Category

Ranching

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ImageAt age “39-plenty,” this Midland, Texas, woman serves as an ambassador for the ranching industry and traditional cowboy ways.

The official ambassador for the Lincoln County Cowboy Symposium in Ruidoso, New Mexico, Tommye Connor—aka “Mama T”—fills that role unofficially for many other such gatherings, as well. She encourages young and old alike to connect with the Western way of life she knows so well.

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ImageThe T4 Cattle Company, a family-owned and -operated cattle ranch in New Mexico, has outlasted recessions, fires, death and countless droughts through sheer deter- mination and a close connection to the land.

Phil Bidegain stops his horse to watch his Hereford and black baldy cow-calf pairs weave through the chollo and juniper. Pushed on by cowboys and a driving October cold front, the herd plods south toward the edge of Mesa Rica, from which they will descend 1,000 feet in elevation, down a narrow, winding dirt road.

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Across the United States, riding trails are at risk. More than ever, backcountry horsemen must compete with hikers, mountain bikers, ATV riders and others for public-land access. And, with increasingly restrictive—even anti-horse—regulations in some locales, trails on which riders were once welcome are now hostile environments for horsemen. Learn how 10 of the country’s top riding destinations have come under threat, and how you can get involved in the fight to save them.

Use these 32 strategies to reduce your impact on the environment—and help guarantee backcountry access in the future.

I go to the backcountry because I want to get out there and feel like I’m the first person to see this land,” says Jim Culver of the National Outdoor Leadership School. “I want my kids and grandkids to have that same experience.