Mountain Valley Horse Rescue showcases six horses at show in Denver |

Mountain Valley Horse Rescue showcases six horses at show in Denver

Adopted horses and the humans who love them compete at Battle on the Rockies

Their hair is fabulous, is what it is.

The inaugural Battle on the Rockies featured 62 adopted or adoptable horses, most resplendent in thick winter coats, from ten Colorado horse rescues, including six from Eagle County's Mountain Valley Horse Rescue.

"We could have had more but we ran out of space for stalls," said Garrett Leonard, director of Harmony Equine Center, the equine division of the Dumb Friends League, adding that it's a good problem to have.

The show is for adopted horses and the humans who love them.

"There's not a lot of opportunity for people who have adopted horses to do anything competitive with them. They ride them in their backyards, trails and enjoy their horses. We thought it would be great if we could give them the opportunity to participate in something like this," Leonard said.

Besides fun, the goal is to raise awareness that there are good horses at rescues, Leonard said.

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"You can go to a rescue, get a really nice horse and enjoy it. You don't need to spend $10,000 on a horse," Leonard said.

The Battle on the Rockies on March 1, part of the Rocky Mountain Horse Expo in Denver's Western Stock Show complex, was a horse show exclusively for rescue horses — both adopted and available for adoption.

Humans, horses doing horse stuff

In the competition the horses did stuff that horses actually do, things like ranch riding and trail riding. Sixty percent of the human contestants had never competed in a horse show in their lives. Almost none of the horses had.

"It also introduced people to showing horses," Leonard said. "We're getting kids involved. It exposes them to more things they can do with their horses."

The event featured categories for just about every horse and rider combination you could imagine, from professional trainers and riders, to rookie kids. The field included 16 horses that are available for adoption.

Learning and loving

It was a learning experience for both horses, riders and show organizers.

These horses live outside, which means they had grown their winter coats, which also means they had all kinds of hair and it was … well, it was fabulous.

Eagle County's Mountain Valley Horse Rescue, for example, is in McCoy and McCoy is buried under snow.

Mountain Valley Horse Rescue took six horses. Four adopted horses were shown in the non-pro class by their amateur adult owners/riders: Elle owned by Kathryn Middleton, Buffalo and Indy owned by Jessica Crawford and Perry owned by Jami Polzinx. Two adoptable horses — Melody and Chanel — were shown by MVHR trainer Joel Aguilar.

"For each of these horse and rider teams, the trip to the big city, the excitement of the show and being in the HUGE arenas at the Stock Show complex was an accomplishment. They all showed well, and beautifully demonstrated the partnership that can be formed with adopted horses," Shana Devins, Mountain Valley Horse Rescue executive director said.

Melody is a 5-year old mare that could barely be caught a few months ago, and had just six rides on her before the show, Devins said.

"She showed great composure navigating the show grounds and all of the excitement," Devins said.

Chanel is a mustang in her mid-teens that had never even been touched by human hands before arriving at Mountain Valley Horse Rescue. She was mellow, quiet and gentle-natured throughout the weekend, navigating the trail course especially well, even some of its most challenging elements, Devins said.

"To practice and train in winter is a challenge, but every team rose to that challenge and brought their very best to Denver, including all the winter hair on the horses!" Devins said.

Melody and Chanel, as well as about 10 others, are available for adoption from MVHR, Devins said.

Mountain Valley Horse Rescue's waiting list is more than 40 horses long.

For information about Mountain Valley Horse Rescue

Mountain Valley Horse Rescue is located and receives mail at:

33933 Colorado River Road

McCoy, CO 80463

Call 970-653-0185, or email

Mountain Valley Horse Rescue is open to guests from 10 a.m-2 p.m. most days, and by appointment other times. Call before you come out.