The Ottumwa Courier

AP National

April 24, 2014

Big riders mean big horses on Western trails

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Wranglers in the West who have for decades cashed in on the allure of getting on a horse and setting out on an open trail say they have had to add bigger horses to their stables to help carry larger tourists over the rugged terrain.

The ranches say they are using draft horses, the diesels of the horse world, in ever greater numbers to make sure they don't lose out on income from potential customers of any size who come out to get closer to the West of yesteryear.

"Even though a person might be overweight, or, you know, heavier than the average American, it's kind of nice we can provide a situation where they can ride with their family," said wrangler T. James "Doc" Humphrey.

Humphrey's 10-gallon hat, goatee, black vest and spurs are a tourist favorite at Sombrero Ranches, east of Rocky Mountain National Park, where they have 20 draft horses, including Belgians and Percherons, and 25 draft horses mixes.

Ranch operators say they began adding the bigger horses in the 1990s, but the pace has picked up in recent years. Over the last 20 years, obesity has increased to more than a third of adults and about 17 percent of children age 2 to 19, according to federal statistics.

"I think it's wonderful that these people are looking to accommodate people of larger body size," said Peggy Howell, spokeswoman for the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance, adding that more businesses should become "size savvy."

"People of larger body size enjoy athletic activities just as much as people with what's considered normal body size," she said.

Draft horses fell out of favor as machines took over pulling farm equipment in the mid-20th century, said Elaine Beardsley of the Ohio-based Percheron Horse Association of America. Registered Percherons reached a low of 86 in 1953, and are now at 1,000.

Text Only
AP National
  • Obama urges immediate access to Ukraine crash site WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama sternly called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to compel Kremlin-backed separatists to stop hampering the probe at the Ukraine site of a downed passenger jet and allow international investigators unfettere

    July 21, 2014

  • US outlines case against Russia on downed plane WASHINGTON (AP) — Video of a rocket launcher, one surface-to-air missile missing, leaving the likely launch site. Imagery showing the firing. Calls claiming credit for the strike. Recordings said to reveal a cover-up at the crash site. "A buildup of

    July 21, 2014

  • Florida town stunned by news of police KKK ties FRUITLAND PARK, Fla. (AP) — Ann Hunnewell and her central Florida police officer husband knelt in the living room of a fellow officer's home, with pillow cases as makeshift hoods over their heads. A few words were spoken and they, along with a half-d

    July 21, 2014

  • Kerry returns to Mideast to push for cease-fire WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is making a renewed push for a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas with another trip to the Middle East after the civilian death toll in the conflict sharply escalated over the weekend. Kerry left

    July 21, 2014

  • Court: Hoffman didn't want 'trust fund' kids NEW YORK (AP) — Court documents show Philip Seymour Hoffman rejected his accountant's suggestion that he set aside money for his three children because he didn't want them to be "trust fund" kids. The New York Post (http://bit.ly/1ntwUa9 ) says the c

    July 21, 2014

  • 200 pairs of panties stolen at east Georgia mall AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — Authorities are investigating the theft of 200 pairs of panties at an east Georgia shopping mall. Richmond County sheriff's officials say a thief stole the panties from Victoria's Secret in Augusta Mall shortly before noon Saturda

    July 21, 2014

  • Poor teens' health may benefit from top schools CHICAGO (AP) — Disadvantaged teens may get more than an academic boost by attending top-notch high schools — their health may also benefit, a study suggests. Risky health behavior including binge-drinking, unsafe sex and use of hard drugs was less co

    July 21, 2014

  • Dems target women with bills on contraception, pay WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats and Republicans are fervently pursuing a batch of doomed bills in Congress because they target a coveted prize in the Nov. 4 elections: female voters. Wednesday's Senate vote on contraception legislation is the latest exam

    July 17, 2014

  • For US and Europe, divisions over Russia penalties WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States and Europe are seeking to maintain a united front against Russia with coordinated announcements of new economic sanctions, but divisions persist over how aggressive the West should be in punishing Moscow for its th

    July 17, 2014

  • Microsoft to cut up to 18,000 jobs over next year REDMOND, Wash. (AP) — Microsoft is cutting up to 18,000 jobs, about 14 percent of its staff, over the next year as it works on integrating the Nokia devices business it bought in April and cut down on management layers. The news sent shares up 3 perc

    July 17, 2014

Obituaries
Record
Facebook
AP National