New Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke Arrives on Horseback


Maybe Ryan Zinke wanted to make sure everyone knew that he was from Montana.

Zinke is the new Secretary of the Interior and today, March 2, was his first day on the job. Surrounded by the suits and ties of Washington, D.C., he showed up on horseback, outfitted in jeans and a cowboy hat.

The Billings Gazette reports that the horse Secretary Zinke rode in on is a 17-year-old, 17-hand Irish Sport Horse named Tonto. He was accompanied by nine U.S. Park Police officers. The U.S. Park Police department has a stable on the National Mall.

Secretary Zinke’s unusual arrival certainly brought him some media attention today, but he’ll have responsibilities ahead of him that riders and horse enthusiasts will be watching closely. The fate and future of National Parks, public lands, and wild horse habitats fall under the Department of the Interior.

In his first day on the job, Secretary Zinke issued two secretarial orders focused on hunters and anglers. The first overturns the Use of Nontoxic Ammunition and Fishing Tackle order, which had banned lead bullets and fish tackle on Fish and Wildlife Service lands. The second prioritizes expanding access to hunting and fishing opportunities.

How he’ll manage the concerns of both trail riders and wild horse advocates remains to be seen.

Leslie Potter is a writer and photographer based in Lexington, Kentucky.

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Leslie Potter is a graduate of William Woods University where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Equestrian Science with a concentration in saddle seat riding and a minor in Journalism/Mass Communications. She is currently a writer and photographer in Lexington, Ky.Potter worked as a barn manager and riding instructor and was a freelance reporter and photographer for the Horsemen's Yankee Pedlar and Saddle Horse Report before moving to Lexington to join Horse Illustrated as Web Editor from 2008 to 2019. Her current equestrian pursuits include being a grown-up lesson kid at an eventing barn and trail riding with her senior Morgan gelding, Snoopy.


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