Previous month:
March 2010
Next month:
May 2010

April 2010

New stable land use regs move to final vote

FORT COLLINS, Colorado -- Larimer County planning commissioners approved new land use regulations for horse facilities in a unanimous vote Wednesday night, passing the issue on to county planning commissioners for a final vote May 24 at a 6:30 p.m. hearing.

If approved by county commissioners, the new regulations would take effect August 2, and require horse operations to apply to the county for approval or operate illegally.

Levels of required approval -- and expense -- would vary based on a stable's size. What the county plans to do for existing stables, which never knew the rules existed, and for which rules were never enforced unless there was a complaint, remains unknown, but solutions ranging from fee reductions to total amnesty have been mentioned. (May update: County staff have proposed a 50-percent discount on fees of $300/boarded horse; $150/lesson client; $300 public site plan review. This represents a fraction of potential upgrade costs to existing stables.)

Planning commissioners also urged county staff to increase the number of boarded horses allowed on properties of 35 acres or more. (May update: County staff have recommended properties of 175 acres or more being allowed to board 12 horses as a use by right.)

If the new regulations are implemented, horse boarding stables will be allowed fewer livestock per acre than any other rural property use in the county.

May 24, 6:30 p.m. hearing location: Larimer County Courthouse Offices Building, 200 W Oak Street, Fort Collins, 1st Floor, Hearing Room.

Public speaks out on new stable regs

Stable regs: 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

Contact Larimer County county commissioners.

Public speaks out on new horse stable regs

As of this writing, Larimer County planning commissioners are in the middle of a hearing on new regulations for horse stables. Public feedback so far:

"Horse people don’t get rich on their little horse businesses. They love horses, and they’re sharing their love with other people." -- Bonnie Templeton

"Is it a perfect plan in my mind? No, but I think it’s a perfect compromise." -- Trisha Swift

"I’m really excited to have some land stewardship in here." -- Kathy Doesken

"In the end, this will better Larimer County for horse operations and neighbors. It will improve the quality of life for all residents. -- Kathleen Kilkelly

"Existing stables need extreme leniency." -- Karin Livingston

Stable regs: 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

Stable regs: 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it'

Wanted: Public feedback.
What happens to existing boarding stables will be left up to the three Larimer County commissioners as they prepare to vote on new proposed land use regulations for horse facilities.
County planning director Linda Hoffman presented the proposed regulations Wednesday night at a hearing before the seven-member (advisory) planning commission’s hearing. County commissioners will have a final vote on the proposal in May.
Hoffman also added that county engineers intend to approach applicants in the transition program from an "acceptance" approach. If everything is "working" at a facility, engineers visiting a property will be encouraged to evaluate it as "if it ain't broke, don't fix it".
Transition program possibilities include:

  • Reduced county application fees
  • Reduced impact fees
  • Approval tiers based on the characteristics of the business, and tiers based on promptness of stable applications submitted for county approval.

Hoffman urged hearing attendees to speak regarding ideas for the transition program that could be passed on to county commissioners next month. Hoffman also noted that "transition program" benefits could be extended to others besides existing stables.

Previous coverage

Give your feedback to county commissioners.

Animal disaster planning: Tornado - a tough call


In 2008 a tornado whipped through a stable near Windsor, Colorado, destroying buildings. Flying, collapsing debris seriously injured horses inside or near their shelters.

We are not supposed to have tornadoes this close to the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, but in June 2009, we survived another close call.

The sky turned black, the wind developed an odd wail, and sudden waterfalls of rain thought about turning to ice. Television and radio broadcasters announced a tornado warning, with funnel clouds sighted south of town.

The wind wailed louder, and we began getting calls about our horses spending the day outside in daily turnouts with no roof over their heads. People wanted their horses in, period.

I asked our vet, Dr. Allen Landes of Equine Medical Services, what to do under threat of a tornado. His reaction? ... 


Continue reading "Animal disaster planning: Tornado - a tough call" »

School book fair cashes in on Winning Bet

Saint Joseph Catholic School book fair and Winning Bet teamed up for a winning event!Winning Bet, my young-adult horse novel, did well at the Saint Joseph Catholic School Book Fair last week, helping the school beat its goal of $6,500 in sales to benefit the school library. I helped the school write their own Accelerated Reader (AR) test for Winning Bet, which the students appreciated because they could get their horse fix, and earn AR points!

By the way, if your school does not have Accelerated Reader, reading test-practice software for practically every book ever written, you should get it. I helped kick-start our school’s literacy program, and Accelerated Reader made a huge difference in our student’s reading growth.

Just so you know, there is a way for everybody to get a Winning Bet AR test. Librarians, teachers, parents, students: If enough of you request it, Renaissance Learning will write an AR test for Winning Bet that everybody can use. Just go to to make the request. Information you’ll need:
Title: Winning Bet
ISBN: 0-615-32165-8
Publisher: Ingram
Interest Level: Middle Grades Plus
Year Published: 2009

Happy Reading!

Winning Bet 'delightful', 'highly recommended'

(Karin Livingston is a career 4-H horse leader. Winning Bet is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble online, stores, and to librarians and retailers through the Ingram Book Group.)

 Google search:

There was blood on the show shirt …

Our last weekend horse show reminded me of that old cowboy song, “There was blood on the saddle, and blood all around …”

Let’s just say it was a rushed morning. The list of things I wished I had remembered to do grew and grew as the pre-show minutes raced by: re-glue my show bow, organize my clothes the night before, find my show gloves, find the coffee thermos, find the checkbook, get up earlier.

In my defense, it was my first show in more than a year due to Great Recession cost-cutting.

They called the Hunt Seat Showmanship class, and as I slammed my helmet on

Continue reading "There was blood on the show shirt …" »

Earth Day rains bathe plantings

Planting native plums at Poudre River Stables, Fort Collins, Colorado.

Taking my own advice, we planted 50 bare root plums in the lower pasture over Easter, which were drenched by Earth Day rains. Talk about great timing! The hand post-hole digger worked well as the main digging tool. The spot next to our pond system is prime growing land, with moist soil that won’t require much, if any, watering.

Benefits of the plum plantings include protecting the soil during a possible flood and improving the wildlife habitat. Of course, if the animals don’t get to the plums first, we’ll have fruit for jams and wonderful wines. Through the state forest service nursery, the plants came in at less than $50, a bargain by any standard.

Going 'down under' to save the Lorax

Every Earth Day I remember what happened to the Lorax. This year, your local stable may be the Lorax.

For those who are just joining us, the big issue: Regulation of how horse boarding stables use their land. The problem: High-dollar growth, and the fact that Larimer County left horse operations alone for 20 years.

Requirements: Avoid over-regulation, save taxpayers money, keep it simple, encourage business. One more requirement: Promote peaceful coexistence between neighbors and agriculture as growth inevitably entwines the two. The solution: Australia.

Continue reading "Going 'down under' to save the Lorax" »

Horse safety: How do you rate?

Horse safety quiz - graphic -

(Earn points and free badges at our sister site, Mane-U. We are mobile-friendly and love horse trivia.)

One of the huge strengths of the 4-H Horse Project is that safety comes first, no matter what. How safe are you around horses? Knowing the answer to these questions, which represent just a sampling of 4-H safety rules, could save your life. You must answer 80% correct in order to be considered passing.

Click here or on the photo to take our free quiz. You can take the quiz as many times as you want. Good luck! 

If this quiz helped you, please:

You might also enjoy, "How well did you read Winning Bet?"

HORSE-OPOLY: The Board Game

Metal fragments found in Purina feeds

Purina has voluntarily recalled horse and chicken feeds because metal fragments were found in the feed.

The feeds are Strategy-brand horse feed and Layena-brand poultry feed. According to Purina, the recalled products were manufactured in Nashville March 24-25 and were shipped to retailers and dealers in Mississippi, Arkansas, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Missouri and Virginia.

Google "Purina feed recall" in the search box below for a full list of related stories.