Breed Profile: Colorado Ranger Horse

Question - Which American breed of horse traces its roots back to Constantinople? Answer - The Colorado Ranger Horse.


During 1878, General Ulysses S. Grant visited Sultan Abdul Hamid of Turkey as part of a world tour. Prior to the General’s departure, the Sultan, wishing to show his regard for the General, made a gift of two horses. These horses were a grey Siglavy-Gidran Arab named Leopard and a blue-grey Barb name Linden Tree. These horses are listed in the studbooks of both the Arabian Horse Club and the Jockey Club and their influence has reached almost every breed of horse in the United States.

The two horses were first taken to Virginia, where Randolph Huntington used them as foundation sires in a new breed of light-harness horse, however, with the advent of the horseless carriage the breeding project was discontinued.

In their senior years, Leopard and Linden went west where they spent a season in Nebraska and sired foals, some spotted or colored, from the native mares of the Colby Ranch. These horses drew the attention of Western breeders for their overall quality and attractive colors.

A.C. Whipple, of Kit Carson County in Colorado, obtained a band of broodmares from the Colby Ranch, all sired by either Linden Tree or Leopard. In addition, a black-eared white stallion named Tony, who was double bred to Leopard, was used as the herd stallion. The Whipple family had an 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.

The Colorado Ranger Horse was officially named in 1934 and Mike Ruby was the President of the Colorado Ranger Horse Association until his death in 1942.

The name Colorado Ranger Horse, or Rangerbred, refers to the fact that the horses were bred on the open range in Colorado.


While many Colorado Ranger Horses exhibit the same characteristics as the Appaloosa, (spotted coat, mottled skin, white sclera) the Colorado Ranger Horse Association is not a color registry and registered horse may be solid colored, as well as spotted.

The only requirement for inclusion in the Colorado Ranger Horse Association is a pedigree which traces to either of the foundation stallions — Patches #1, or Max, #2.

Kreider’s Red Eclipse, Colorado Ranger Horse

owned by Circle H Appaloosas and Warmbloods.

Photograph © Erik S. Hansen. Used with permission.

Colorado Ranger Horses are refined horses, due to their Arabian/Barb ancestry and are compact animals, with powerful hindquarters. The average height is 15.2 hh.

Rangerbred horse may also be registered as an Appaloosa, but not all Appaloosas are eligible for registration with the CRHA, unless they have the required pedigree. According to the CRHA, one in eight Appaloosas is of Rangerbred heritage.


Colorado Ranger Horses are renowned for their abilities as working horses and their great stamina. They compete in the full range of performance events, as well as endurance competitions. They also excel in ranch work and have great “cow sense.”


The Encyclopedia of the Horse – Elwyn Hartley-Edwards. ISBN 1-56458-614-6




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