Wildish Podcast: When a horse goes ‘home’

Episode Six: In Montana, two ranchers adopted ‘Delilah.’ They’re among the growing number of people actually getting paid to adopt wild horses and burros.


From High Country News in collaboration with Alan Wartes Media, Wildish is a six-part podcast series that chronicles the complicated world of wild horse management in the Western United States. Wildish is meant to confound you. It does not offer a simple solution to one of the region’s most intractable natural resource conundrums. It is a serial on humans. You’ll hear from the activists who ache for freedom — for the wild horse to be wild — and from those who flinch at the mythology attached to the species. You’ll also get to know some of the well-meaning people inside the Bureau of Land Management, the agency stuck in the middle, faced with balancing the horse as a relic of the Wild West with its undeniable impacts on the modern Western landscape.

Episode Six

In this final episode of the Wildish mini-series, host Anna Coburn speaks to two Montana ranchers who adopted a wild horse named Delilah from the Bureau of Land Management adoption incentive program. Ashlin O’Connell and Barbara Armstrong were paid $1,000 to adopt Delilah. Their participation — and the participation of others like them — has become key to keeping horses and burros out of long-term holding facilities. Anna also speaks with Dianne Nelson, the co-founder of California’s first wild horse and burro sanctuary, where horses and burros can live with very little interaction with humans.

Anna Coburn is a producer and seasonal interpretive ranger at Curecanti National Recreation Area. She is based in Gunnison, Colorado. Email High Country News at [email protected] or submit a letter to the editor.

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