The Colorado Ranger Horse was named for its Colorado High
Plains origin. Verbal references to those "range bred" horses
eventually led to their being more commonly known as Rangerbreds
or Rangerbred Horses. But despite its appearance, the Rangerbred
is not a type of Appaloosa even though many Rangerbreds are
double-registered with the Appaloosa Horse Clubs of both the
United States and Canada. It has its own unique heritage.
Colorado Ranger Horses were bred for being cow savvy, and
can anticipate the movements of cattle, and for their performance
capabilities. They excel in ranch work with great stamina
and do well in endurance competitions.
Colorado Ranger Horses are refined horses due to their Arabian/Barb
ancestry and are compact animals, with powerful hindquarters.
Like most popular breeds, Rangerbred sizes range from 14.2
to 16+ hands with the average height at 15.2 hands, and they
have good dispositions.
Although the breed as we know it today is considered to
have originated in America, its roots can be traced back to
During 1878, General Ulysses S. Grant visited Sultan Abdul
Hamid of Turkey as part of a world tour. The Sultan, in showing
his regard for the General, gave him the gift of two desert
stallions; a blue-gray Barb named Linden Tree and a gray Siglavy-Gidran
Arab named Leopard. These horses are listed in the studbooks
of both the Jockey Club and the Arabian Horse Club and their
influence has touched almost every breed of horse in the United
These two horses went to Virginia at first, where they were
used as foundation sires in a new breed of light-harness horse
called the Americo Arab. But when the automobile was invented,
along with other difficulties, the breeding project was discontinued
in 1906 and his herd was disbanded.
So, Leopard and Linden Tree spent a season in Nebraska and
sired a few foals, some spotted or colored, from the native
mares of the General Colby Ranch. A.C. Whipple, of Kit Carson
County in Colorado, obtained a herd of broodmares from the
Colby Ranch who were all sired by either Linden Tree or Leopard.
In addition, a black-eared white stallion named Tony was used
as the herd stallion, because he was double bred to Leopard
and was part of the family's extensive line-breeding program
using Tony and his sons.
In the early 20th Century, Mike Ruby, of the Lazy J Bar
Ranch, bought one of Tony's sons, a stallion named Patches
and Max, son of Waldron Leopard. He used these stallions as
the foundation sires of the new breed, in which unusual coloring
was seen more and more frequently in his herd of more than
So, in essence, the Colorado Ranger was developed by Mike
Ruby, who kept meticulous records on every foal that he bred.
These records included foaling dates, coat patterns and complete
pedigrees and are still in existence today with all horses
still being recorded by hand in these ledgers, as well as
by more modern methods in the Colorado Ranger breed registry.
After two leopard-patterned stallions were displayed at
the Denver Stock Show, they created such a sensation that
Mike Ruby was urged by the faculty of what is now Colorado
State University to name this new breed of horse. And so the
Colorado Ranger Horse was officially named in 1934 to reflect
that they originated in Colorado and were bred and raised
under range conditions.
And with the naming of the breed came the breed registry.
The Colorado Ranger Horse Association (CRHA) is an older registry
than the Appaloosa Horse Club (ApHC). In fact, it is the oldest
of the western horse breed registries still in existence in
the United States. It was founded in 1935 by Mike Ruby, who
was its first president until his death in 1942. Its corporate
charter was granted in 1938. Ironically, its home office is
currently in Pennsylvania.
In the beginning, registration was limited only to the first
50 CRHA members, so a lot of true Rangerbreds were not allowed
to be registered with CRHA. However, those horses with the
appropriate color patterns were gladly accepted by the Appaloosa
Horse Club which was another breed registry that was founded
several months later. In 1964, the CRHA lifted the fifty member
limit and registration was opened to all horses meeting the
pedigree requirements, regardless of the owner's membership
status. This enabled the CRHA to register many of the Appaloosas
that had Rangerbred heritage that were "lost" to the organization
for so many years.
About 90% of all registered Rangerbreds are also registered
with the Appaloosa Horse Club, but not all Appaloosas are
eligible for registration with the CRHA, unless they have
the required pedigree that shows a direct descent from one
of the two foundation stallions, Max #2 and/or Patches #1
in an unbroken line. Patches #1 was purchased from the Whipple
Ranch and traces to both Leopard and Linden Tree. Max #2 came
from the Governor Oliver Shoup ranch at Colorado Springs and
is descended from Waldron Leopard.
While many Colorado ranger horses display the same color
patterns as the appaloosa, the CRHA is a bloodline registry,
not a color registry. In fact, color and markings are not
considered in eligibility for registration, only ancestry
is. The breed's founder wisely decided that a horse's ability
has nothing to do with color of his coat.
As with the Appaloosa Horse Club (ApHC), the CRHA recognizes
the same approved outcrosses as the ApHC. The following breeds
are considered as acceptable outcrosses for the Rangerbred
and may be used in a CRHA Breeding Program: The American Jockey
Club (TB), The American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA).,
ApHC of USA, Canada & Foreign, The Arabian Horse Club (AHC),
ARA-APP, and the International Colored Appaloosa Association
(ICAA) (with certain reservations). The outcrossed mare must
be registered with one of the above registries. Paints & pintos
are not among these approved outcrosses.
Research indicates that one out of every eight Appaloosas is
of Rangerbred heritage and also eligible for CRHA registration.
About the Author
Crystal is a writer for www.HorseClicks.com,