Is there a horse lover in your family? If so, find out how the animal can be a part of your holiday. Here are five ideas to consider.
1. Wind River Horse Sanctuary, Lander, Wyoming. Located on the Oldham family’s 900-acre ranch, the sanctuary is one of three BLM eco-sanctuaries open for public tours and the only one on a Native American reservation. The family cares for approximately 130 wild horses or mustangs in Wind River country east of Yellowstone National Park.
2. The Virginia Range, Nevada. This area of about 30 square miles in Northern Nevada was home to television’s Cartwright family on the 1960s Western “Bonanza.” Today it is home to a free-roaming herd, among the first to be protected through legislation pushed through by activist “Wild Horse Annie.” Take a hike into the area and be on the lookout for mustangs gathered around watering holes.
3. Pryor Mountain Wild Mustang Center, Wyoming & Montana. Learn about the evolution, habitat and historical significance of this mustang herd during a daylong tour, available May through October, which might include bear, bighorn sheep and other wildlife sightings in the land that straddles the Montana — Wyoming border.
4. Ranch getaways. With a scenic setting as a backdrop, you and your family can learn horsemanship from experienced hands who will tailor the instruction to your skill and interest level. Are you up for a horseback trip into the backcountry? Will your youngsters be eager to learn the skills required for team penning and other arena games? The options are yours at working dude ranches and guest ranches across the country.
5. Assateague Island National Seashore, Berlin, Maryland. This magnificent stretch of beach is perhaps best known for the wild Chincoteague ponies that make their annual swim across the Assateague Channel. The seashore, a part of the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, is also home to more than 300 species of birds as well as miles of trails for biking and hiking.