The snow polo horses got some upscale digs for their fifth annual visit to Aspen this weekend.Seventeen thoroughbreds were boarded at the Limelite Lodge - in a small grassy part of the lodge, that is, rather than in rooms.
Barry Stout, a New Castle rancher and event director for the World Snow Polo Championship, said the horses have stayed in Aspen's Wagner Park, where the match is played, in the past. But this year the city wasn't interested in allowing the horses to overnight at the park, so Stout asked his friends at the Limelite for help."They've been really big supporters of us and came through at the last minute," he said.Over at the Limelite on Friday afternoon, 15 of the horses stood grazing on hay put down in the snow in a small lawn about 15 feet from guest rooms.
"We called all of our guests last night and told them about the horses," Keith Sexton, the lodge's director of sales and marketing, said on Friday. "We said we'd move them if they weren't happy with it, but everyone came back and said 'No, this is great - it's what Aspen is all about.' Out of 11 full rooms ... no one wanted the horses moved."Curtis Paas, the lodge's day manager, said Stout won't be charged for boarding the horses, but the Limelite Lodge in return is one of the sponsors of the weekend's polo games. Members of the Colorado State University polo team who were helping care for the horses were staying at the Limelite over the weekend.
"We're the biggest supporters in town of every event," Sexton said. "We want this to be a traditional Aspen event, so everyone has to work together to make it happen."Stout said that since the horses are all from his New Castle ranch, they're all used to being boarded together.Naomi Havlen's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org