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Blue Rose Ranch in Baca County, Over Decade of Service (Part 1)

Blue Rose Ranch

 

Blue Rose Ranch in Baca County, just two miles north of Springfield along Highway 287, has been in operation as a non-profit foster care, adoption and horse rescue facility that has placed almost 300 horses since its beginning in 2007.

John and Cheryl Webb

Owners Cheryl and John Webb purchased two sites, one, along Bear Creek, is a 162 acre operation that contains most of the facilities while the other larger property, about five miles away, offers room to roam for the horses as they are rotated from one location to another, for training or for treatment.

“The ones here stay for their daily medications or training, or we just have kids over on Saturdays to ride and exercise them during youth visits,” explained Cheryl Webb, adding that several horses are a permanent fixture because of age or other health conditions. There were just over two dozen horses at the time of our visit.  Webb said the’ll come in from the pasture each morning on their own, and around 2pm, we open the gates so they can go back and graze on the pasture, or stand by the lake or the stands of trees on our property, “For many of them, just being free and out in the open can be a healing process,” she explained and said that many horses develop health problems when they’re confined to too small a space.  “You’ll get cribbing or stall walking, so they need to have some open areas.  For those who have been abused, it’s helpful to just be a horse again and that can take from several months to a year.”

John Webb said, “Some will get curious about you after a while and they’ll start to approach you, but it’s a slow process sometimes depending on their nature. Some have been neglected and have had nutrition issues while others have been physically abused.  We’ve found that just letting them roam, eat some good hay and graze in a pasture with water and open land really helps and when we feel they’re ready, we’ll start to do some training with them.”

The Webb’s hail from the Denver area and have since retired from their former lives, John as a financier and Cheryl who was a teacher at Cherry Creek High School. They’ve both volunteered their time at other facilities and Cheryl rode with the Westernaire Varsity Red Team for several years.  The Webb’s have stressed making their Blue Rose Ranch into as much of a self-sustaining operation as possible.  One reason was simplicity and the other was a cost factor.

Webb said some aren’t just adoptable and will be sanctuaried for their remaining lives at the ranch. Some, however, can start to thrive and are trained to become working horses.  “Two are going to Lamar Community College to be paired with a student for their Horse Training Management and Equine programs and another horse was recently adopted here in Baca County after its training.  There’s a waiting list for these kind of horses.”  He added that they aren’t for sale, but the transaction can take place in a kind of adoption fee.  “We spend thousands on their care and training and fees go from $300 to $1,500 depending on their papers and the length of training.  What’s $700 here can be as much as $5,000 on the open market.”

Cheryl added, “We are sustained through our donations and foundation work, we also have a lot of volunteers and right now, most of them have gone back to school. We have one young girl who is 14 and she’s home schooled, but has been with us for the last five years.”

John said the ranch goes by a Gold Standard for adoption purposes, “You have to have all the basics before you’re considered. That means adequate facilities, you have to have another horse, a trailer and a truck and you have to be a horse person before we’ll adopt our animals out.  Our lives and our fortunes and our hearts have gone into these horses, so we are very particular.  We insist on great homes before they leave the ranch.”

He continued, “We get these horses from all over. We usually get a call from people who have undergone life changes or changed circumstances, usually financial or through aging where they can’t take care of a horse anymore.”  He said there may be a divorce settlement or a long-term illness or death in a family, loss of a job…whatever makes it difficult to be able to afford to care for a horse.  That’s when we’ll get a call about our operation.”

The next article will provide a more fully detailed look at the Blue Rose Ranch’s self-sustaining operation.

By Russ Baldwin

 

Filed Under: CountyEconomyFeaturedRecreationSportsYouth

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