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Colorado Horse Company: Honesty, integrity and good horses

Doreen Shumpert

Jared and Nicole Florell, founders and owners of Colorado Horse Company, are no strangers to the horse business; they have literally worked their way to producing one of the most well-managed catalog sales in the region. In a tough economy, the high selling gelding, and high-selling mare, of their Winter Catalog Sale last January sold for $10,000 and $7,900 respectively.

But, make no mistake, Florells aren’t interested in comparisons, and believe any success so far can be attributed to hard work as a family (kids included) and to the good Lord’s blessings.

“First and foremost, God is good,” Jared shared. “His provision for us is obvious and we give Him our praise and thanks. Secondly, it’s not been an easy road, but with a lot of hard work and focus on the ‘better kind’ of horses, we have stayed in business. We just take things one year at a time and one sale at a time. We are by no means perfect, so we continue to strive towards a better business,” he continued, adding that it’s actually more about people than horses.

“Honesty and integrity are important values to us, so we believe the way you deal with people is one thing that makes us different. And, of course, our focus on the most marketable horses.”

Jared grew up in a family of avid hunters who used horses for hunting and packing, but his love for horses really began at the age of 19 when he had opportunity to work on Lonnie Mantel’s Ranch in Pavilion, Wyo., an experience that left a lasting impression. Some of the first horses that were used by Medicine Bow Outfitters in those early years came from the Mantels, who ran upwards of 1,000 horses at that time, and it gave him great opportunity to learn.

Meanwhile, Nicole grew up in a small farming community in Sidney, Iowa, where her dad was a rodeo board member for many years. She grew up showing in 4-H, and credits dear family friend Jennifer Deter as a primary mentor. Deter bred and trained AQHA Congress and World Show qualifying horses, and schooled and hauled Nicole. In 1993, Nicole entered Colorado State University, where she majored in equine science and was a member of both the show and judging teams.

Combining all of this “horse sense,” Florells founded Colorado Horse Company 11 years ago, and it’s an entity that encompasses many facets. Aside from producing the catalog sales and ranch horse competitions, they have been caretakers of land and cattle for Dr. John O’Neil of Fort Collins, Colo., for 17 years, and have owned and operated Medicine Bow Outfitters, a guide service, for over 20 years.

Through it all, their three children work with them side-by-side, which is high-priority to the Florells. Daughter Raegan is 12, and sons Benjamin and Wilson are 10 and six. All three are home-schooled, allowing them to be involved in every aspect of family life.

“Whether it is helping get ready for one of the horse sales, feeding cows, irrigating, fencing, or packing hunters in and out of the high country, the kids are right there along side us,” Nicole said. “They enjoy all the horses, but they have a 20-year-old buckskin gelding named Toast who is the perfect babysitter. He is taken along to ranch ropings and shows, and even up to the high country in the fall so the kids are safely mounted. We have tried not to push the horses on them,” she added. “They’ll either be avid horse lovers or not, and either way that’s fine with us. For now they just enjoy being kids.”

Speaking of kids and horses, Florell’s catalog sales are a good venue to shop for a wide range of good prospects; Florells personally select them, drawing from their combined experience. While they prefer to promote ranch horses, they recognize their diverse audience and sell horses of all breeds and disciplines. Consequently, if buyers are looking for a “Toast” for the kids, or a performance horse for themselves, they’ll probably find it.

Fully dedicated to integrity, Colorado Horse Company features extra safety measures – and incentives – for both buyers and sellers. They pre-select horses for quality; offer a soundness guarantee; perform a sale-day “temperament screening” of each sale horse that includes bridling, saddling and handling their feet to further prove disposition and offer a preview that includes trail, roping cattle and fresh cows for cow horses. Additionally, they hold their sales and ranch rodeos at the first-class Larimer County Fairgrounds complex, better known as “The Ranch,” which is clean, comfortable, and provides easy access and close accommodations of all types.

Sellers benefit from reasonable consignment fees (spent on advertising their horses), fair commission, and no extra sale fees or pass out fees, as they believe in the seller’s right to put a reserve on their horses.

“We spare no expense in the advertisement and production of the sale. We also offer an online catalog, and if something happens and a horse has to be vetted out, the consignor can roll that consignment fee over to the next sale. We just try to be fair!” she added.

It’s pretty rare to be able to buy a horse at a sale, then compete on him a few hours later. Unless, that is, you buy one of their solid ranch horses then enter up in their Ranch Rodeo, often held in conjunction. Not only does this event spotlight the ranch horse; better yet, it’s more time for family fun.

“Our rodeo has been, and always will be, about horse promotion. But we enjoy producing a wholesome family event that provides opportunity for networking and a chance for families and friends to fellowship together,” Jared said. “Currently, the ranch rodeo is an annual winter event held in conjunction with our winter catalog sale. We have produced several ranch horse competitions in the past and continue to look at other event promotions for our May sale,” he added.

Ultimately, Colorado Horse Company strives to stay grounded with good attitude, good motives and good business sense-including giving credit where credit is due.

“We appreciate our sale associates more than words can really express. We are fully aware that the success of each and every sale we produce is largely dependent on the willingness of the consignors to allow us to help them market their horses,” Nicole said. “Add to that the faithful and enduring friendships of our dedicated friends who help us produce the sales. We just continually thank the Lord for his blessings to us, and we are trusting Him with the future.”

Colorado Horse Company’s Spring Catalog Sale is May 21, 2011, at The Ranch in Loveland, Colo. For more information, please call (970) 493-3036, or visit http://www.ColoradoHorseCO.com for an online catalog and additional details.


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