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356 Unbroken Spirit: The Fight To Save American Wild Horses with Scott Wilson of American Wild Horse Conservation

Thursday 23rd May 2024
FYD EPISODE 356 Scott Wilson

Here at Christopher Lochhead: Follow Your Different, we’ve had the privilege of engaging in conversations that are not just thought-provoking, but also deeply impactful. On this episode, we sit down with Scott Wilson, the passionate co-founder of American Wild Horse Conservation, to discuss a topic close to both our hearts: the plight of America’s wild horses and the ongoing efforts to preserve and protect these magnificent creatures.

Scott Wilson is a renowned Colorado Nature Photographer and Communications Leader, whose journey took an unexpected turn when he discovered the plight of America’s wild horses. Scott became captivated by the freedom and majesty of the wild horses roaming the western United States. His realization that these iconic animals were facing threats to their survival inspired him to take action and co-found American Wild Horse Conservation. This non-profit organization is dedicated to preserving and protecting wild horses, which have played a pivotal role in the nation’s history and ecology.

This captivating conversation illuminates the plight of these majestic creatures, and the tireless efforts to secure their freedom and ensure their survival.

You’re listening to Christopher Lochhead: Follow Your Different. We are the real dialogue podcast for people with a different mind. So get your mind in a different place, and hey ho, let’s go.

Scott Wilson on the Historical Tapestry of America’s Wild Horses

The history of wild horses in the United States is as rich and complex as the country itself. Scott Wilson shares that there are approximately 65,000 wild horses roaming free across ten states in the western United States.

It’s also a little-known fact that all the world’s horses have their origins in North America, and they were reintroduced in the 1500s. These animals are not just a part of the natural ecology but are woven into the very tapestry of our nation’s history.

In 1971, the Wild Horse and Burro Protection Act was a promise made to these animals—a promise that we are duty-bound to uphold. As we delved into the significance of wild horses, it became clear that they are not just symbols of the wild but are key players in the ecological balance of our public lands.

WILD BLUE ROAN 2 Scott Wilson

Wild Blue Roan by Scott Wilson of the American Wild Horse Conservation

Scott Wilson on the Struggle for Space and Survival

Given these facts, it was unsettling to learn that wild horses are allocated a mere 2% of public lands. Contrary to popular belief, these horses are not in competition for building or economic development. In fact, only 1% of the nation’s beef is produced on these lands, debunking the myth that wild horses pose a significant threat to our economy.

However, the challenges they face are real and pressing. Competition with livestock, encroachment by oil and gas businesses, and government policies that often do more harm than good are just a few of the hurdles wild horses must overcome to survive.

Wild Pinto Stallion Picasso Scott Wilson

Wild Pinto Stallion Picasso by Scott Wilson of the American Wild Horse Conservation

Nevada: The Heartland of Wild Horses

It’s a surprising fact that roughly half of the wild horse population in the US is concentrated in Nevada. This distribution has significant implications for conservation efforts and the management of these animals.

That being said, Scott Wilson’s initiative to buy back land and expand the habitat for wild horses is a beacon of hope. The acquisition of 3500 acres in Nevada and the establishment of a land trust are steps toward ensuring that wild horses and other wildlife can coexist peacefully.

To hear more from Scott Wilson and how American Wild Horse Conservation help protect these majestic creatures, download and listen to the episode.

Freedom Scott Wilson

Freedom by Scott Wilson of the American Wild Horse Conservation


A brand-builder and landscape photographer of twenty years, Scott Wilson found his conservation voice after a prolonged battle with stage 4 colon cancer refocused his lens on Colorado’s wildlife, leading to the life-changing discovery of a remote and mesmerizing herd of wild horses in Sand Wash Basin, on the border with Wyoming.

While an early photographic encounter with a wild tricolored pinto mustang named Picasso helped change the focus of Scott’s career as an artist, it was an impending federal roundup, threatening the very survival of the herd, that unlocked his voice as an advocate, and he has since campaigned for better outcomes for wild horses, behind and in front of the lens, both as a spokesperson and strategist for American Wild Horse Conservation, the nation’s leading wild horse conservation NGO.

Anger Management, a statement piece about the conservation challenges facing wild horses in the American west, earned Open Photographer of the Year and Natural World and Wildlife Awards in the 2022 Sony World Photography Awards, raising awareness of wild horse issues in more than 140 countries.

Scott is a contributor to We Animals Media, the world’s largest animal photojournalism agency, and his PhotoAdvocacy work has featured in local, national and international media, including the BBC, Daily Telegraph, Nat Geo España, GQ Italia, Advanced Photographer, Denver Post, 5280, 303, Westword and Colorado Life Magazine.

Scott operates Colorado’s Wild Horse Art Gallery within Gallery 6 – voted Westword Denver’s Best Photography Gallery in 2023 – in the heart of Denver’s Art District, where he also serves as Art District President.


Connect with Scott Wilson

American Wild Horse Conservation | Instagram | Facebook

Check out more images of these majestic wild horses at the Photo Advocacy website & their Instagram!

We hope you enjoyed this episode of Christopher Lochhead: Follow Your Different™! Christopher loves hearing from his listeners. Feel free to email him, connect on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and subscribe on Apple Podcast / Spotify!