Horses from Elkhorn Stables in Estes Park need new pasture after flooding

ESTES PARK, Colo. - Dozens of horses at one of Colorado's oldest dude ranches need a new pasture and transportation to get them there. 

At Elkhorn Stables in Estes Park, more than 60 horses sit up on a hill overlooking their previous home.  The barns have been deemed unsafe and the Big Thompson River gushes through.

The business has been open for 135 years.  On a busy day, the dude ranch had 250 riders.  Right now, the owners are scrambling to figure out their next step.  As the water gushed Thursday, wranglers scrambled to reinforce fencing and get the horses up the hill.  The hay to feed them was lost in a truck that now sits under water. 

"Drove over there in 6-to-8 inches of water and a few minutes later came back and it maybe got channeled that fast," explained manager Gary O'Dell.

The horses normally eat a diet of alfalfa and hay, so O'Dell says they have been thinning out some.  They will need a green pasture with grass to eat in the next couple of days. 

O'Dell gets somewhat emotional when talking about the horses he works with day and night. Wherever the horses go, he says he will go too.

"If you've got a car that gets old you get rid of it. You got a horse that gets old you feed it for the rest of its life," he said.

To help with transportation or destination for the horses, contact Gary O'Dell at 970-308-7503.  He says he will honor Living Social and Groupon coupons when the business reopens.

Meanwhile, the business next door, Elkhorn Lodge, is open. It claims to be the oldest continuously open lodge in the state of Colorado.  Managers say visitors are welcome immediately.

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