- Tuesday, January 27, 2009, 2:30 p.m.
Dona Shue, High Plains Mustang Club president, is passionate about horses.
She grew up on the Front Range, hearing rumors of wild horses living in Colorado, but she never got the chance to see one in person.
Years later, after finally witnessing them up close, Shue is making sure others get the opportunity.
"A group of us were trying to do something that would benefit the whole community and recognize our western heritage of this area." She said. "So, we decided we wanted to get involved in promoting wild horses since there are a couple of herds close by."
Two acres of land west of Craig were donated for the future Colorado Wild Horse Monument Park and Interpretive Center.
Hayden artist Curtis Zabel is constructing eight life-size bronze horse sculptures that will stand in the park for what Shue hopes is a very long time.
"We came up with the idea of creating this park because at some point in time, wild horses may not exist anymore, and I think this will be a lasting tribute," she said.
The Mustang Club will unveil a scaled down model of the future Wild Horse Monument Park on Tuesday at Yampa Valley Bank, 435 Mack Lane.
Members of the public are encouraged to attend, and donations will be accepted.
"We are a non-profit," Shue said. "So, anybody who wants to donate or to contribute, there are different levels that they can contribute to. They can get their name somewhere in the park, on a horse, on a bench, on a kiosk or something like that.
"But, the main purpose is to let people know this is what we want to do for the community."
Shue said the park will cost about $1.5 million. All of the proceeds raised so far have been used to create the miniatures that will be displayed Tuesday.
"At this point, everything we raise is going toward breaking ground," Shue said.
The park is being designed for multiple purposes.
"It would incorporate the history of the horses and the part they played in developing the western United States," she said. "It would include information on wild horses in general, how they helped settle the West, how they were used, information about the local herds and where they are with directions, so people who are interested in seeing horses in the wild know where to go and where they might see them."
Choosing Zabel to create the sculptures was easy, Shue said.
Zabel, who resides on a ranch outside of Hayden, has spent 72 of his 74 years in Northwest Colorado.
"A group of those people came up here and talked with me and wanted to know if I'd be interested in doing it, and I told them I would," Zabel said. "I'm a rancher. I've been around horses all my life."
Zabel said creating a life-size bronze sculpture is a complicated process.
"Oh gosh, I don't know," he said when asked when he expects to be finished. "It's going to take a long time to do the clay work, and then its got to go through the foundry. So, I'm going to say, a life-size one takes close to a year."
That's plenty of time.
Shue said she expects the park to open in the next two years.
"We would like to have it completed in the next two years, but it depends on the fundraising," Shue said. "We are hoping the unveiling Tuesday will allow us to move forward at a much faster pace."