Stormyridge Appaloosa is a 300-acre horse ranch at 8200’ elevation in the Wet Mountain Valley of south central Colorado, 58 miles west of Pueblo. The western view from our front porch is open ranchland against the backdrop of the spectacular Sangre de Cristo range and its many 14,000' plus peaks. The valley is known for its fascinating history, awesome scenery and wildlife, quality hay, many festivals and other popular events, and friendly residents.
I have ridden since a child and have raised horses since 1976. On retirement, I was fortunate to be able to move my horses and breeding operation to this beautiful valley, where I raise quality, colored Appaloosa horses. At present I have mares, geldings, weanlings, and yearlings for sale. Depending on their maturity, they are ground trained and saddle training has begun. Local youths from Future Farmers of America help with the riding.
Dyna’s Tapers, the sire of the band, was a New Mexico bred tri-color (buckskin, white, and blue roan), who produced blankets, leopards, and roan patterns on his babies. These offspring have very good dispositions and are easy to train. Tapers’ pedigree has several Plaudit repeats, which reinforce his potency for color.
I pasture-board horses for part-time locals who need care for their animals and can also provide overnight stalling for traveling horsemen, who find some terrific trails in the Sangres Wilderness and the San Isabel Forest. Local ranches offer pack trips of varying duration. With enough time, you can ride or jeep over the Sangres to the west and drop into the San Luis Valley at the Great Sand Dunes Monument. Fish are stocked in all our high mountain lakes so if you have a mind to wet a line you stand a good chance of bringing in a “keeper.”
The Stormyridge herd of Boer meat goats keep the horses company and graze on feed the horses don’t like. The goats are available for sale on a seasonal basis.
Stormyridge visitors seeking a quality horse for riding will find many unique events, restaurants, galleries, shops, and opportunities for varied outdoor activities to enhance their stay in the Wet Mountain Valley. Should you want to shop by plane, the Silver West Airport is less than a mile from the Stormyridge front gate.
Stormyridge Appaloosa is located 9 miles south of the Town of Westcliffe, once a candidate for the territorial capital of Colorado and one of several historic communities in the area. The first strikes in what became an important, if short-lived, local mining boom were at Rosita, where a town was laid out in 1872. In three years its population reached 1,500, with three churches, a bank, two hotels, two newspapers, a brewery, and a dozen other businesses. In 1877, however, one of the richest single deposits in Colorado was struck just a few miles north, the Bassick Mine in what became Querida, and many of Rosita's buildings were simply loaded onto runners and dragged to the new strike.
The focus of the boom shifted again when pure horn silver was discovered where Silver Cliff now stands. By 1880, Silver Cliff was the third largest city in Colorado, but by 1882 its boom was over: The price of silver had fallen and stock in the mining companies plummeted. Meanwhile, the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad brought its line to a nearby site, which became Westcliffe, incorporated in 1887, a railroad town and a center for farmers and ranchers. In a 1928 election, Westcliffe became the seat of Custer County, replacing Silver Cliff, which had served that function since 1886. A very active Historical Society is dedicated to researching and preserving our history.
The economy of the Wet Mountain Valley today is based on our ranchers, who produce and export tons of quality high altitude grass and alfalfa, and raise cattle and other stock. Underscoring the importance of open space and ranching to the valley and its residents, The San Isabel Land Protection Trust, based in Westcliffe, assists landowners in the protection of ranch, farm and forest lands, wildlife habitat, open space for scenic beauty, and historic resources. In addition to thousands of acres already permanently protected by the Trust, the organization and local ranchers are completing a conservation easement of approximately 10,000 acres on the north edge of town.
After ranching, tourism is the second most important business in the valley. Our summers are filled with the Bluegrass Festival, Jazz Festival, Wet Mountain Western Days featuring country artists, Stampede Days Rodeo, and Art in the Sangres, a juried art show. This show to benefit Open Space & Wildlife Habitat Protection, held in late September, is an important source of funding for The San Isabel Land Protection Trust and a wonderful experience for local and visiting art lovers.
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