Wyoming Modern Explorers

Jess Oldham

Jess Oldham

Wildlife rescuer & Rancher

When you imagine the American West, you imagine rugged landscapes and the horses the region’s first peoples relied on to explore them. Today, Wyoming’s wild horses have an ally in the Wind River Wild Horse Sanctuary, managed by Jess Oldham and his family. “We just give them space and let them be,” he says, “But that ends up supporting the entire ecosystem.”

Even today, with ATVs and trucks, to get most work done on the ranch “you have to be able to trust the horse. And the horse has to be able to trust you,” says Jess Oldham. Your commute might not involve natural horsepower, but in Wyoming you can still experience what it’s like to step into the stirrups. Here’s where you can saddle up in the Cowboy State.

Wyoming’s wild horses are just one of the species that benefit from the hard work families like the Oldhams and countless others do across the state to conserve its free-ranging wildlife. And with more than 98,000 square miles of terrain, there’s plenty of chances for you to catch a glimpse (from a safe distance) of bison, elk and more.

The Wind River Wild Horse Sanctuary is situated just outside Lander, WY, and if it’s adventure you’re after, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better place to set up basecamp. Known as the place “where the rails end and the trails begin,” this is a town where Western history meets all the outdoor thrill you can handle.