Category

Ranching

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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.

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Photography by Lynn Donaldson

A spur-of-the-moment decision to go is often enough to carry a horseman out on a simple trail ride, but a pack trip calls for much more planning. Montana guides Kipp Saile and Kail Mantle offer tips on how to prep for a safe and unforgettable backcountry adventure.

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At this remote cowboy retreat, guests trade the pressures of everyday life for days spent working cattle and exploring the forested canyons of Arizona’s Chiricahua Mountains.

Only a handful of ranches in the West send out a wagon anymore. Most places aren’t big enough to justify the experience. Finding cowboys willing to sleep in a teepee for six weeks isn’t easy, either. But for the Spanish Ranch in Elko County, Nevada, sending out the spring wagon is a way of life.

I caught up with Ira Wines, buckaroo boss at the Spanish Ranch, in early May of 2006, just 10 days before his spring works began.

The effects of our 3 A.M. wake-up, and the hour long drive along an isolated gravel road paralleling the U.S.-Mexico border, faded quickly as we unloaded the mules from the trailer and saddled them in the chilly April morning air.