Feral horse management is a complex social issue. Committed and active stakeholders hold strong beliefs regarding both the level of culling needed and humane approaches to control. Ecological evidence supporting control and expert advice on ethical culling can, in such contexts, have limited effect in policy development and application. Given this complexity, social scientists have an important role to play in developing longer term solutions. Three possible approaches are evident: the use of knowledge exchange and boundary spanning expertise; the proactive development of publicly available evidence-informed narratives; and the development of influence and leadership at the science–policy interface. Social scientists, ecologists, managers and policymakers need to work together to develop and implement sound management decisions.