Utah’s Antelope Island

August 14, 2010

 As a life-long East Coast gal, I relish the great open spaces of the American West, and as I cantered through fields of sagebrush on a well-trained Quarter Horse Thoroughbred Cross headed for a herd of bison on Antelope Island in Utah, I felt like a true cowgirl.

Antelope Island, the largest of the islands in the Great Salt Lake, is a hidden gem. Surrounded by the grand snow-capped mountains of the Wasatch Front, the land here hasn’t changed much since the pioneers settled in the area, which is truly special. Ranchers from the Fielding Garr Ranch grazed horses, cattle and sheep on the island for over 130 years. Today, Antelope Island is a state park, where bison, antelope and other wildlife roam. On my ride there, I spotted many antelope and bison and was excited to see two Great Horned Owls perched in a tree over by the historic ranch property.

I rode with Ron Brown of R & G Horse and Wagon outfitters. He and his horse are not afraid of bison. Neither was my horse Sawdust. I, on the other hand, had my heart in my throat as we came upon a herd that Ron wanted to move around a bit. No, we weren’t herding them for any particular purpose, though there are bison round-ups here, just for the sport of it. I got close enough a couple of times to grab a tuff of hair from the bison, but then quickly galloped away. It was super exciting.

Ron and I were the only ones out there riding. He doesn’t take out large groups, but it’s that personal attention that allows riders here to have a true Western adventure on this unique island in Utah.

The video below shows a clip from Equitrekking Utah, the episode which features this bison round-up. Learn more about horseback riding vacations at EquitrekkingTravel.com

Topics: Antelope Island, darley newman, day rides, equestrian travel, equestrian vacation, herding bison, horse riding, horseback riding, Utah, Utah state parks, western riding