Month: May 2018

Horse Travel Vacation Spots: Oatman, Arizona

Oatman, Arizona is a town in the Black Mountains of Mohave County, Arizona. The compound began as a small mining camp during the gold rush. In 1915, two prospectors found over $10 million in gold; in the months following this discovery, Oatman’s population swelled to more than 3,500 people (up from just a couple dozen). In recent years, the town has experienced a tourism renaissance; laying close to Route 66, road tripping visitors stop in the tiny town to see the old buildings, gorgeous mountains, and the famous wild burros.

The wild burros of Oatman are descended from pack animals turned loose by early prospectors. Each morning, they wander into town looking for food. These burros roam freely through the streets of Oatman, feeding on treats provided by tourists. The burros are gentle, but wild—signs posted throughout the town advise visitors to exercise caution. However, tourists are welcome to approach, pet, and feed the burros without fear of disciplinary action. Currently, the animals are protected by the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Oatman offers more than the ability to pet wild burros. A standard weekend in this town can include anything from classic car rallies to staged “Wild West” shootouts. The town is fiercely proud of its Route 66 heritage, selling souvenirs for tourists passing through on their way west. The town has a high desert climate and is significantly cooler in both summer and winter than the surrounding area, making it an excellent place to stop and spend a few days.

 

 

Categories: Vacation Spots

Horse Travel Vacation Spots: Sable Island, Nova Scotia, Canada

Sable Island is a small piece of land situated around 200 miles southeast of Halifax, Nova Scotia. The island was inhabited, originally by sealers, shipwreck survivors, and salvagers known as “wreckers.” To address the number of shipwrecks occurring in the area, the governor of Nova Scotia established several life-saving stations on the island in the early 19th century. Over the course of several years, a humanitarian settlement was established for rescued seamen and women. Uninhabited since the late 19th century, the island now serves as an important science research center. It also, coincidentally, is home to several hundred horses.

The Sable Island horse, also known as the Sable Island pony, is a small, feral horse found only on Sable Island. In 1960, the Canadian government approved legislation to protect these feral horses. In the decades since, noninvasive herd and genetic analyses have been conducted on the group of horses. Otherwise, the herd is unmanaged and not subjected to any kind of interference. These horses generally stand at around 55 inches tall and weigh around 800 pounds.

Visiting this island is notoriously difficult, but the payoff is immense. The island is protected and managed by Parks Canada, which must grant permission to anyone wanting to visit. In 2013, Sable Island became a National Park Reserve; visitors must observe utmost environmental respect. Though not particularly accessible (the island can only be reached by plane or ship), tour companies have begun taking visitors. The trips are expensive, but travelers are rewarded with unique views of plants, animals, and—of course—horses.

Categories: Vacation Spots