Nothing quite conjures the spirit of the Old West like a cattle drive. Kicked-up dust, stamping hooves and horse-mounted cowboys and cowgirls orchestrating the show hearkens back to a tradition that has spanned generations.
Today, just as families are seeking new space outside the urban jungle, cattle too are in need of new pastures for the winter months. Recently, Sterling Ranch held its second cattle drive, now an annual event in the community, in which cattle made their way from the summer pasture to the splendorous meadows surrounding the community. This highly anticipated event, attended by residents of all ages, was a major success.
Get to know Texas longhorns
In years past, buffalo took on the important job of clearing the pastures at Sterling Ranch. Last year, we hosted our first cattle drive, bringing Angus cattle to graze the land. This fall, a different breed was brought in for the job: Texas longhorn. These majestic beasts represent the Old West. By grazing the long blades, the cattle inherently minimize the wildfire potential in the area, protecting the 1,500-plus beautiful brand-new homes (and their residents!) at Sterling Ranch.
Texas longhorns have a rich history in North America. Introduced in the 1400s by Spanish conquistadors, these clever, multicolored animals sport impressive horns. They lived for centuries as wild herds, fending for themselves and displaying a resourcefulness that left them adapted to a variety of grasses and environments. They are resistant to disease and calve easily, making them desirable to ranchers. Today, Texas longhorns continue to serve a purpose in 21st-century society, whether it is for their field-clearing eating habits, their healthy lean meat or simply their western elegance.
Sterling Ranch cattle drive photos
Benefits of cattle at Sterling Ranch
Before the first house was even built at Sterling Ranch, we developed a robust Prairie Management Plan to ensure the success of our commitment toward stewardship. Cofounder Harold Smethills, a rancher himself, knew cattle would be an important part of this plan. Why? These ruminants offer tremendous value to the land and our community. Here are just a few ways:
Through a system of rotational grazing, cattle provide proactive fire mitigation. No dry grass (aka tinder) means no threat of fire. “Because we can move our cattle from pasture to pasture based on growth, it’s a perfect situation for everybody,” says Matt Clough, self-proclaimed “suburban rancher” and owner of Clough Cattle Company. “If there’s no undergrowth of grass, you have no fire danger. If you manage it right, and manage the grazing right, you should have no problems with fire.” Matt’s cattle, including the newly arrived Texas longhorns, are crucial to keeping Sterling Ranch safe from wildfires.
What happens to all that grass the cattle devour? It becomes fertilizer, of course! This natural approach to soil amendment improves the earth season after season. Not to be outdone, the cattle’s hooves aerate that ground, further enhancing the soil. Healthy pastures invite wildlife, resulting in a vibrant ecosystem for plants, animals and humans alike.
Not many suburban communities have the benefit of witnessing gentle beasts scattered along the horizon, but Sterling Ranch residents do! It’s just another aspect that makes our community unique. Families here enjoy seeing the cattle grazing in the fields against a Rocky Mountain backdrop. In spring, spectators delight in watching as calves are born and grow the herd. The bustle of autumn’s cattle drive is likewise a time of excitement.
Sterling Ranch: A new community with an Old West vibe
We are grateful to Clough Cattle Company and the many riders who make the annual cattle drive at Sterling Ranch a success. Here, cattle are an integral part of our Prairie Management Plan and we rely on them to meet our stewardship goals. Ready to join a thoughtful, forward-thinking master-planned community? We invite you to visit us today and discover what makes us unique. We’re confident you’ll like what you find.