My daughter and I just returned from a whirlwind trip from upstate New York to Portland, Oregon and back. We were taking dogs to a national competition and didn’t have much time for sightseeing, but we did watch for horses along our route. Main highways don’t always give you the best options for horse watching but we still found some nice ones.
What struck us first was how few horses we saw going through much of the Western states. There were hundreds, if not thousands, of cattle over rolling hills and flat prairie land but not many horses.
Of course, then we realized why. Here in the East, a 20 or 40-acre pasture is considered a big area. Our horses come at a whistle or are fairly easily tracked down. Out West where a grazing area could be hundreds or thousands of acres, horses need to be kept a touch closer to home. Most ranch buildings were not visible from the highways but I expect there were horses near the homes. The most horses we saw were on the Crow Reservation in Montana.
Our next observation was on horse colors. Paints and pintos truly rule the West. We also saw more roans than we usually notice out East. Plenty of buckskins with a number of Palominos scattered in. In fact, the signature horse of South Dakota seemed to be the ?lone Palomino? standing majestically on an outlook. Colored horses, including Appaloosas who were noted as well, are traditional Western riding horses so I guess that fits.
I was surprised to see many grays as well. I think of gray horses with melanomas (must be my veterinary training!) and wondered about grays out in the bright sun all day.
A fun experience was watching horses take advantage of the giant sprinkler setups in many of the fields. I am sure the sprinklers help to keep bugs off. A few of the horses were clearly playing in the spray too.
Our photos did not come out the best ? quite frankly I am amazed Kate got anything to come out as we whizzed by at 75 miles per hour and she shot through the car window. I wish we had not had time pressures and could have enjoyed the magnificent country we live in more.
I would love to hear what you feel is the predominant color or color pattern in your area. Here in Upstate N.Y., near a Standardbred track and with active hunter/jumper stables nearby I would have to say bays rule (even though my own field holds a roan Appaloosa, a gray/white Arab, a bay pinto miniature horse and a red dun Quarter Horse).