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Monthly Archives: October 2012

Today I thought I would share with you one of the stories from Return To Freedom’s website. Beautifully written by RTF to share what is going on in America with our wild horses. Thank you RTF for letting me share your story. For those reading my blog please visit Return To Freedom, American Wild Horse Sanctuary’s website @ Read more stories and find out how you can help preserve and protect our wild horses.

Gypsy – Challis mare

In the high ridges and sagebrush basin just outside of Sun Valley Idaho, some 400 wild horses roamed the 154,000 acre Challis Herd Management Area. They lived peacefully along side a diverse species of wildlife including deer, elk, mountain lions, wolves and bear. The Challis herd made their life here. They were born, courted, fought, raised family bands, survived and died for generations under the endless skies… where distant mountain ridges were their only boundaries.

Until 2009 when a helicopter on the horizon would shatter their world forever. A government roundup drove the horses in a frenzy into traps and catch pens. Mothers were separated from their young, family bands were ripped apart, and — though they fought valiantly – stallions lost the mares and young they had protected all these years.

For 19  of the horses who survived the roundup , salvation would come in the form of a group of local women and a photographer who had been documenting the Challis herd for years. Elissa Kline (the photographer), Jodi Herlich and Doro Lohmann adopted 1 stallion and 18 mares – most pregnant – and found a small parcel of land to lease where the mares would be safe and together until a permanent solution could be found.

Return to Freedom provided that solution and has welcomed the Challis horses and their offspring to our California sanctuary. Now numbering 29 with their 3 year old fillies and colts born after capture, the Challis herd arrived at our sanctuary this summer. Here they are resuming life as they once knew it. Though we cannot replace the stallions, family members and herd mates that they lost in the roundup, we can offer them freedom, safety and the comfort of one another.

Please help us continue to rescue displaced wild horses like the Challis herd by sponsoring a horse today. We have several Challis horses in need of a sponsor. Meet Carmela, Nelson and Gypsy and consider helping with a monthly sponsorship to offset the cost of their feed and care. Thank you for your compassion and support.


The beauty of the Lompoc hillsides and valley were only outmatched by the beauty of the wild horses…

Standing in the pasture with the tall grass blowing gently in the wind, the beautiful Lompoc valley spread as far as my eyes could see I witnessed the complete joy of running wild horses as they frolicked in the tall grass. They neighed, their nostrils flared taking in the warm air and the pure unbridled joy of running wild penetrated their very souls. The pounding of the hooves and the wind whipping up around me as they ran by was pure exhileration. One might say it was a religious experience I felt being so close to God’s magnificent creations. For me it was. I will never forget that moment for the rest of my life. I felt these horse’s pure joy as they knew they were safe and loved. They were free again just as God intended them to be.Image

My journey into the amazing world of wild horses started with my first visit to Return To Freedom American Wild Horse Sanctuary in Lompoc, CA. I attended their Opening Day in May 2012 not sure what to expect, yet knowing if there were horses I would enjoy it. They started off our visit showing us a video of what is happening to our wild horses in America. I was shocked, horrified and saddened at the destruction and cruelty our wild horses are experiencing. I had no idea our country gives no rights to these majestic animals. Treated like a disposable commodity, our wild horses are being exterminated. And if not exterminated families are torn apart, sold or shipped off and many left to live their lives out in pens in the desert. Here in America where we support equal rights, protect the innocent and fight for freedom, this was beyond any comprehension I had what these horses are going through. I was forever changed that day at RTF and decided to educate others like I had been and do what I could to help.

That moment in the pastures as Neda DeMayo, the owner of Return To Freedom released the one band of horses into the tall grass I experienced joy, beauty, awakening, power, and freedom as the horses ran past us. An avid photographer I was torn from taking photographs to just being in the moment and taking it all in. Yet, taking photographs enabled me to share with others the beauty of these horses and to start this blog.

I am including part of what is written on RTF’s website page. I hope you will check their website out, and take time to visit them on the ranch. I guarantee your life will be changed forever.

Return To Freedom American Wild Horse Sanctuary


Return to Freedom is dedicated to preserving the freedom, diversity and habitat of America’s wild horses through sanctuary, education and conservation while enriching the human spirit through direct experience with the natural world.


Founded in 1997 by Neda DeMayo and operated on a 300 acre ranch in California owned by the DeMayo family.

Meet Our Founder

One of Neda’s earliest memories of wild horses was watching them being chased and captured on television. “Whether it was a movie or the news I cannot recall, but I will never forget the anguish I felt as a 5 year old child standing by helplessly as these beautiful horses were traumatically captured”. Read More . . .



– Chosen as permanent home for “Spirit” the Kiger mustang stallion that served as muse for the DreamWorks animated film “Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron”

– Recipient of Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network’s Wildlife Sanctuary Award and the American Horse Defense Fund’s Spotlight Rescue Award

– Two time and current recipient of Charity Navigator’s highest rating, the 4 Star Charity rating

– 2011 Charity of the Week in The Week

Join me in protecting our American wild horses. They are are past, our present and only our future if we step in and get involved.