Colorado Ranger

The Colorado Ranger is an American horse breed that was specifically developed for the work on the cattle ranches.

They are known for their intelligence, strength, and good temperament.

If you’re interested in owning a Colorado Ranger, there are a few things you should know about this unique breed.

Colorado Ranger Breed Info

Here are some of the key things you need to know about the Colorado Ranger:

Height (size) 14.2 – 16.0 hands high
Colors Any solid color or leopard spotting patterns. Pinto coloration is not allowed.
Country of Origin United States of America (Colorado)
Common Uses Ranch work, trail riding, pleasure riding, and a number of Western and English show disciplines

Colorado Ranger Facts & Information (Breed Profile)

The Colorado Ranger or Rangerbred is an American horse breed that was bred for versatility.

It was named after the Colorado High Plains where it originated on the open range of Colorado.

Despite their outward similarities, the Colorado Ranger is distinguished from the Appaloosa by its distinct history.

However, double registration with the US Appaloosa Horse Club and the Canadian Appaloosa Horse Club is possible for Ranger horses.

The history of the breed began in 1878, when General Ulysses S. Grant traveled to Turkey to visit Sultan Abdul Hamid.

As a gift to honor their friendship, the Sultan gave General Grant two magnificent stallions: a gray Barb called Linden Tree and the desert-bred Arabian named Leopard.

Grant was a skilled equestrian who had an appreciation for well-bred horses.

These two horses had a profound impact on American horse breeding, and their genes may be found in almost every horse breed presently popular in the United States.

In the summer of 1896, the stallions were transported to Nebraska, where General L.W. Colby bred them to his ranch mares.

His intention was to improve the quality of his ranch horses, and he was very successful.

Information of the exceptional horses that could be found on the Colby Ranch made its way to the high plains in the eastern part of Colorado.

Several big ranches in Colorado got together and sent Ira Whipple, one of their best horsemen, with money and instructions to buy a group of mares and a stallion from Colby.

Whipple returned with a herd of young mares that had all been sired by Leopard or Linden Tree, and with a stallion by the name of Tony who had most unusual coat patterns, and was the double-bred grandson of Leopard.

At that time, the color of the horse was not especially important to the ranchers, as their primary concern was improving the horse’s performance on the ranch and with the cattle.

The crosses between Tony and the Colby mares yielded the intended results, and the Colorado Ranger Horse was created.

Mike Ruby, a well-known horseman, took an interest in these horses and eventually bought one of Tony’s offspring named Patches as well as another stallion named Max from Ira Whipple.

Ruby began his own breeding program with a herd of 300 mares.

He was very careful to keep detailed records of his stallions, mares, and foals, including the dates of their births, the colors of their coats, and their entire pedigrees!

Patches and Max sired three colts that Ruby believed to be worthy of continuing the Colorado Ranger line, and the pedigrees of these five stallions may be found in every Colorado Ranger that has ever existed.

Many horsemen admired the two stallions Ruby took to the Denver Stock Show in 1934.

It was at this event that the breed, which was bred in the high ranges of Colorado, was given its name.

When the Dust Bowl hit in the 1930s, the high plains experienced a devastating drought.

Mike Ruby, fearing the loss of the superb horses he had bred for years, drove them 300 miles in terrible drought to leased green pasture in the Rockies of western Colorado.

He drove them back to his ranch two years later when the drought had subsided, saving some of the finest Ranger-bred horses.

In 1935, the breed was formally registered.

There are now around 6,000 Colorado Rangers who are registered, and it is suspected that there are many more that do not have their lineages officially recognized.

There are stud farms in both the United States and Canada.

Every year, between 100 and 125 foals are registered.

In order for a horse to be eligible for registration, its lineage must be able to be traced in an unbroken line back to either Max #2, who was the son of the original Max, or Patches #1, who was the son of one of the stallions who came from the Colby Ranch.

The Colorado Ranger Horse Association is not a color registry, despite the fact that many Colorado Rangerbreds have spotted markings.

While coat color is not considered, the pedigree should not show any Pinto or Paint breeding in the last five generations.

However, acceptable outcrosses include Thoroughbreds, Quarter Horses, Appaloosas, Arabs, and Arab-Appaloosas.

Between the years 1980 and 1987, certain Lusitano crosses were permitted, however as of 1987, this practice was discontinued.

Registration is not allowed if the animal has any trace of pony or draft ancestry.

The Colorado Ranger Horse Association, Inc. (CRHA) is one of the oldest western horse breed registries.

If you’re interested in learning more about this fascinating breed, keep reading!

Alternative Names



Intelligent, brave, easy to train, good disposition

Physical Characteristics

Colorado Ranger is an athletic and versatile horse with a compact and sturdy physique.

The head is straight, the chest is broad, with sloping shoulders and croup.

The neck is muscular, the back is short, and the legs are straight.

Due to their Arabian/Barb ancestry, they are refined and compact.

They have great stamina and ‘cow sense’.


Any solid color or leopard spotting patterns.

Pinto coloration is not allowed.

Height (size)

14.2 – 16.0 hands high







Blood Type


Common Uses

Ranch work, trail riding, pleasure riding, and a number of Western and English show disciplines


Resistant to common equine diseases

Popular Traits




Country of Origin

United States of America (Colorado)


Arabian, Barb, different ranch horses