Grand County may change the way fairground horse stalls can be used
July 2, 2008
Because of allegations about the mistreatment of horses, county commissioners are studying the fate of 14 metal horse stalls at the Middle Park Fairgrounds.
Sue Pratt of Troublesome Horse Rescue said the 12-by-12 box stalls have been a subject of concern to her and her board of directors since last March when it was discovered that certain renters of public stalls were not properly caring for horses kept there.
The stalls lack electricity. Electric devices can be used to keep water from freezing, but without electricity at the county stalls, none could be used so there’s no way to ensure that horse have water in the winter.
Troublesome Horse Rescue helped to put down one horse because of lack of proper care and filed a complaint against two other horse owners whose horses subsequently were found new homes, Pratt said.
“The facilities are inappropriate for boarding,” she said.
From a May 19 meeting held in Kremmling about the issue, concerns about the horse stalls were gathered in an attempt to draft a new stall rental agreement, said County Manager Lurline Underbrink Curran.
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The stalls were originally constructed of wood about 21 years ago, then later reconstructed into metal. The original intent for the stalls was to shelter 4-H animals on a short-term basis for the Grand County Fair. Use of the stalls eventually opened to year-round boarding of animals for those lacking land.
Since stalls have been rented year-round with little oversight, they have become a “black eye to the community,” Pratt said.
In a memo to commissioners, Underbrink Curran noted that the facilities were never meant for 24-7 occupancy, that inappropriate care of animals “has been noted,” that the facility lacks oversight on the condition of animals kept there and that there is no exercise area for the animals.
For solutions, the manager proposed, electricity could be provided to stalls for the cost of $7,500, an exercise pen could be created for horses while stalls were cleaned, and a system of oversight should be initiated. The CSU Extension Office and Troublesome Horse Rescue have offered to provide training on proper care, Underbrink Curran said, and a price of $60 per stall per month, an increase from the current price of $20, is recommended with a $30 a-month rate extended to 4-H youth.
The stalls also need “cosmetic work,” the county manager said. “If we expect people to keep them at a certain level, we need to rent them at that level.”
Commissioners pondered whether there needed to be an overall change in how the stalls are used, such as limiting use to summer months only and to 4-H youth only.
However, places for those without land to board horses are limited and usually more expensive, it was pointed out during the meeting.
Commissioners agreed to visit the stalls next week before making a formal decision about their future.
Currently, 11 individual stalls are leased to horse owners, nearly a complete turnover of renters from “the original 14” among which some were suspected of mistreating horses, according to Pratt.
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