The cornerstone for the Rangerbred Horse was laid in 1878 when General U.S. Grand, during a world tour, visited Sultan Abdul Hamid of Turkey. As a token of deep friendship, the old Sultan presented the General with two desert stallions on the day of his departure. One was an Arabian named Leopard, the other a Barb named Linden Tree.
These stallions reached Virginia early in 1879 where they attracted the attention of one of America’s greatest horsemanship, Randolph Huntington of New York and Virginia.
Mr. Huntington, already an old man who had spend the better part of 50 years breeding trotters and roadsters, saw in the two great desert stallions the opportunity of a lifetime—the tools with which he might well perfect his new breed of light harness horse trotters, which he proposed to name the America-Arab. General Grant gave his friend full permission to use the stallions as he thought best. The next 14 years saw the Americo-Arab breed brought to a high state of perfection through the use of this Barb and Arabian blood. Financial troubles caused the complete dispersal of the fine Huntington horses (over a hundred head) in 1906. This great horseman was often times asked why he was so enthusiastic about using General Grant stallions in his program. “My object was to create and establish a truly American breed of national value from its blood qualities for use not only in the United States but for export as well. The best results obtained by any crosses are not through abrupt, but by affinity crosses. Like produces like only when the blood is like. Crosses must be sustained by crosses. They cannot be successfully interbred for any length of time. Purebreds of primitive blood can be and have been interbred from the beginning.
Frequently circumstances which at the time seem of little importance later prove to be events of lasting historical impact. In 1894 General Colby, an old retired Army friend of General Grant, who had established extensive ranch holdings at Beatrice, Nebraska, moved Leopard and Linden Tree (now aged stallions) west for a single breeding season. Here for only one short summer the two desert stallions left an indelible impression upon the native mares there on the Colby holdings. Here was created the new breed of cowhorses later to be named Colorado Rangers—The Rangerbreds.
Colorado horsemen were destined to write the next chapter of the Colorado Ranger story. By the late 1890s many good reports had drifted across cow country concerning the excellent horses being bred on the Colby holdings back Nebraska way. Several of the big outfits on the eastern Colorado plains decided to give the Colby horses a try. They sent one of the plains most respected ranchers, Ira J. Whipple of Kit Carsons County, Colorado, back to the Colby Ranch in Nebraska with instructions and money to buy a band of mares and a stud. In due time Mr. Whipple returned with an outstanding group of young mares, all of which had been sired by either Leopard or Linden Tree. To head this band of foundation mares, Mr. Whipple had selected a snow white stallion with black ears (a few spot leopard) named Tony who was a a double-bred grandson of the desert stallion, Leopard AHC #233.
This line bred Tony was crossed on the Colby mares with remarkable success. You must understand that these early breed makers were not interested in creating color. They were cattlemen whose primary objective was to raise working cow horses to meet their ranching needs. A wealth of odd, barbaric color patterns did, however, evolve from their intensive line-breeding program. Horsemen on the high plains had never seen such leopard spotted, rain dropped horses before. The blanket hipped and snow-flaked patterns shocked them. The horses carried very conceivable color patterns.
The W.R. Thompson Cattle Company of Yuma County, Colorado, added a new infusion of Barb blood to this Plains’ breed in 1918 by purchasing a pure Barb stallion, Spottle, for their daughter as a wedding present. Cronin Horse Import Co. of Milan, Texas, shipped this stallion from Algiers, North Africa. In the same year a stud colt named Max was born in the headquarters of Gov. Oliver Shoupe in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He too was to leave a lasting imprint upon the Rangerbred horses of the High Plains. Under the ownership of the greatest horseman the plains ever knew, Mike Ruby, Max became the sire of outstanding CRHA horses.
For more information about the Rangerbreds contact the Colorado Ranger Horse Association, 1510 Greenhpuse Road, Wampum, Pennsylvania 16157, 724/535-4841, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.