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Wild Horses

  • As the Mustang series comes to an end, host Ashley Ahearn looks at the complicated relationship between ranchers and wild horses and meets an indigenous woman working to save reservation horses from being sold for slaughter.
  • Dr. Yvette Running Horse Collin is a Lakota scientist who studies the history of Native Americans and horses. Through her research, she is challenging the dominant narrative that horses went extinct on this continent in the last ice age and did not reappear until European explorers came to the New World. Ashley joins Dr. Running Horse Collin on her ancestral lands in the Black Hills of South Dakota during the time of the Sundance Ceremony. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Boo and Ashley nap in the sun and reflect on trust and love and adventures to come.
  • Ashley Ahearn takes a look at the impact that wild horses have on other wildlife and gets to know her own adopted horse.
  • Mustang genes are like those of our country: mixed and mingled, influenced by wave after wave of immigration. Mainstream science tells us the modern-day mustang is descended from horses brought over by the Conquistadors, who used them to subjugate the Indigenous peoples of Central America. But what if the horse wasn’t introduced by newcomers, but was here all along, living alongside the Indigenous peoples of North America? Meanwhile, back at the ranch, while Boo eats his breakfast one morning, Ashley plucks some of his mane to send off to a genetics lab to find out what Boo’s genes can tell us about the history of wild horses.
  • The West has tens of thousands of wild horses. And sometimes it seems there are almost as many opinions on what to do with them.
  • Stefanie Skidmore runs Wild Horse Outreach and Advocacy, a nonprofit where she trains and rehomes troubled mustangs. She believes even the toughest mustangs can have productive, good lives in captivity, but we have to approach them with the same patience and empathy we strive to show our fellow humans. Stefanie is on the autism spectrum and says her unique brain gives her a special connection with wild horses who are learning to navigate the world of humans. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Ashley has her own training struggles with Boo when he bites her and drags her during a session.
  • Journalist Ashley Ahearn gave up the city life when she and her husband moved to the rural sagebrush country of Washington state. And things took a significant turn when she opted to adopt a wild mustang named Boo.
  • For some ranchers, mustangs are seen as trash horses that litter the range, taking much-needed grass from cattle and destroying expensive fencing and water infrastructure. Ashley heads to Winnemucca, Nevada to talk to a fifth-generation rancher who runs his cows in wild horse country. But unlike many ranchers, Will DeLong doesn’t want the wild horses gone – they’re entwined with his family’s history – he just wants them better managed. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Boo bucks Ashley off and she gets teased about it by the cowboys at the local bar.
  • Allison Burke has four mustangs at her place on the reservation of the Spokane Tribe of Indians in Northeastern Washington. All four are from Native American reservations in the Northwest.
  • I remember the first time my mustang, Boo, bucked me off. We were riding along through the sagebrush following a cowboy friend of mine, Dave Johnston. I wouldn’t let Boo put his head down to munch the spring grass so he threw a temper tantrum. I stayed on for maybe four or five good bucks but then he dumped me.