Located north of Matheson in Elbert County on the vast plains of eastern Colorado, this ranch is home to big skies, short grass (buffalo and blue grama), and numerous water holes. Willow Gulch traverses the ranch and empties into Big Sandy Creek which eventually flows to the Arkansas River and on to the Mississippi. Antelope, deer, coyotes, owls, hawks, and swift fox call this home.
This prairie land was home first to the Kiowa Indians and later to settlers who built sod houses and eked out a living from the unforgiving land which could offer up drought, dust storms, blistering sun, thunder, lightening, rain and hail and winter blizzards. The ruins of the sod houses these settlers called home still remain as tribute to their courage and independent way of life.
Duncan Matheson was one of those settlers who, in approximately 1871, established headquarters in Matheson and ran bands of sheep on the grassy hillsides. Eventually, Texas cattlemen were drawn to these prairies because of the productive grass. The Lasater Ranch, one of the largest ranches in Elbert County, borders Willow Ranch on the south and is home to the Beefmaster breed of cattle which was developed on the ranch. The R. A. Brown summer ranch borders Willow Ranch on the north, east and west. The R. A. Brown ranch in Throckmorton, Texas, is home to registered and commercial cattle and registered Quarter horses.
Today, Willow Ranch is home to registered Morgan horses and native Shorthorn cattle. The Shorthorn was imported to America in the late 1700s, and like the Morgan horse, is versatile. Originally, the Shorthorn was raised for beef, milk and draft purposes.
Morgan horses, the Pride of America, are at home here on the prairie. If you are looking for a tough horse that can take care of itself, handle a lot of work, but still compete in the show arena, look to Willow Ranch Morgans…The Pride of the Prairie.
You are invited to Willow Ranch where you will find the answer to your equine needs, a good meal, great hospitality, and a warm bed in an authentic bunkhouse.
Come visit and see for yourself. Enjoy the Morgan horse in the vast beauty and solitude of the Colorado prairie.