August 24, 2014

Two horses from Judge Riddel Boys Ranch adopted by Wink Hartman family

Eight horses from the Judge Riddel Boys Ranch, which closed last month, are living at new homes in Sedgwick County.

Two horses from the former Judge Riddel Boys Ranch are now living at another ranch — oilman Wink Hartman’s 500-acre spread in Rose Hill.

Hartman and his wife, Libba, adopted Pepi and Stonewall when Sedgwick County closed the boys ranch last month.

Pepi, 13, and Stonewall, 19, both have special needs. Pepi is diabetic, and Stonewall suffers from navicular disease, which causes a shortened stride and persistent lameness.

Stonewall, donated to the county by Fort Riley, was featured in an inaugural parade for President George W. Bush.

The two joined the Hartmans’ other horses, about 40 in all. The family also has buffalo, longhorn cattle, llamas and miniature donkeys, not to mention three dogs and two cats.

“We’ve inherited all these animals for the last 15 years from people who didn’t want them,” Hartman said. “That’s kind of our thing.”

Pepi and Stonewall live close to the barn and have gained some weight, Hartman said.

“They get daily attention, a lot of attention. They get fed three times a day.”

The ranch has two full-time caretakers for all the animals, Hartman said.

The county received 134 phone calls from people interested in adopting the ranch’s eight horses (The Eagle took several calls, too). Staff invited 21 people to take a look at the horses. Four people declined to adopt any after seeing them.

All of the horses are living in Sedgwick County.

Assistant County Manager Ron Holt said the county checked everyone out before they were allowed to adopt.

“The staff out there (at the boys ranch) did a great job getting word out to people and making sure that the folks who got them had vets and had the wherewithal to take them and take care of them,” Holt said.

Hartman ended up with two horses, Holt said, because “one person who was going to take one of them decided at the last minute it was going to be too much for them. Wink was willing to take more than one.”

There was no cost to adopt the horses, which came with equipment such as their blanket, saddle, soap and combs, breast collar, bridle and cinch.

Reach Deb Gruver at 316-268-6400 or dgruver@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @SGCountyDeb.

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