Letter: Thoughts on Cozy Point Ranch
November 20, 2016
Dear Mayor Steve Skadron and council,
I want to express my opinion about a matter that is very near and dear to my heart: Cozy Point Ranch. Considering Cozy Point is owned and operated by the city of Aspen, it is incumbent on the city to ensure the facility and operation of Cozy Point is at the same high standards as other Aspen facilities.
As the only public equestrian facility in the Roaring Fork Valley, the 34-year-old Cozy Point needs a new barn with proper ventilation. The stalls are old and far below today's standards. I'm told the wash stall has corroded piping with mold and mildew, and the indoor arena is also in inferior condition and in need of being updated. There is inadequate tack storage for boarders and the aisles are insufficiently wide due to the tack trunks stored on the sides of the aisles. There is no separate farrier area and there is no separate sterile area for vets to work. There also is no quarantine barn, which is required by the horse industry regulations and which is recommended by every vet in the country. The drainage is inadequate and was never designed properly with elevated areas, which results in overflow around the corrals. Snow and rain runoff from the roofs need to be directed away from the structures.
The outside dry lot pens need to have safe, easy to clean, solid footing (with no mud) for them to be considered safe. As the situation is now, during the rainy and snow seasons, horses at Cozy Point Ranch must stand in their own excrement in what are considered "dry" lots. This situation is shameful and a disgrace to the good name of Aspen.
It's possible to keep the old barn running while building a new facility without having to shut down the equestrian center operation.
I'm sure it has been pointed out that the Aspen-owned Aspen Recreation Center was built new with city funds, grant funding and with large donations from local patrons. I'm confident there's a wealthy Texas philanthropist who loves horses who could be attracted by naming rights for one of the buildings.
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Cozy Point Ranch should represent Aspen with the same world-class facilities as the Aspen Recreation Center, which reflects well on Aspen. It is incumbent on the city of Aspen Open Space and Trails Parks and Recreation staff and board to give the same consideration and respect to the equestrians and the horse facility that was given to the recreation center users.
Be advised, if a higher percentage of land is provided for farming vegetation production, the horses will have less space for pastures and paddocks to graze and exercise after being confined to the stalls. Horses are large animals and they need space to exercise for their mental and physical well-being.
I strongly believe the Aspen City Council needs to bring in a third party expert to consult with the Roaring Fork Horse Council to do a full analysis of the needs of Cozy Point to bring it up to the standards we expect in Aspen, then Aspen should proceed promptly to renovate Cozy Point Ranch so Aspen can be proud of its equestrian facility.
Enough with modern art museums where the focus is on stuff. Please turn your attention to live noble beings (horses) who have served man honorably over the centuries. The horses at Cozy Point Ranch and the large number of residents and visitors who enjoy horses should have a facility worthy of Aspen's world-class name. Let's make Cozy Point Ranch a facility we can be proud of throughout the valley. Thank you.
Dedicated to promoting horse care and protection,
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