Friday, January 28, 2011

Longhorns in the Mountains

When I head to town to get supplies, I drive by a huge ranch that has always intrigued me - they have Texas Longhorn Cattle - not something you would expect to see in the mountains of North Carolina. On a cold blustery day last weekend after the snow had melted, I stopped to take some photos by the side of the road.

The ranch is Taylor Ranch, a 5th generation privately owned ranch consisting of 500 acres including a 7 acre lake.  They raise Quarter Horses and Longhorn Cattle and as I have found out, rent out their facilities for special events.  I guess when the weather warms up I need to visit them to see more of their compound.

Now about the cattle here - the Texas Longhorns are obviously known for their horns which on a steer can reach 7 feet from tip to tip!  Both cows and bulls (female and male) have horns but the bulls are usually shorter and thicker.  Steers (castrated males) can have the longest horns.  As ferocious as they look, they have gentle dispositions and are intelligent.  Good thing since I was very close to the one near the fence while taking pictures.

The breed seems to have originated by mixing feral Mexican cattle with eastern Texas breeds to create a tough, rangy cow with long horns and legs.  They almost went extinct until 1927 when the US Forest Service collected a small herd to breed  and preserve in an Oklahoma wildlife refuge.  Longhorns are known for their longevity, resistance to disease and ability to thrive in marginal pastures and harsh weather.  They are raised for their lean beef.  So I guess seeing them in North Carolina is not so unexpected after all!

Hope you enjoyed seeing this unusual place on our area and will come back when I do a more in depth post on the whole facility.


Odie Langley said...

They are magnificant creatures. Thanks for the views.

Old Kitty said...

Oh they are beautiful!!!! They're so handsome and beautiful!! I'm taking it that male and female cows have these horns? They're a wonderful sight to see and a great that they've been preserved from extinction!! They're lovely!

Take care

Carolina Mountains said...

Old Kitty - thanks for the question = I had to look it up and answered it in the post. Both sexes have horn it seems.

Everything And Everywhere said...

I like the photos

Anonymous said...

I love the photos! I live in Texas, in fact one of our neighbords raises Longhorns. As you pointed out, in recent years they have gained in popularity because of the leaner beef. I'm also happy for their comeback.


Carletta said...

What a lovely entrance to the ranch!
They do have impressive horns that's for sure.

Carletta's Captures

Anonymous said...

Those sweet faces with the huge horns are adorable!

eileeninmd said...

They are cool looking critters. I love that last shot of the Longhorn and the farmland.

John S. Mead said...

That is uncommon to see Longhorns so far from Texas... here in Texas they are obviously more common, but still not a truly common sight! Thanks for sharing!

Gary said...

Wonderful tour with great photos!! Boom & Gary of The Vermilon River, Canada.

Kay L. Davies said...

Interesting to learn about the Texas Longhorn. I don't think I've ever seen one up close. Good to know they have nice dispositions, in case I ever run into one. LOL
(My verification word is "stier" - almost "steer"!!)
-- K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

chubskulit said...

Beautiful shots especially the one with horns in focus!

Three Horses, have a great weekend!

Shelley Munro said...

I enjoyed your post very much. My father used to breed bulls for the rodeo circuit down here in New Zealand. I'm pretty sure he had a few Texas Longhorn crosses in his herd.
The ones in your photos are magnificient. Very stunning.

Marie said...

They are just wonderful -- I loved your photos and also the information about them since I really didn't know much about their background, etc. There is a park/farm that my kids love that have a very handsome longhorn steer in residence -- he seems to enjoy the attention his huge horns get :-)

Kristy said...

great shots!

Fotobloggen 2011 said...

Nice shots an dthey do really deserve the name :-) always nice to visit the world around

Appalachian Lady said...

I haven't seen those in Virginia. Thanks for sharing your photos.


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