The Year of the Horse in Alaska

2014, The Year of the Horse, is the seventh sign of the Chinese zodiac. The spirit of the horse is recognized to be the Chinese people’s ethos ~ making relentless efforts to improve themselves.

Year of the Horse

So much like Pioneer Outfitters over the last 90 years. It is the 90th Anniversary of Pioneer Outfitters and 2014 is going to be huge for our Horseback Adventures.

Many of our scheduled Summer Horseback Adventures have already been selected for the new Adventure Films that are going to be a new video series focusing on the professional guides of Pioneer Outfitters. New routes are being explored fro the truly adventurous and the 2014 International Horseback Adventure is a hot topic.

The Year of the Horse in Alaska

The horses here at Pioneer Outfitters are as much a part of our Team as the Professional Guides and the Alaska Guide Trainees that work with us. The amazing history of the horse in Alaska is simply to us, another reason to value them as such. They were very instrumental in opening Alaska to the world.

From the time of the earliest settlers, then following, the military, little was ever done to improve any existing trail let alone create new ones. That changed in the late 1880’s when the prospectors began to seek gold in Interior Alaska.

Many of the new settlers and prospectors brought horses with them and selling wild hay was a major business then. Roadhouse operators maintained hay fields to provide food for horses. The roadhouse operators also raised vegetables for the meals they served to travelers.

The Year of the Horse in Alaska

How far back do horses go in Alaska’s history? I found this:

“Ann Forstén, of the Zoological Institute at the University of Helsinki, has estimated that E. caballus originated approximately 1.7 million years ago in North America. More to the point is her analysis of E. lambei, the Yukon horse, which was the most recent Equus species in North America prior to the horse’s disappearance from the continent. Her examination of E. lambei mtDNA (preserved in the Alaskan permafrost) has revealed that the species is genetically equivalent to E. caballus. That conclusion has been further supported by Michael Hofreiter, of the Department of Evolutionary Genetics at the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig, Germany, who has found that the variation fell within that of modern horses.”

Title:  The Surprising History of America’s Wild Horses written by Jay F. Kirkpatrick and Patricia M. Fazio.

The Year of the Horse in Alaska

The horses are a lot of work. They are also a labor of love for us. They carry us safely and lift us high to see the glory and beauty that surrounds us. They help us by allowing us to travel further, faster, safer and with more comforts and supplies than we ever could without them.

The steady and sure steps allow confidence to spread throughout whoever is astride, the altitude refreshing your mind, relaxing your body with the rhythmic shift of the saddle beneath you. The incredible strength, your horse lends you, allowing you to travel longer, see further and feel more free than ever standing on your own two legs.

The Year of the Horse will be an incredible time to experience the Alaskan wilderness as it was meant to be experienced; on horseback. I hope that you will be here for all the exciting and spiritually uplifting rides that we will take in the coming months.




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4 Responses to The Year of the Horse in Alaska

  1. Fun..Fun..Adventure films of the rides.. how cool…you’ll have everyone drooling to come!
    The Year of the Horse and Pioneer!

    As Always ~*~

  2. You should emphasize that Pioneer Outfitters offers horseback hunts in Alaska, one of few (or the only one) that do so. I have seen write-ups in wild sheep magazines that state that there are no outfitters providing this service, or only a few, but never naming Pioneer. That’s a real sales point in your favor, in my mind.

    • Steve!
      Really? I actually thought I mention it almost too often to be appropriate! Ok, then, I will make sure no one is confused at all! Thank you for this, Steve. It means everything to us.
      Take care and stay in touch!

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