Shameful Slaughter Secret Exposed at Sombrero Ranches
No peaceful retirement for Sombrero Ranches' trail and camp horses
Sombrero Ranches , one of the largest horse rental companies in the West, promotes an idyllic image of their guests enjoying gentle horse rides through the scenic Rockies. However, Animals' Angels has discovered that the real story behind this operation, which manages over 1,000 horses at any given time, is a sad and shameful tale which offers no happy ending for the poor horses involved.

Horse at Sombrero Ranches

Multiple reports of unsafe and abusive conditions
prompted Animals' Angels to expand our ongoing investigation into Sombrero Ranches, which offers horse rentals for summer camps, hunting, and private contracts since more than sixty years.

One TripAdvisor user wrote that " The horses we rode could barely walk. And in particular, the horse my sister-in-law was riding kept tripping on the trail and at one point fell to its knee. It was very scary to was clear from the way this horse's legs were buckling that it was utterly overworked. The kids with us were crying because they knew the horses were not feeling well. So sad. Start to finish."

Other visitors to Sombrero Ranches have shared disturbing accounts of ungroomed, neglected horses being overworked, kept out in the heat all day without water or rest, taken out on trails in lightning storms, and being exposed to dangerous conditions. Many visitors described riding horses along steep, unsafe trails, and one traumatized visitor witnessed unattended horses running out into traffic on a busy highway.

Trail Horse at Sombrero Ranches

But Sombrero's most shameful secret is the apparent
utter lack of compassion they have for the retiring horses who have given years of hard service, day in and day out, to make money for their owners.

The sad fate of these poor horses was exposed when Animals' Angels obtained public records via Freedom of Information Act which disprove claims that all of Sombrero's horses are retired to private farms. In fact, health certificates show that in 2019, Sombrero Ranches shipped at least 30 horses to known kill buyer Gary Morris in Muleshoe, Texas. Most of these horses were over 20 years old; the oldest one was 30.

Unfortunately, Gary Morris is no stranger to Animals' Angels. Our investigators have reported on the horrific conditions at his lot several times, documenting visibly ill, emaciated, and cruelly neglected horses.

Sick horse at Garry Morris Lot

Morris is also known to ship his horses via the Presidio export pen in Texas to Mexico for slaughter. That means the unfortunate horses from Sombrero Ranches that were delivered into Morris' hands most likely faced the same grim fate.

Further investigation into public records revealed that Gary Morris apparently was not the only known kill buyer who received horses from Sombrero: In May 2019, 55 grade mares between the ages of 5-22 years old were shipped to Bouvry's Bar S Slaughter Horse Feedlot in Shelby, Montana. A close inspection of the Montana entry permit by our investigators raised several questions.

Bouvry's Lot in Shelby, MT 

First of all, the address and phone number listed for the consignor without a doubt belongs to Sombrero Ranches. However, the name that was used on the permit was listed as "Rocky Mountain Equine Hospital." Further research revealed no such equine hospital exists in Longmont, Colorado.

In addition, while the Montana entry permit listed the purpose of the shipment to be feeding, Animals' Angels is aware that the Bar S Feedlot is considered to be a
quarantine lot that only holds horses being shipped to slaughter. This means that testing for Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA), a deadly, contagious viral disease, is not required for animals shipped to this facility. All animals entering the lot must be branded with an "S" on their necks within 24 hours of arrival and can only leave via shipment to slaughter. It is thus painfully clear that the fate of the 55 mares from Colorado was certain slaughter.

Slaughter Horses at Shelby

While it is not a crime in the United States to ship horses to slaughter, we believe that the prosperous owners of Sombrero Ranches are morally obliged to provide their horses with a well-deserved retirement on one of the company's farms, where they can live out the rest of their lives in peace. The money made by Sombrero Ranches off the back-breaking work of these poor animals, over the span of many years, should be more than enough to secure these animals a safe home.

We urge any horse lover thinking to book a horse ride, camping experience, or other service with Sombrero Ranches, to first remember that the same gentle horse that will carry you safely along the trail might one day face a hellish ride in the back of a slaughter truck to a horrific death inside the kill box of a horse slaughter plant.

We also call on the management of Sombrero Ranches to change their unethical procedures to ensure that none of their horses end up as meat on a plate, and we encourage all our supporters to let Sombrero Ranches know that they will not support any business that enables animal cruelty or slaughter. Perhaps, if the thought of the horses' suffering won't convince Sombrero Ranch to change their ways, the thought of upset customers and bad press will. 
Help Us Advocate for the Animals

Exposing the shameful actions of companies such as Sombrero Ranches plays a vital role in holding such companies accountable and educating the public about their unethical and immoral practices.

Horses at Bar S Feedlot

We are motivated by our love for innocent animals to continue our mission to stop the abuse and slaughter.
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sonja inspecting trailer

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