Driving horses through Northwest Colorado | CraigDailyPress.com

Driving horses through Northwest Colorado

Great American

Noelle Leavitt Riley
Zac Truer, left, Ken McCall and Sombrero Ranch Owner Rex Walker take a moment to rest Sunday, after driving more than 400 horses from the Sombrero Ranch in Browns Park through Maybell.
Noelle Leavitt Riley

The Sombrero Ranch Great American Horse Drive passed through Northwest Colorado on Sunday, when cowboys and cowgirls transferred 400 domesticated horses from winter pasture to spring and summer pasture.

Although it looks fun — which it is for many who participate — it’s still hard work for ranchers and others to move the horses 60 miles from the 50,000 acres on Sombrero Ranch near Browns Park to an 18,000-acre pasture roughly 15 miles west of Craig.

The horses are domesticated, and although the Sombrero Ranch is near the Sand Wash Basin where wild horses reside, they are not the same herd and are not wild — a common misconception in the area.

The horse drive has become a scenic affair for locals and others who travel to the area to watch a real live horse drive.

“I think it’s a great event for the community and especially for the kids,” said Craig resident Shannon Davis, who took her sons to watch the horses pass through Maybell. “It’s a good experience for the kids. The cowboys stop and talk to them.”

Sombrero Ranch owner Rex Walker takes pride in the function, and his daughter, Freda Bishop, loves to watch the excitement stir when the horses go through Maybell where hundreds of people line U.S. Highway 40 to see the spectacle.

“Friends, family and employees come out, and it’s a chance to get together,” Bishop said.

Once the horses reach the spring/summer pasture, they get vaccinated, wormed and shod — fitted for horseshoes — so that they can go out to ranches throughout the area.

Each year, more and more people help drive the horses. This year, people from Japan, Germany, Belgium and Switzerland booked trips to Northwest Colorado to help with the event.

Other helpers included children who craved to be a part of the action, including Kallie Smith, who rode alongside Stacey Tuttle.

“We love it. We’ve been doing it for years,” Tuttle said. “It’s just the greatest experience.”

Contact Noelle Leavitt Riley at 970-875-1790 or nriley@craigdailypress.com.