The Wapiti ranch takes top honors
Steamboat Springs — The Wapiti ranch’s white barn stables and fenced-in pastures that houses some of the nation’s best miniature horses has been recognized again as one of the premier ranches as two miniatures horses won in the American Miniature Horse National Show.
Grosshill EK Creations Stardusk won National Champion Weanling Mare and Beloveds Crystal Blue Creation won top ten weanling mare.
“I am very pleased,” said Pat Dempsey, the ranch owner.
As a horse breeder Dempsey said, “the shows provide a main evaluation of whether we created a better animal.”
The judging is based mostly on the horse’s conformation, but a horse’s disposition can influence their placing. Many of the horses at Wapiti have placed at the national level, including Creation, the stallion that has sired 14 of Wapiti’s American Miniature Horse Association National Champions and two of the ranch’s National Grand Champions.
Dempsey said it’s a lot of fun raising the miniatures as they have distinct personalities and are very playful. She says the miniature horse’s behavior is like that of a dog or goat, while maintaining the athletic ability of a horse.
Donna Lavery of Florida shows and trains the horses that Dempsey raises on her ranch. She showed the winning two miniatures.
“It’s nice to win, but it’s a lot of work to get there,” Lavery said.
Lavery trailers some of Dempsey’s younger horses to Florida to train for the winter season.
Dempsey stays at her ranch to complete daily chores, shovel and plow as needed and is available around the clock during foaling season.
Dempsey does the ranch work by herself. She said she does not mind the hard work and is content in the beautiful environment of her ranch, surrounded by National Forest.
Dempsey’s work as a horse breeder is nothing new. Before she began breeding miniature horses, she worked for 22 years raising Arabians on her ranch.
There are still Arabians on her ranch, but she has emphasized the raising of miniature horses for the past three years.
Dempsey’s change to miniatures was a decision she said she made when thinking about the future of her ranch.
She placed her ranch in a trust foundation that will ensure the ranch stays as it is for years to come.
Dempsey said she eventually envisions her ranch as a camp for children in the summertime. Miniature horses, she said, would be safe and fun animals for children and would allow the ranch to continue as a functional operation. Dempsey has had school-related groups to visit the ranch and enjoys seeing kids have fun interacting with the horses while gaining an understanding of ranch life.
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