We were founded in April of 2008 in Crested Butte, CO by Thereasa. At that time, she was a barn manager for The Crested Butte Ranch where she was introduced to cutting. In addition to her barn manager duties, she gave riding lessons and was the 4-H leader for the Horseless Horse Project which was the start of Running T Ranch. In June of that year, she purchased her first horse Diamonds Kentucky Gentleman; a ¾ Saddlebred/ ¼ Arabian cross bay gelding. It was because of her friend, USDF Certified Trainer Deborah Hindi, that she was both introduced to and fell in love with classical dressage. In the fall of 2009, Thereasa and “Gent” made the move back to Wisconsin. In 2012, Thereasa was selected to be a trainer in the Mustang Makeover Challenge where she was assigned a gray gelding from the Adobe Town Herd Management Area that she named DJ’s Born Free. Thereasa fell in love with “Don Juan” and opted to withdraw from the competition and adopt “Don Juan.” Although “Gent” and “Don Juan” are no longer part of the ranch, owning them has made a huge impact on both the ranch and the ranch’s philosophies.
Prior to the foundation of Running T Ranch, Thereasa began her equine career at the age of 12 with ridding lessons in hunter under saddle. Shortly there after she began showing, and continued to take lessons and show her parent’s horses until her mid 20’s. She graduated with degrees in veterinary technology and pre-veterinary medicine. A career change led to another degree in massage therapy followed by a certification in equine massage therapy. After almost 20 years in healthcare, Thereasa is now retired from medicine.
Thereasa and Ben met in the March of 2013. Both he and his daughter grew up in the city and had never been around a horse. It did not take long for them to “catch the horse bug.” Thereasa and Ben married in June of 2014 and changed the ranches name to Running T Ranch Performance Horses. Their focus is to breed and sell quality all-around performance horses.
Our philosophy and goal are one in the same; to breed and sell quality all-around horses with classical dressage training principles. During Thereasa’s early equine career, she had been trained in and shown in halter, showmanship, hunter under saddle, equitation, equitation over fences, western pleasure, horsemanship, trail, and barrel racing. Over the years she noticed the change in the industry from all-around horses to event specific horses, and with it the lack of regard for a horse’s physical structure (i.e. the development of post-legged halter horses and western pleasure horses being loped haunches-in/travers) and proper body conditioning through proper balanced training. Because of this change, she and her family want to bring back the all-around performance horse that has been trained with classical dressage training principles.
Every horse on the property is handled daily beginning their first day on the ranch. Young horses are started slowly with ground training/handling the day they are born. Halter, lunging, in-hand trail, and ground driving are taught between the ages of yearling and 3-years-old. Showmanship is started during the 3-year-old year. Horses are started under saddle during their 4-year-old year only worked 2 days per week at a walk-trot. During their 5-year-old year training is increased to 3-4 days a week, and the basics (i.e. leg yields, transitions, halts, working gaits, collected gaits, extended gates, etc.) are refined. During their 6-year-old year they are finished as an all-around horse. Over these 6 years, positive reinforcement is used throughout training.