February 3, 2012
Walking into the semi-sized container where the Brown’s store their harnesses, bits, reins and halters, the smell of leather assaults the nose. Each bit of tack hangs on a peg with the name of the horse the tack belongs to above the equipment. Because every horse is a different size, each bit of tack is specific to that horse.
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Tonto Basin ranch owners demonstrate that draft horses and traditional methods of farming can restore the environment
If the land under the care of Bill and Lori Brown loses fertility, everything on their ranch in Tonto Basin suffers. So their draft horse clinic aims to resurrect the art of farming with horses, a sustainable method of farming. The Browns have a history of environmentalism. They were honored in 2008 by the Society for Range Management as a result of their work in redeveloping springs and maintaining 15,000 acres of land. The couple has worked on their family’s H-4 Ranch since the 1960s. Despite the many years of use, the ranch radiates vitality. Animals have a healthy coat and the land grows lush alfalfa for the stock. In 2006, they decided to purchase draft horses as a hobby, but now recognize how horses link to sustainable farming. “Connecting with the land is critical,” said Lori.