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Colorado Rangerbred Horse Breed Profile

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Get ready to saddle up and discover the majestic beauty of Colorado Rangerbred horses! 

These sturdy yet graceful equines have been bred for generations in the rugged terrain of Colorado, making them uniquely suited for endurance, agility, and ranching. 

In this blog post, we’ll dive into the history and characteristics of Colorado Rangerbreds, their impressive athleticism, their friendly personalities, and more. 

Whether you’re an experienced equestrian or simply curious about these magnificent creatures, there’s plenty to learn and appreciate about this remarkable horse breed. 

Grab your riding boots, and let’s explore all that makes Colorado Rangerbreds unique!

Quick Information

Breed NameColorado Rangerbred.
Other namesRangerbred, Ranger.
PersonalityIntelligent, brave, athletic, easy to train, gentle. 
PhysiqueSturdy, lean, sinewy, and compact.
TraitsSmart, versatile, livestock savvy, and patient.
Height14–16 hands.
Weight900–1000 lbs.
ColorsAll colors and coat patterns except pinto.
HealthHighly resistant to common equine diseases
Lifespan25–30 years
AncestryBarb horse, Arabian horse
Country of OriginUnited States of America (USA)
Registered Breed AssociationColorado Ranger Horse Association (CRHA)

History and Development

The Colorado Rangerbred, popularly referred to as “Rangerbred,” is an American horse breed that originated in the High Plains of Colorado. 

The breed traces its ancestry back to two stallions—Leopard, an Arabian, and Linden Tree, a Barb—that were brought over from the Ottoman Empire by President Grant in the 1800s. 

Many ranchers, including renowned equestrians like Randolph Huntington and General L.W. Colby, bred these stallions with their mares in a bid to refine their herds by producing superior offspring.

They successfully produced high-quality ranch horses, and it was only a short time before people heard about them. 

As they increased in popularity, many ranchers in the Nebraska region and more from Colorado bought mares or a stallion from General Colby’s ranch to cross them with their ranch horses.

Many of the offspring exhibited spotted coat patterns, like that of the Appaloosa horse, and that gradually became one of the goals of the breeding program.

Patches, a progeny of the Colby ranch horse, and Max, the spotted stallion, were purchased by Colorado-based, Canadian-born Mike Ruby—as foundation sires for his breeding program—in the 1930s. 

He crossed these horses with mares in his herd and dutifully kept records of the breeding process. He documented the stallions used, the mares, their offspring, and the dates—a detailed pedigree!

Two of the foals that resulted from his breeding processes—Leopard and Fox—were first showcased at the National Stock Show in Denver, Colorado, in 1934.

They sparked an instant interest in people, and the Colorado Rangers were born there. 

Mike founded the Colorado Ranger Horse Association (CRHA) breed registry in 1935 and got a charter for it in 1938. 

The association is still fully functional and has over 6,000 registered Rangerbreds. 

Breed Characteristics

When it comes to the Colorado Rangerbred horse breed, there are a few key characteristics that set this breed apart from other equines. 

For starters, Rangerbreds have the best qualities of both their parent breeds—the Barb horse’s gentle temperament and refined looks, and the Arabian’s stamina, agility, and speed. 

Colorado Rangers are a rugged, athletic breed and have a well-built body to match.

These horses are lean, compact, and muscular, with a deep chest and short back. They have strong legs, thick hooves, and good bone density. 

Rangerbreds stand between 14 and 16 hands high (one hand being 4 inches). They also weigh between 900–1000 lbs.

Their multi-colored coat is thick and dense, and it serves to protect them from harsh weather conditions. 

You’d probably find a Rangerbred in every color possible except pinto. Some are even leopard-spotted, like the Appaloosa.

They are hardy, sure-footed, and well-suited for various disciplines. Their sturdy build enables them to carry riders and gear over rough terrain.

They also have smooth gaits, making them comfortable to ride even for long periods. 

Over the years, Rangerbreds have proven themselves to be intelligent horses that are easy to train and willing to please their handlers. 

Physique and Disposition

Rangerbreds are particularly lean and sinewy. They have a sturdy build with strong hindquarters.

These beautiful horses have long muscular necks, refined heads, broad, deep chests, and sloping shoulders. 

They have straight facial features, expressive eyes, erect ears, and an overall refined build that makes them appear graceful.

Rangerbreds are also known for their calm dispositions and eagerness to please. 

They are easy to handle and very intelligent. They can pick up tricks (or vices) quickly. 

They are excellent ranch horses and are popular as all-around family horses. 


Regarding lifespan, Rangerbreds tend to live longer than most horse breeds. 

The average Ranger lives up to 25–30 years. 

If you’re looking for a horse that will be by your side for many years, the Colorado Rangerbred might be the perfect breed!

Colors and Patterns 

The Colorado Rangerbred is a multi-colored and multi-patterned horse breed. 

The CRHA has no specific color regulations for the breed, as these equines come in an assortment of colors and patterns. 

The most common colors of Colorado Rangerbred horses are

  • bay 
  • black 
  • chestnut
  • gray

There are also roan and white Rangers. 

The common patterns of Rangerbreds include the following:

  • Leopard/spotted leopard pattern 
  • Tri-colored pattern 
  • Blanket pattern 

Overall, they are available in many colors and patterns, except pinto. 

What Disciplines are Colorado Rangerbred Horses Good At?

Rangerbreds are versatile and can excel in a variety of disciplines. 

They have a strong work ethic and are intelligent, making them easy to train.

They are also tough and resilient and able to handle rugged terrain and extreme weather conditions.

Rangerbreds are livestock savvy and often used for ranch work such as cattle drives, herding, and packing. 

They are highly competitive and do well in English disciplines such as show jumping, dressage, and eventing. 

These equines are also used for western disciplines such as barrel racing and roping, and there are records of Rangerbreds being used successfully in rodeo and trail riding. 

This versatility makes them an excellent choice for riders who want a horse that can do it all. 

Whether you’re looking for a competitive mount or a dependable partner for weekend rides, a Colorado Rangerbred is sure to fit the bill.

Appaloosa horse galloping in autumn

Colorado Rangerbred vs. Appaloosa

Some Colorado rangers have been called a type of Appaloosa horse breed because they sport the same leopard-spotted coat that’s unique to the Appaloosa breed.

However, contrary to appearances, the Rangerbred is not an Appaloosa.

Rangers have a distinct, detailed, and well-documented history that is separate from that of Appaloosa horses. 

On the other hand, an Appaloosa can be a Rangerbred horse. 

As reported by the Rangerbred registry, there’s the possibility that one in eight horses registered as an Appaloosa is a Rangerbred. 

Also, it’s possible to register a Ranger with the CRHA and the Appaloosa Horse Club (ApHC), as some farmers do, but not all Appaloosa horses can be registered with the CRHA.

In fact, for a horse to be registered as a Ranger, it must have descended from the lineage of the original Rangers—Leopard and Fox—developed by Mr. Ruby. 

For an Appaloosa to be registered with the CRHA, it has to have the required pedigree.

Hence, while it is possible to confuse these two breeds, they are not the same. 

Some Myths & Facts About Rangerbreds

Myth: Appaloosas Are the Ancestors of Rangerbreds.

Fact: No. Rangerbreds and Appaloosas have different bloodlines. Even though Appaloosas are historically older than Rangers, they were not the foundation sires of this breed.

Myth: Rangerbreds Are Short Horses.

Fact: Incorrect. Rangerbreds are between 14–16 hands tall, with an average height of 15 hands.

Myth: The CRHA Was Founded to Compete With the ApHC (Appaloosa Horse Club).

Fact: This isn’t true. Historically, the CRHA (1935) was established earlier than the ApHC (1938), despite the Appaloosa being an older breed. 

Final Thoughts

After reading about the Colorado Rangerbred horse breed, you may still be wondering if this breed is right for you. Here are some final thoughts to help you make your decision:

The Colorado Rangerbred horse is versatile and can excel in various disciplines. 

If you’re looking for a horse that can do it all, the Rangerbred may be a good choice for you.

This breed is known for being intelligent and trainable, so if you’re looking for a smart horse that’s easy to work with, the Rangerbred may be a good fit.

The Colorado Rangerbred is also known for being tough and hardy. It may be perfect for you if you’re looking for a sturdy horse that can handle harsh conditions. 

All in all, the Colorado Rangerbred can be a great fit for many people.

If you’re considering this breed, be sure to talk to a reputable breeder to learn more about the individual horses available and find the perfect match for your riding needs.