Rio Blanco County is definitely out in the country. The towns of Rangely and Meeker are both considered very small towns, which is one of the reasons many of the residents choose to reside there. With small town life comes a variety of pets and horses are definitely one pet that is in abundance in Rio Blanco County.
When you are an owner of horses one of the essential things you will need is a safe place for them to live. If you live in town you may choose to board your horse at either the Rio Blanco County Fairgrounds in Meeker or the Rangely Fairgrounds. They rent out stalls for a monthly fee. You are responsible for feeding, watering and cleaning your stall.
For the lucky residents who have their own land outside of town, or a big enough lot in town, they are able to keep their horses right there on their property. If the previous owner of your property had horses you may already be set in terms of a place for your horses to reside. If no horses have been kept on the property prior to yours, then you will need to prepare a safe place for your horse to live.
The first decision you will need to make is how big of an area you will have for the horses. Be sure to check with the building permit office in Meeker or Rangely if you live in town or the county building office for any rules that may apply as to the number of horses allowed in a space. Currently there is a restriction of two horses maximum on any lot in the town of Meeker. The town of Rangely has some areas where horses are allowed and others where they are not. Outside of city limits the land is generally zoned as agricultural and horses are allowed on it. To determine if there are any restrictions call the office. Lastly, if you are part of a subdivision that has a home owners association, check with your association for possible rules or restrictions.
Once you have determined the amount of land you will want to provide for your horse or horses, you will need to build at minimum a fence to keep them in. These can be built out of wood, pipe, pre-made panels, barbed wire or other fencing materials. What materials you choose will in a large part be determined by your budget. Many horse owners in the county are on a limited budget and therefore use either wood, tee posts or steel pipe with barbed wire. To determine the safest way to string the barbed wire you can contact the Division of Wildlife. This can help keep not only your horses, but also the deer in the area safe.
You will need a gate to let the horses in and out of the fence. You can purchase a gate at Meeker General Mercantile or any animal/feed store. You can also make a gate out of materials you have lying around. In order to better catch your horses, especially if they have free roam of a large pasture, you may want to consider putting a catch pen inside your fence. This is a small pen that you can lure the horses into using hay or grain. Once they are in you can close a small gate to the pen and it is much easier to catch them in this small area then it is to catch them in a pasture. The catch pen can also then be used as a sick pen if you ever have an injured or sick horse so it serves two purposes.
What sort of shelter you choose to provide for your horse is based on your location and your personal preferences and your budget. You may wish to provide a barn for the horses to sleep in at night or stay in during a cold winter day. Barns are great but can be expensive. If the expense of a barn is out of the question you can provide a small lean-to as a shelter against wind and rain. If you have property with lots of tree cover this may even be enough for the horse to seek shelter under.
Whatever you decide to do to give your horses a safe home be sure to research and know how you want to do it. There are plenty of options for people with all sorts of budgets so take your time and you will find one that works for you and your horse.