New stable operators at YMCA Snow Mountain Ranch look to move past old operator’s animal cruelty incident
In January 2022, authorities seized 144 horses and euthanized one from Snow Mountain Stables, an independent vendor that ran the horse stables at the YMCA of the Rockies Snow Mountain Ranch in Granby. The YMCA terminated the contract with the stables, and later hired Rocky Mountain Stables as a replacement.
The new vendor formed in May 2022, but its parent company, Stockyard Stables, has operated in Fort Worth, Texas, for 12 years. Steven Schreckhise and his father-in-law, Ray Dotson, run the companies, traveling between Granby and Fort Worth to oversee operations. Schreckhise said YMCA, which owns the physical buildings, has been helpful in fixing and updating things on the property.
“Obviously the facility needs some help,” Schreckhise said. “We have plans, in partnership with the YMCA, to make it better, as far as the structures.”
The previous horse vendor had issues with the health of their horses at the stables. Snow Mountain Ranch’s new general manager Josh Huggett said in August he could ensure what happened with Snow Mountain Stables would never happen again and that he and staff from the other horse program on the property, that National Sports Center for the Disabled’s therapeutic riding program, would monitor the condition of horses at the main stables.
Schreckhise said Huggett comes by the stables regularly to look over the stables and asks if there is anything Schreckhise needs. Animal control also visits regularly, which Schreckhise said is understandable, considering what happened in 2022.
“It’s pretty easy to look at a horse and tell if they are eating or not,” Schreckhise said. “One that’s emaciated and skinny obviously hasn’t been taken care of.”
The Texas-based company, which Schreckhise described as being in the entertainment business, had a previous relationship with the YMCA in Granby. Schreckhise said his company expressed interest in running the stables the last time the ranch put out a bid for vendors, but the YMCA ended up hiring Snow Mountain Stables.
Unlike their predecessors, Rocky Mountain Stables has kept a small number of horses on the property since taking over in summer of 2022. When Snow Mountain Stables had horses seized and euthanized, it had over 140 of them at Snow Mountain Ranch. Schreckhise said Rocky Mountain Stables had 35 horses on the property this summer.
“The business that we had was a good match for the amount of horses that we had here,” Schreckhise said. “This coming (summer), I might need a few more than that, but this property is not facilitated to take care of 140 head of horses. There’s no way you can do that and do it properly.”
For the winter, the stables are down to 11 trail horses and six draft horses to pull the sleighs, as well as a few mules that also pull sleighs. The other horses have gone back to Texas, which is where all Schreckhise’s YMCA horses come from.
The stables offer trail rides and sleigh rides during the winter. Over the summer last year, it offered only trail rides, but Schreckhise said they plan to add wagon rides next summer. Part of the reason the summer had limited activities was that Schreckhise anticipated lower turnout after last year’s animal cruelty charges.
“With all of the trauma that was publicized everywhere, I knew we were going to have a little bit of a challenge getting started back up,” Schreckhise said. “New company, new name, new website, new social media. It wasn’t nowhere near as busy, I guess, as it was in the past. I don’t know what (activities) they had — I just know they had a lot of horses.”
Schreckhise has experience offering more than just trail rides at Stampede Stables in Fort Worth, where the offerings include stagecoach and carriage rides, a petting zoo and the chance to get a picture taken atop a Texas longhorn.
Looking to gain the community’s trust after what happened at the YMCA’s stables last year, Schreckhise said he and his employees take pride in making sure they properly take care of their animals.
“That’s what makes me a living,” Schreckhise said.”Without them, that would go away, so we go the extra mile to make sure that they’re taken care of well and everything’s done properly.”
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