Backcountry Horsemen of Utah

A non-profit organization that welcomes riders of all types, ages and interests.


Nancy McKay is a city-slicker who developed a love for horses later on. She was raised in the city, but her parents were raised on ranches and farms. “We loved to go to their farms,” Nancy remembers.

As she and her three siblings grew up, something drew them all back to their ranching roots. First, her brother-in-law bought a horse, then her brother bought a horse, and finally she caved in as well. Horses have such a mystical nature that is, frankly, intoxicating. Soon, she was riding so much alongside her siblings, she started hunting for more riding buddies and more riding trails so that she could go out more often.

That’s how she happened upon Backcountry Horsemen. There, she was impressed with the young bucks and old cowboys in the organization. All of her new friends showed her new and more technical trails, how to camp with a horse, and even how to pick a horse when it came time to buy more. She hadn’t even been riding for five years, and now she had friends helping her pack to camp with her horse.

“The friendships extend into our personal lives,” Nancy said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a hardcore horse owner or a newbie, you’re all spending time around the campfire, watching out for each other in the wilderness, and you’re all friends.”

But Backcountry Horsemen is more than just a riding club. They’re the organization behind public trails for horse riders, bikers, and hikers alike. Horses were the first to clear the paths along the Wasatch Front, and now horses are still performing the maintenance.

“Our country was built on the backs of horses,” Nancy said. “If man didn’t have horses, we wouldn’t have anything. In fact, if you ever find yourself on a trail that features a bridge”, she says “I can almost guarantee those were brought up by pack horses.”

Now, 10 years after her first ride with Backcountry Horsemen members, Nancy has found herself as president of the Wasatch chapter. She’s served as chapter treasurer and even state treasurer for the nonprofit. “It’s not something we just do for fun,” she said. “It’s a valid purpose and a needed purpose.”

Sign up now by finding “BCHU Youth Camp” even on Facebook. There, you will find the application. Just bring your horse, some light supplies, and they’ll teach you the rest. If you have any questions, email Linda Price at

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