Thursday, September 06, 2012

Ben Fogle, The Adventurer: the world on horseback - Full Story

By Ben Fogle
11:36AM BST 06 Sep 2012

Last month, I became John Wayne for the day. Or that’s how I felt. Dressed in double denim, with spurs on my cowboy boots and leather chaps slung over my jeans, I was clutching a hand-stitched saddle on a horse called Hamburger. Vast, weather-beaten plains stretched out in front of me.

I was in Big Bend National Park in Texas, riding and filming with real-life cowboys – and yes, we were wearing Stetsons – as they herded cattle across the desert.

Creature comforts were sparse. When our horses began to gallop, sand lifted in great clouds. It felt like being in a hairdryer – not surprising when it was 110F (43C) in the shade. And then there were the rattlesnakes. Knowing that they could spook the horses at any moment as we wended our way through some of the wildest, most isolated country in the Lone Star State was just a little bit scary.

Welcome to the life of a proper cowboy; men who work the land all year – rounding up longhorn cattle, often for days at a time.

Despite the risks and discomfort, I can’t tell you how thrilling it was to see this barren, remote corner of the world by horseback. For me, travelling this way is one of the best adventures you can have. You feel incredibly connected to the landscape, working in harmony with these beautiful animals. There are few better ways of seeing the world...

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