Meeting addresses issue of unwanted horses

Frequently on Monday mornings, Bill Scebbi receives phone calls from horsemen, such as a rancher who asks, “Can you help with the five horses in my pasture?”

What’s the problem?” Scebbi responds.

Well, they’re not my horses,” the rancher says. “Someone dumped them here.”

An estimated 6,000 horses become unwanted animals each year in Colorado. Scebbi and organizations he works with are trying to find ways to alleviate the problem.

Scebbi is the executive director of the Colorado Horse Council and the Colorado Horse Development Authority. He was in Grand Junction Thursday evening to host a horsemen’s town meeting at the Mesa County Fairgrounds, promote the groups he represents and listen to concerns of horse people.

About 50 people showed up at Thursday’s event, representing groups such as the Grand Mesa Backcountry Horsemen, Friends of the Mustangs, End of the Trail Horse Rescue, Western Slope Reining Horse Association, different breed groups and individuals. There were also representatives of the Bureau of Land Management and Colorado State Parks.

One of the concerns, mentioned by several people, is unwanted horses. It is a problem throughout Colorado, and the nation, especially since the economy has soured. Scebbi brought a video message from Chris Whitney, the president of the Colorado Horse Council, and also head of the Colorado Unwanted Horse Alliance.

The alliance works with horse rescue groups and others, providing grants and other assistance, to find homes for unwanted horses and make them more adoptable.

While unwanted horses are an issue, protecting horse-owners rights has been a greater concern at the five horsemen’s town meetings Scebbi’s group has hosted around the state.

The Colorado Horse Council has worked to protect those rights in a variety of ways, from working to keep horse trails open at Cherry Creek State Park to participating in more than a year’s worth of meetings that led to the drafting of new zoning rules for horse operations in Larimer County.

The organization also lobbies on behalf of horse owners at the Colorado Legislature.

It also puts on the Rocky Mountain Horse Expo each year at the National Western Complex in Denver.

With horse ownership comes responsibility,” Scebbi said. “One of the best ways to be responsible is to be involved in groups like these.” For more information, check out the Colorado Horse Council at http://www.coloradohorsecouncil.com.


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