Have you ever been curious how the tradition of ranching got its start? Ranches occupy a singular place in the American imagination, from the spectacular, wide-open vistas of “big sky country” and Wyoming’s “wild west” to the riveting tales of frontier life that inspired the great Hollywood Westerns. Iconic though it may be in the United States, the tradition of ranching actually developed in 15th-century Spain. During the Reconquista, the Kingdom of Castile gifted members of the Spanish nobility with large tracts of land in the southern regions of Andalucia, Castilla-La Mancha, and Extremadura to help solidify its rule over these formerly Moorish territories. Faced with the task of managing these large estates in a relatively dry climate with hungry herds of sheep and cows in need of a vast grazing area, the new landed gentry turned to horse-mounted livestock herders to corral their flocks, and vaqueros were born. In English, these wranglers would come to be called “cowboys”.

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With the Spanish colonization of parts of North and South America, the ranching tradition spread to the New World and became a way of life in large parts of the American West. Ranch houses hold an undeniable appeal, whether they’re connected to an active ranch or simply a beautiful estate in a secluded valley ringed by mountains. Even with every imaginable modern convenience, life on a ranch seems rugged and adventurous, and one can’t help but feel a sense of awe at the beauty of unspoiled land and majestic animals right outside the front door. Discover your ranch life. 

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