Return To Freedom

Return to Freedom (RTF) Wild Horse Preservation and Sanctuary 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.
RTF, founded in 1997 by Neda DeMayo, operates a 300-acre ranch in California owned by the DeMayo family and cares for nearly 400 horses.

Executive Board

Neda DeMayo
Neda DeMayo Founder/President
Neda has had a lifelong interest in animals, especially horses, and has provided care and rescue for horses and animals throughout her life. At 9 years old, a young activist in the making, Neda and her sister Diana rode their horses to Burger King in protest of horse meat in hamburgers, while their mother Stella advocated against horse slaughter on the local news!

She has held the vision of establishing a sanctuary for animals since childhood, and in 1997 she took steps to realize that dream. Neda is also recognized as an expert in horse behavior and non-invasive horse handling methods. She has innovated Journey’s with Wild Horses, herd immersion experiences and has conducted numerous clinics and classes. Her background in the healing and creative arts took her all over the world exposing her to many cultures. Before launching Return to Freedom Wild Horse Sanctuary (RTF), she worked theater and film.

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Jack Carone
Jack CaroneVice President
Jack joins RTF with a broad background in animal rights and protection. He was Co-Director and Media Spokesman for Los Angeles-based Last Chance for Animals (LCA) and now serves on its Board of Directors. Jack has also been Special Projects Director and a contributing writer for The Animals Voice Magazine. He spent 8 years as the Volunteer Coordinator and Park and Operations Manager for Tree People in Coldwater Canyon Park, a 44-acre rustic wilderness preserve in the Santa Monica Mountains. Before devoting himself to animal issues, Jack also had a career in the music and entertainment industries.

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Karen Descamps
Karen DescampsAdministrative Assistant
Karen worked on horse ranches and farms in her younger years. As an adult she enjoyed a long career in banking. A few years ago, Karen began her relationship with Return to Freedom as an office volunteer.

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Kelsey Santini
Kelsey SantiniProgram & Volunteer Coordinator
Growing up in California’s Bay Area, Kelsey competed extensively on the Hunter/Jumper circuit throughout her formative riding years, but also took time to learn strong foundations in natural horsemanship. In her 15 years of involvement in the horse world, Kelsey has spent time training in dressage, jumping, trail, eventing, reining and cutting.

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Connie Weinsoff
Connie WeinsoffDirector of Education and Programs
Connie brings to Return to Freedom a long history of non-profit management experience, along with equine experience from Hearts Therapeutic Equestrian Center in Santa Barbara, CA, where she was the Program Director and a certified therapeutic riding instructor for over 17 years.

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Merced TagleRanch Hand
Merced has been with Return to Freedom for more than a decade. He is a first-class and highly professional asset to our team, as well as a gentle spirit that all animals respond to. We consider Merced to be the heart-and-soul of the day-to-day operation of the ranch.
Alex GarciaRanch Hand
Alex is the youngest member of our staff and has been a valuable asset to Return to Freedom for more than three years. He has learned a great deal from his mentor, Merced, and we consider him a super team player because of it. That, and he’s a joy to be around because he always has a smile on his face!
Paulun TagleRanch Hand
Paulun is Merced’s brother; together they are a dynamite team. Like his brother, Paulun has been with Return to Freedom for more than ten years. They both intimately know the ins-and-outs of the ranch’s daily operations.
Lisa Lorden
Lisa LordenAdministration & Finance
Jill Anderson
Jill AndersonSpecial Projects - contractor
Jill is a Michigan native who graduated from the University of Michigan, Dearborn with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science. During her time in college, Jill worked directing field operations for political campaigns, interned for the Arab American Institute and travelled extensively through Europe and the Middle East. After 11 years as an integral part of Return to Freedom staff, from Development Director to Director of Internal Operations, Jill has successfully launched “Shadow’s Fund” , a rescue for senior and hard to place dogs. Jill remains part of the Return to Freedom family, supporting the CEO on various projects and research.
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