Colorado Flood Impacts AQHA Horsemen

The devastating flooding across Colorado's Front Range has not left AQHA members unscathed, and it's not over.

By Christine Hamilton
The American Quarter Horse Journal
September 14, 2013

Tom and Leslie Lange's T&L Quarter Horses in Greeley, Colorado, was inundated by floodwaters from the South Platte River on September 13, 2013.

Tom and Leslie Lange's T&L Quarter Horses was inundated by floodwaters from the South Platte River in Greeley, Colorado, on September 13, 2013. (Photo courtesy of T&L Quarter Horses, LLC)

As Colorado braces for more rain to come, the flash flooding that has erupted along the Front Range since rain began September 11 has claimed lives and destroyed land and property.

And AQHA members are not unscathed.

T & L Quarter Horses of Greeley, Colorado, owned and operated by AQHA Professional Horseman Leslie Lange and husband, Tom, was completely inundated with floodwaters from the South Platte River on September 13.

It launched an amazing rescue of their horses by the Langes, their staff and neighbors. (Watch the local news story!)

Tom Lange and two of the farm’s hands were at home when “water rose two and a half feet in 30 minutes” in the farm’s driveway, according to Leslie. They had no notice or warning.

Leslie and the remaining staff were at the Rocky Mountain Quarter Horse Association Fall Classic AQHA show in Denver with about 17 head. The remainder of their total 51 head – including one miniature Jersey cow – was at home and needed immediate evacuation.

“We had neighbors who helped,” Leslie told The American Quarter Horse Journal. “We had a couple of trailers there, and a couple of neighbors who lived up on dry ground brought trailers down. They got three trailer loads of horses out and then a bunch of the guys went in with a tractor and a boat and grabbed all our broodmares and babies and other horses, and got them out last night.”

With the water at the height of its surge, Tom and AQHA Professional Horseman Jeff Burley went in on a tractor in the evening of September 13 for the last five of the pasture horses.

“The water was too deep,” Leslie said. “One pulled back and pulled the lead rope out of… their hands. We had to leave them overnight, but we got them out (September 14).”

As of noon on September 14, all horses, dogs and humans were dry and in a safe place. Aside from treating nicks and bruises, the horses appear in good shape. One yearling is being treated for hypothermia.

“I don’t know that there’s anything more anyone can do now,” Leslie said. “Right now we are waiting for waters to recede so we can get back in there and see how much damage we have.

“It’s gone down quite a bit … There is three foot of water running through the main alleyway of our barn and indoor arena.”

She added: “We actually got in there today and got some clothes. Fortunately we have a two-story house and our bedroom is upstairs.”

Tom and Leslie have the horses farmed out in safe places in Weld and Larimer counties

“Once we get the current situation under control, we can assess and make long-term plans,” she said.

To AQHA friends and colleagues she said: “Just tell everyone, all lives are good, people and animals. No one got lost.”

As of September 16, an online fund has been set up privately for those wanting to help the Langes.

There are many ways to help Colorado flood victims, including American Red Cross, the Colorado Horsecare Food Bank, etc.