Here at the Rusty Spurr Ranch we hold our horses in the highest regard. They play an integral role in virtually every aspect of our business. From taking care of our guests and showing them the best our ranch has to offer to transporting our staff to whatever chore they may be required to complete, our ranch could not function without strong, healthy horses.
To ensure that our horses always remain physically sound and in good flesh, we give them the best conditions we can offer. When our horses aren’t working we turn them loose. We never keep our horses standing in the same, muddy (or dusty) corral all day. They roam in vast pastures where they can freely graze on the plentiful mountain grass (which tends to have a higher crude protein content than the average cultivated grass such as Timothy). They can bathe in a pond if it’s been a hot day or seek shade, and shelter in one of our many, lush aspen groves.
In addition to the nutritional gains of this lifestyle, there are a number of secondary health benefits that our horses reap from this way of life. We see fewer of the hoof problems that are often encountered in animals kept in damp or mucky conditions. We also see fewer of the respiratory issues associated with being kept in a continuously dry, dusty environment.
We believe that one of the keys to having the healthiest horses around is allowing them to exist in the way that nature intended for them. Anything with legs that long needs space! With over 2,000 deeded acres to utilize, our horses get plenty. Being flight animals by nature, the ability to roam at will helps our horses relax. Combined with the opportunity to socialize with whatever horses they choose (or not!) this environment creates the most ideal situation for our horses when they are not at work. Just like any human, quality down time results in a healthier mind and body. Each of our horses’ dispositions have a direct effect on the quality of our guests’ experience, so we don’t take this matter lightly. In this fashion we see that not only do our horses benefit from their quality of life, but so do our guests and wranglers. To us, it just makes sense.
Living outdoors has another benefit as well. All of our rides take place outdoors! Since our horses graze, socialize and roam around much of the same land that our rides encompass, they are already familiarized with the environment in which they work. This means they are comfortable with where they work, and that means a safer ride for our guests because their horse will be less likely to spook or shy at something along the ride.
Lastly, we work very hard to prevent our horses from being overworked. They work very hard (up to a maximum of 4 hours per day), but there is a fine line and we watch closely to ensure that our horses don’t cross it. In addition to not being corralled any longer than 8 hours per day, our horses average approximately two days off per week.
Some people ask “Isn’t it a lot of extra work to round up every morning and run out every afternoon?”. Sure. But we believe that our horses are worth every minute of it. And so are you.