Wildish Podcast: Why wild horses pull on our heartstrings

Episode Two: A wild mustang’s spirit stirs human emotion, making the Bureau of Land Management seem callous.


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 Two

Horses and humans evolved together. Much as we do with dogs, we have a special relationship with the species. In this episode, host Anna Coburn speaks to Tracy Scott, co-founder of Steadfast Steeds wild horse sanctuary, about the family dynamics of wild horses on the range. Many advocates support the use of porcine zona pellucida (PZP), a birth control vaccine for mares that is administered with two yearly darts. This is expensive for the Bureau of Land Management, however, so most PZP darters are volunteers.

 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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