Nebraskaland May 2019

NEBRASKAland Magazine is dedicated to outstanding photography and informative writing with an engaging mix of articles and photos highlighting Nebraska’s outdoor activities, parklands, wildlife, history and people.

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Page 19 of 63

20 Nebraskaland • May 2019 Saddling Up Out West Story and Photos by Justin Haag he Panhandle of western Nebraska's rugged buttes, sweeping grasslands, rolling hills and ponderosa pine forests spur an urge of exploration for countless visitors each year. For many a seasoned cowpoke on down to the greenest of greenhorns, their most memorable experiences while visiting this region have been atop a mode of transportation that has been popular for thousands of years. That would be the effi cient, nimble, high-powered Equus ferus caballus, better known to most as the horse. Visitors to Fort Robinson State Park near Crawford soon realize they are in horse country. A sign at the entrance of the park's headquarters evokes visions of the park's history as a 19thcentury U.S. Cavalry post: "Through These Portals Passed the World's Finest Horsemen." With Fort Robinson's expansive 22,000 acres, horsemen and horsewomen of all skill levels revel in a landscape fi t for a Western movie. Deb Kennedy, assistant park superintendent, said the park off ers something for riders of various skills. "Riders don't have to stay on the trail. However, for those not-so-adventuresome people, we do have marked trails," Kennedy said. "They can ride leisurely on the prairie, quietly along the river, or into the buttes for a little more challenging ride with awesome scenery." Kennedy said horseback riding continues to gain popularity at Fort Robinson, where weekly rodeos entertain visitors. Annual gatherings of horse enthusiasts, such as T For exploring the rugged and spacious public lands of the Panhandle, it is tough to beat a mode of transportation that has been around a while.

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