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Yellowstone Family Adventure: horseriding

Our afternoon horseriding excursion occurred outside the Park. We met our horses at an isolated and beautiful spot, and were matched with our mounts. Helmets were provided for the kids in the group.

Then we were off: on a gentle and scenic ride through the private property of a cattle-rancher.  

The owner of the ranch and his son were also our guides on the outing. We headed up through rolling hills and wonderful scenery. All the kids were comfortable on their horses, even though it was the first time riding for most. 

The rest-point for our trip was an authentic old homestead: an interesting glimpse of life from bygone days. 

An entire family lived in this small place, through tough winters, miles from the nearest habitation. 

Every day of our Family Adventure we learned something, and even this last day of rafting and riding was no exception. 

Cattle ranchers face two main threats: wolves and fire. Wolves were re-introduced to Yellowstone National Park some years back, as part of the natural ecosystem. 

Wolves don't, however, notice Park boundaries;; some are tempted to hunt calves on nearby ranches. This rancher is scanning to check for tagged wolves in the area. 

Compensation for the ranchers' losses is available, but time-consuming bureaucratic requirements add insult to injury to owners who are losing livestock, and who are also now obliged to to ride out on their ranches much more frequently to check on their stock.

The other threat to ranchers is also part of the "natural ecosystem" of the Yellowstone area.  Fires start in this region all summer long; an average of 22 fires are ignited by lightning in the Park alone. This blaze is only a few miles away from the land we're riding on, on this last day of a thoroughly great trip.

 

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All Images (c) 2001 by Teresa Plowright. 


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