, in Horse Isle, Colorado Ranger horses are not allowed to be crossed with Appendix Quarter Horses.

Ever since they were created by the end of the 19th century, Colorado Rangers were known for their endurance and ability to work with cattle. These horses may be slower than the famous Quarter Horse, but these cow horses have the strength and agility required for performing their job. Today, Colorado Rangers are used primarily for various Western disciplines.

Colorado Ranger horses are also known for their spotted coats, which are often come in the patterns of spotted blanket, snowcap blanket, or leopard. However, it is important to remember that the Colorado Ranger is not a color registry, and that Colorado Ranger horses can also come in solid coats. The only pattern which this breed cannot have is pinto.

Colorado Ranger horses come in all colors, and can have either a leopard or a solid coat. Pinto is not found in this breed, and pinto horses are forbidden from registration. When it comes to height, most Colorado Rangers stand between 14.2hh and 16hh, but some horses can be taller. In Horse Isle, Colorado Rangers stand between 14.2hh and 16.3hh.

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