Lacy – ASB

Lacy is a lovely 20YO registered American Saddlebred mare. She is trained under saddle, friendly, easy to get along with and trailer loads with a little patience. Lacy was abandoned on BLM land up near Divide, CO. She was in foal and has since had a healthy colt who has been adopted. The thrill for us is that she looks very much like our beloved Ruby (another Saddlebred beauty!) who was euthanized several years ago. We are happy Lacy has found us.

Lacy can be tacked up easily but is very rusty under saddle and would need to be restarted. At her age, we would prefer that she live her life as a friendly and loyal companion horse. Lacy would probably prefer to be a companion to a gelding – yes, she likes the boys!

Lacy is not for adoption at this time.

UPDATE September 7, 2016 – Lacy left her foster home in August 2015 and travelled with RRHR’s retired founders to Washington, where she has lived with her pal, Twister, for the past year. Even though her spirit was willing, the complications of a leg injury depleted her quality of life. May she rest in peace.

Update on Cookie and Misty

We have an update in the case of Cookie and Misty (Ruby Ranch Horse Rescue v. Dawn Barden). The tentative settlement contemplated a year ago was never finalized (the parties could not agree to terms and communication became non-existent) and the case is moving forward. Dawn Barden has started a fundraiser with statements RRHR believes are misleading and defamatory. Below is a press release regarding the matter to set the record straight.

We have recently hired Juliet Piccone of Colorado Animal Attorneys who will be prosecuting our case now. Anyone interested in donating to help with expenses incurred in this case can click on Donations to make a tax-deductible donation.


August 18, 2016 BLACK FOREST, CO

Ruby Ranch Horse Rescue is a Colorado non-profit corporation founded for the purpose of rescuing abused, neglected and unwanted horses and finding suitable adoptive families for the horses. RRHR has the following response to adopter Dawn Barden’s recent public statements about Ruby Ranch Horse Rescue, Inc. v. Dawn Barden, El Paso County Court Case No. 2015C35005.

In 2013 Dawn Barden requested to adopt two mini mares from RRHR. In consideration for her promises to provide a certain standard of their care for the rest of their lives, and the right of return to RRHR upon breach of any condition, RRHR adopted Misty and Cookie to Dawn Barden pursuant to the terms and conditions of a signed contract. Ownership was not transferred at that time and remained with RRHR. After roughly eight months, a visit was made by a board member of Ruby Ranch to check on the conditions of the mini horses, and, finding them to be in acceptable condition and circumstances, consented to Dawn Barden having a Brand Inspection of the horses. The board member signed the inspection card, but ownership was not transferred from RRHR pursuant to state law.

On 11/9/2014 a trainer who sometimes worked as an independent contractor of Ruby Ranch had the occasion to examine Cookie and Misty, found them to be underweight, and contacted Ruby Ranch to share her concerns. Ruby Ranch immediately contacted Dawn Barden to discuss Cookie and Misty. Dawn Barden followed up with a lengthy email that concluded with the sentences “We would really like to learn through this process and be able to keep them here with us, but I understand that if you feel they need to go to your place for better care you will take them. See you at 2 p.m.” The following day representatives of Ruby Ranch arrived at the Barden Residence to pick up Cookie and Misty. They were loaded into the Ruby Ranch trailer with the assistance of Dawn Barden and returned to the Ruby Ranch facility.

Ruby Ranch assessed the animals’ weight using a weight tape and determined that the horses were 25% and 30% under the ideal weight specified by its veterinarian for each horse. Cookie and Misty were immediately put on a re-feeding program and regained a healthy weight within 2-3 months. During these months Ruby Ranch received one phone call roughly two days after their return to RRHR from a member of the Barden family inquiring about the minis. There was no other indication from the Barden family to Ruby Ranch that they had any further interest in or concern for Cookie and Misty’s well-being or future arrangements.

On 12/1/14, the Ruby Ranch Board of Directors wrote to Ms. Barden and requested that she supply Ruby Ranch with copies of all records relating to Cookie and Misty as well as the Brand Inspections. Barden did not respond. On 2/5/15, Barden contacted the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office and reported that Ruby Ranch had “stolen” the mini horses and filed a theft report. After some discussion with various interested parties, the Sheriff’s Office stated that the issue was a civil matter. Upon advice of counsel, RRHR returned the mini horses to Barden under protest. The deputies advised that any further dispute in the matter should be taken to civil court. Although RRHR was disappointed that they would have to go to such great lengths both financially and logistically to enforce a contract freely signed by Barden, the subject lawsuit was subsequently filed. Since picking up Cookie and Misty on November 10, 2014, no member of RRHR has contacted any member of the Barden family or approached her property, or encouraged anyone else to do so, and has endeavored to avoid any engagement with the many provocative statements made by Barden on social media. The aim of RRHR has never been to defame or humiliate Ms. Barden or her family, only to ensure a healthy future for Cookie and Misty.

In August of 2015, a portion of the trial proceeded and then the two parties were ordered into conference, where a rough outline of a settlement agreement was negotiated. The two parties we ordered to sort out the language and details of the agreement within 30 days. The agreement process dragged out and the parties were unable to come to terms and the case was in limbo.

In June of 2016, Ruby Ranch hired new counsel, Juliet Piccone of Colorado Animal Attorneys, and began considering options for resolution of the case in a way that would be satisfactory to the mission of Ruby Ranch; that is to ensure that any horse it takes in has minimum standard of care as to ensure the horse has a quality of life free from hunger, neglect or mistreatment. Both Barden’s attorney and RRHR’s former attorney were allowed to withdraw from the case. On August 17th the two parties appeared before Judge Sletta in El Paso County Court for a status conference and were ordered, again, into mediation, which has yet to be scheduled. In the event an agreement cannot be reached, the case will proceed. Ruby Ranch continues to be concerned for the long-term well-being of these horses and is committed to doing whatever it can to ensure their quality of life.

SaraJane – Grade QH

SaraJane is a grade QH mare, foal date approximately Spring 2008. She is about 14.3 and stout at about 1050 lbs. SaraJane is a lovely grey with a calm, pleasant demeanor in spite of the neglect from her previous home. She has received corrective farrier work by Zac Sanger to reduce the “slipper” foot on the left front and it has shaped up to be working in her favor, although we will adopt her to a home for trail or pleasure use rather than competition. SaraJane is easy to catch and leads up nicely after just a week or so of handling. She is willing and wants to trust. Our trusted veterinarian team, Dr. Sandra and Brian Grover, checked her out to verify her age and also verify that she is in good health. She stands for the patient farrier, is curious and pleasant to be around.

Update: SaraJane (SJ) is doing ground and long-line training with Anna Blake at Infinity Farms ( thanks to a training grant received through the Animal Assistance Foundation. She will be better prepared when we start her under saddle.

Update: SJ is doing some training under the guidance of Tanya Lowe, Level IV Parelli trainer. Thanks to another training grant, this time through the Colorado Unwanted Horse Alliance, we will dedicate some time to get SJ going under saddle. She is showing us that she is sensible and willing. She would be suitable as a pleasure/trail horse.

Update May 2014: SJ is doing quite well in her training at the walk and trot. She tacks up easily, dances beautifully with her ground work, and goes well under saddle. She now needs lots of riding experience, which we will continue to do at Ruby Ranch until her perfect human shows up to take her home.That human would be a more experienced rider who knows how to make gentle training corrections under saddle.

August 2014: SaraJane has been adopted!

Update June 2015: SaraJane will be returning to Ruby Ranch Horse Rescue by mid-July. Her adopter is forced to move closer to town and she can no longer afford to keep her. She is up-to-date on float, farrier, de-worming, and vaccinations.

Update August 2015: SaraJane needs a little tune-up in her saddle training. Trainer Tanya Lowe will be working with SJ to fine-tune the riding cues. SaraJane’s new human will need to work with a trainer or be familiar with green horses enough that gentle corrections and guidance can continue.

Residing at the Horse Protection League in Golden, CO

Patch – Paint

Patch is a pinto gelding who stands at about 14.2H and weighs about 1000 lbs. His approximate date of birth is Spring 1999. He has nice ground manners and hooks on easily in the round pen where he can be worked at liberty with backing, disengaging hindquarters, moving the front end, lowering his head and coming in, all with gentle suggestions. He is sensitive to energy and less is better for him. Patch originally came to RRHR after being one of the last horses standing at the Cavell slaughter plant that closed in 2007. Since then he was adopted and well care for but his family is struggling to keep the ranch so Patch has returned to find another excellent home. His owner said she had been riding him with a bareback pad because Patch doesn’t care much for being tacked up, although he settles quickly afterward. He stands to be mounted. He has not offered to buck or rear.

Patch gets along well with his herd mates and likes to play. He prefers to pal up with one other horse. Last time he was here he picked a little red horse named Ginger. Patch stands for the farrier, trailer loads, can be vaccinated and dewormed easily.

Update – June 2012: We have just begun to work with Patch to see what is needed to get him going again under saddle. He is responsive in the round pen, tacks up easily has good ground manners and we hope to have him under saddle again in August.

Update – September 2012: Patch is now comfortable being tacked up, has a trusting eye and is showing us he is ready to move forward with his training. He is a willing horse and we will continue with under saddle work at his pace. He tends to be unconfident unless confined to a roundpen. A few bobbles but it’s progress.

Update – April 2013: Patch will be returning from his winter foster home next month. He will be re-evaluated by our trainer Tanya Lowe and she will proceed with tuning up his riding skills.

Update – September 2013: After careful evaluation, RRHR has decided that Patch would do better as a non-riding horse. Whatever happened to him in the past is causing him concern under saddle. Patch is now in a foster home, keeping another lonely horse company.

Patch was that lucky boy to find an excellent permanent foster situation where he can be a companion horse. Thank you Beth!

Raina – Pintabian

Raina is a bay paint mare who came to us as part of the herd from Fremont County – a herd that was neglected and abused. Although Raina’s hooves were in need of corrective farrier care, she arrived with good weight. It makes us wonder if she was one of the “favorites.” Raina is almost 14.1H and weighs about 900 lbs. Her estimated date of birth is June 1996. We think may have had some ground training in the past. She picked up cues for leading fairly easily and walked into the trailer with no fuss at all. We are handling her feet daily and have her fronts trimmed thanks to Zac Sanger, our very patient farrier. She was floated which revealed one of the largest ulcers on the inside of her cheek that our equine dentist had every seen. No wonder she looked worried! A large point was jutting into this ulcer and must have caused pain each time she opened her mouth or chewed. Within a few days after the float, her eye became gentle and content. Raina has learned to laterally flex, lower her head and disengage hindquarters. She still has a ways to go but has become a willing and friendly mare.

Update: Raina is in saddle training with Lori Torrini. She is at Deseos Arabians where Juliet (another Pintabian) has progressed very nicely under saddle and has since been adopted. Raina is a friendly girl who stands well for the farrier and really tries to please her human. Thank you to the Animal Assistance Foundation for providing funding for Raina’s training.

UPDATE: Raina has been ridden outside of the roundpen and is showing herself to be willing and intelligent, wanting to please her rider. She is green under saddle and is suitable for an experienced rider at this time.

Update: April 2013 – In May, Raina is going backto Lori Torrini for under saddle tune-up and continued training. We know her perfect home is waiting for her.

Raina has been accepted by Spirit Keeper Equine Sanctuary as a permanent resident, to live out her life with other companion horses. Thank you Spirit Keeper for providing safe haven for the sweet Raina!

Portia – Standardbred Cross

Portia is a 17YO Standardbred cross mare, one of 27 from a starvation case in El Paso County. Portia can be haltered and groomed but is still hesitant about picking up her feet. She responds well to clicker training and loves her butt scratched! As soon as Portia becomes more comfortable with us humans, we will have her hooves trimmed and her teeth floated.

Update: Portia’s teeth have been floated. She has scarring on her tongue at about the area where a bit would rest. Perhaps someone tried to start her under saddle in a very inhumane way. No wonder she’s afraid of humans. She appears to be in foal and will be preg checked on January 14.

Update: Portia was preg checked and is in foal – estimated due date is mid-May. Our farrier, Zac Sanger, trimmed her hooves while she was sedated. She has been one of the most fearful horses we’ve encountered. Although progress is being made, it is very slow.

Update: Portia had her foal on March 25, 2012. Baby Maquinna was challenged from the beginning with fluid in her lungs, weak and too small. She fought hard but lost her battle on April 14. May she rest in peace.

Update: Portia has become friendlier in the time here at Ruby Ranch. Strides have been made in haltering, grooming, ground work, and even picking up her feet. She easily approaches for a treat, is not aggressive and enjoys clicker training and grooming. Her gait is lovely and perhaps whatever training she had regarding her movement is why she has had difficulty in having her hooves handled. She is a friendly and not dominant pasture pal. She likes one-on-one attention with a human. Portia is a companion horse only at this time.

Portia has been accepted by Proud Spirit Horse Sanctuary to spend her life with other companion horses. Thank you Proud Spirit for giving this excellent safe haven to our beloved Portia!

Kiowa – Arab/Appaloosa

Kiowa is a beautiful red roan Arab/Appy cross mare, foaled in 1998. She stands at just over 14.3H and weighs about 1000 lbs. Kiowa was rescued from a situation where she had been abused by children throwing rocks and sticks at her over a period of time. Kiowa has since learned to trust humans and when worked with consistently, will follow you around seeking attention. Kiowa has beautiful conformation, is saddle trained but has not had consistent riding during the past couple years. Under saddle she will stop and shut down rather than go forward and has not shown a tendency to buck or rear. She has a nice floaty, forward trot.
Kiowa needs to go to that human who is willing and experienced to be consistent with her and be patient during the process. We have a “no breeding” stipulation for our mares and fillies.

Update: Kiowa has been ridden by our trainer and board member, Lori Torrini, thanks to a training grant received through the Animal Assistance Foundation. Her student, Hannah, has also ridden her. It is apparent that with calm and gentle handling and riding, Kiowa progresses in her ability to stay focused and carry her rider. She continues to need consistent handling in order to bring her to her full potential.

Update: Kiowa is at Deseos Arabians to continue her under-saddle re-training, again thanks to the Animal Assistance Foundation for their generous grant. Lori Torrini and husband, Jim, at Deseos are riding her and progressing well with Kiowa’s training. She can revert to becoming unfocused and fearful, but these episodes are becoming fewer.

Update: It is becoming obvious that Kiowa may just need to be relegated to that companion status. Although she is fun and friendly on the ground, hooks on beautifully and works at liberty with simple cues, she continues to resist under saddle work, not with a buck or rear, but simply shutting down. She stands for the farrier, trailer loads, is easy to catch and gets along well with others in her herd.

Update: Kiowa is at Spirit Keeper Equine Sanctuary in Yoder, CO, as a permanent resident. Thank you to the board of directors of Spirit Keeper for accepting Kiowa and giving her a great home for the rest of her life.

Polly – Grade QH

Polly is a grade mare, approximate foal date Spring 2007. We were told she is appendix although we don’t see it in her size or conformation. She was born with a couple of congenital issues, one being the lordosis (dropped back) just behind her withers, the other is an enlarged frontal bone (midline above the eyes). Neither of these issues is a health threat, but it is apparent that Polly will be a companion horse and is not to be ridden.
Polly came to us with four others from S. Calhan Hwy.

RRHR assisted the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office with the rescue of these horses who were starving; one had already died. More information about these horses is on the page, “S. Calhan Hwy Horses.”

Polly is sweet as can be, frolicks with the other horses, bucks, rears and cavorts – she certainly doesn’t know that she has anything different about her. She now weighs 835 lbs and is 14H. She stands for the farrier, leads up nicely and has learned the ground manners to make her a super little horse. If you are looking for a fun little companion horse, choose Polly!

Thank you to Proud Spirit Horse Sanctuary for accepting Polly as a member of their herd. Polly will live out her life in Georgia, enjoy the company of other sanctuary horses.