Home on the Range

Horses out in the wilds of Arizona come in several versions... feral horses that are on their own and belong to no one but themselves, ranch horses that have been turned out to pasture and are gathered up to work when the need arises and then there is that in between that isn't feral but would need lots of work to become a working ranch horse. After the Rodeo Chedeski fire, many horses that had been turned out for there own protection were never caught up and started what is now a rather large population of feral horses. They are mainly on the Mogollon Rim from Woods Canyon Lake east to well beyond Show Low. They are becoming a bone for various factions to fight over. Feral donkeys have been successful all around Lake Pleasant. I have seen several of the "near feral" type around the Medicine Butte Ranch. Nearly always find horses between the Salt river and Jones Water. And many times I have seen larger pastured herds near the Bar-T-Bar up by Hay Lake, Long Lake and Chavez Pass.


In Arizona there are millions of acres of federal lands that are leased to ranchers for pasturing horses and cattle... the federal government owns more than 80% of the land in Arizona. BLM, NFS, NPS, Indian Reservations and National Monuments all contribute to that 80% plus.

"Land of Many Uses!" is a slogan of the National Forest Service. My problem with the slogan is the continuous closing off of people from the forests. Either by neglecting the forest and allowing it to grow fuel loads that are unhealthy to the forest, or cutting roads to keep people out of the forests! I think their motto should be:

"No people in the forest is a lot less work for us!"


  • Thru the bushes

    maybe some photo op?

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  • Knew we were there!

    and they came our way anyhow!

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  • Grazing our way...

    so we watched some more!

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  • Where are they heading?

    Looked like East...

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The need for all my horse infatuation isn't just because I like horses. Arizona was made famous by its Five C's; Cattle, Copper, Citrus, Cotton and Climate. If you like the old west and cowboys & Indians, then by default you were a fan of cattle... and that is the reason for all the horses in Arizona Territory.
Today only a fraction of the states horses are engaged in the cattle business. Lots of pleasure riding, lots of horse shows, and every town seems to have one place, at least, where you can steer rope on Friday night!



  • Whats up Doc?

    snorting at a whisper

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  • Come talk to me...

    Don't be shy!

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  • You don't say!

    How close can YOU get?

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  • Interesting talk!

    Making weird sounds.

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  • White horse is nice.

    Stayed away some.

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  • What are you hiding?

    Had no treats... my bad.

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On the Navajo reservation, between Kayenta and Monument Valley we spotted this herd of ponies... Good looking bunch.

I was talking to our tour guide on this trip and he said his wife was riding in an overnight trek from Kayenta to Monument Valley on horseback... he said maybe 40-50 riders do it annually. Riding horses on the great Navajo reservation is still a well used activity! Nice band of horses!


  • He went that-a-way?

    They enjoy the curious... and they have no fear of Dummies like me. They are tame.

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  • All were good looking.

    And they were all branded, some had a Bar-B brand but I couldn't see all the brands.

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  • What's in the truck?

    Sometimes they must have been fed from a truck as evidenced by their curiosity.

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