Working Horses

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Horses have a big presence in the American West, but these days, equines are owned and used predominately for recreation and leisure activities such as trail riding, western performance competitions, and companionship. I have been one of these owners and my horses have given me hours of enjoyment under the open sky. However, there still exists a class of horse owner in the region who earns a living in partnership with their animals and these individuals are the subject of this study. On the high, dry volcanic plateau near Flagstaff, Arizona, a handful of horse breeders and trainers depend upon horses for their income. The longevity of their work and the multigenerational nature of their craft remind us that this kind of horse culture has been and is still very much a part of the American West.