Sometimes the best thing we can do for our injured or senior horse is let him retire. If that’s where you’re at, then you may want to consider Top50’s Chico Basin Ranch in Colorado, which has opened the gates of Ranchlands Horse Sanctuary, offering homes to retired or injured horses.
Ranchlands Horse Sanctuary (RHS) is a new program launched by working guest ranch Chico Basin, in Colorado Springs. Specializing in providing homes for retired or injured horses, RHS offers owners somewhere to place their horse, safe in the knowledge their animal will spend the rest of its days happy and healthy on open range pastures.
“Our goal is to provide horses a home in their natural environment, where they can live free to run, sleep and eat to their fill,” says Chico Basin’s David Leach. “We welcome horses that are physically able to live in open range conditions, as their ancestors did, centuries ago. We run over 150 horses that are used on the cattle and bison ranches that we run, so we understand horses and all the details pertaining to their care and welfare.”
Chico Basin Ranch is an 87,000-acre working cattle ranch 35 minutes southeast of Colorado Springs, Colo. It is owned by the Colorado State Land Board and managed under a one-of-a-kind lease by Duke and Janet Phillips and their family. The ranch offers education and recreation opportunities for adults and children, and their website says they are “dedicated to the enhancement and preservation of the natural world and our Western heritage.”
The ranch is pure Colorado prairie, with creeks, spring-fed lakes and pools that provide water. It’s also home to wildlife that includes pronghorn, deer, fish, prairie dogs, coyotes and badgers.
And don’t think your horse would simply be dropped off into the open prairie. The Chico Ranch folks say the RHS program places special attention on monitoring all horses within the herd, and ensuring each animal requiring special attention is cared for appropriately, including supplemental feed, hoof trimming, medical treatment and care of injuries.
Owners contribute an annual fee to place their horse under the care of RHS, plus costs for special-care items not already covered by the program.
The cost is a flat fee of $150 per month, paid six months in advance, plus an initial emergency reserve of $300, which can be paid by pre-signing a credit card charge to be held by RHS, or $150 can be added to each payment for the first year.
Those belonging to American Competitive Trail Horse Association (ACTHA) get a discount. If you are, or agree to become, a member of ACTHA, the cost is $135 a month. Or you can prepay the annual fee for a lower rate of $140 per month ($125 for ACTHA members) or $1,680 ($1,500 for ACTHA members).
To discover how you can take part in the program, contact Ranchlands Horse Sanctuary at (719) 683.7960.