Monica Doddato competes her Colorado Rangerbred stallion Sunny’s Mighty Bar
Despite the breed’s name, Colorado Ranger Horses have fans throughout the country and internationally. One of the biggest concentrations of Colorado Ranger Horses, also called Rangerbreds, is in the state of Pennsylvania which is the home of the breed registry and in recent years, the site of the breed’s annual Championship Show, in Wattsburg.
“The registry was originally established in Colorado, but over time people changed and moved. The home office followed basically where the secretary is. That’s how it ended up in Wampum, Pennsylvania,” explained Monica Daddato.
Daddato, of Hermitage, Pa., is the owner of Colorado Ranger stallion Sunny’s Mighty Bar. She is sold on the breed for their temperament and versatility. “Most people don’t even know he’s a stallion when I take him to a show. He’s a gentleman and I’ve seen so many Rangerbred stallions that are that way,” she said. “They’re ‘using’ horses, they can do anything. I show him hunt seat, western, I’ve team penned on him, I’ve done obstacle challenges with him, I’ve trail ridden with him. I don’t think there’s anything a Rangerbred can’t do.”
Toni Lukavich of North Washington, Pa., is the president of the Colorado Ranger Horse Association, Inc. She is a big fan of the breed, and has seen how people who interact with the breed can quickly come to love them. “I honestly believe, once they’ve had them, they realize they are very easy to work with… and their history is really awesome,” she said.
The Colorado Ranger is a bloodline based breed. All registered horses must be able to show direct descent from one of the two foundation stallions. Max #2, and/or Patches #1.
Gift to Grant
According to the breed Web site, the two foundation stallions were descended from two desert stallions that were given to Ulysses S. Grant, during a world tour taken in 1878, as a token of deep friendship by Sultan Abdul Hamid of Turkey. The Arabian was named Leopard, and the Barb was named Linden Tree. The two spent 14 years in Virginia perfecting a breed of light harness horses before the advent of cars caused the complete dispersal of the farm’s stock.
In 1894, General L.W. Colby, an old retired Army friend of General Grant, who had extensive ranchholdings in Beatrice, Nebraska, persuaded Grant to bring the stallions west for a single breeding season. The one short summer left an indelible impression upon the Colby mares and word of their usefulness began to spread.
In the 1930s, Mike Ruby, who owned a herd of 300 mares in Colorado, acquired Patches (son of a Colby Ranch stallion) and Max, and began to build the breed. Unlike most breeders of the era. Ruby maintained accurate written records of his mares, stallions, and their offspring including foaling dates, colors, and their complete pedigrees. The information became the basis of the Colorado Ranger Horse Association, which he founded in 1935.
The resulting horses were recognized for their talents as stock horses, and as good all round horses. Physically, Colorado Rangers are typically stock horses in body type, and most exhibit Appaloosa coloring.
The oldest of the western horse breed registries still in existence, the Colorado Ranger Horse Association predated the creation of the Appaloosa Horse Club. Anyone with an Appaloosa may have a Colorado Ranger and not be aware of it. Most recent research indicates that one out of every eight Appaloosas is eligible for CRHA registry. Finding out is free and easy. Simply go to the Treasure Hunt page of the Colorado Ranger site and put in your Appaloosa’s registration number. That number provides the pedigree information that determines eligibility.
Certain outcrosses in breeding are allowed, including registered Thoroughbreds, Quarter Horses, Appaloosas, and Arabians. While most Colorado Ranger Horses have the distinctive Appaloosa coloring, there are also solid members of the breed. Registration is based on pedigree without regard to color.
Pedigree and appearance are not the factors that make Colorado Ranger Horses favorites of their owners. Above all, they are good working horses that excel in a variety of disciplines.
“They all seem to be extremely intelligent and willing to work. They’re very versatile - that’s one of the main features about this particular horse,” Lukavich said. Colorado Rangers are excelling as cow horses, and reiners, plus there are individuals that have done well on the race circuit, and in endurance riding “We ourselves do pleasure riding. All our pleasure riding horses are both western and English, they compete in both.”
For more information on the Colorado Ranger Horse, visit the Web site at www.coloradoranger.com