2017 Tours, Programs and Events






Return to Freedom hosts photo safaris at our location in Lompoc, California on 300 acres and at our satellite on 2,000 rolling acres in San Luis Obispo California.

RTF Photo Safaris are scheduled by appointment and are led either by RTF volunteers and/or professional photographers who know the sanctuary, the herds and the light.

To schedule a personalized Photo Safari either in Lompoc or in San Luis Obispo, a minimum of 4 guests is needed. Email programs@returntofreedom.org with your preferred dates or call us at 805-737-9246.







Chief and mares. Sulphur Springs herd at RTF by Kate Lloyd

Chief and mares. Sulphur Springs herd at RTF by Kate Lloyd

On 300 acres photographers are able to experience diverse herds of the American Mustang.

Horses that look as though they have literally stepped off the pages of a history book like; the 100% pure in strain Tribal strain Choctaw Ponies, Descendants of Padres Kino’s Spanish Mission horses, the Iberian Sorraia type Sulphur Springs herd and the rarely found Cerbat Spanish mustang. Then, in the hills descendants of cavalry and ranch horses  from the Great Basin and other rugged areas on Western Public lands. The sanctuary is also home to wild burros who live in the romantic oak forest.

Minimum suggested donation $200 per person, minimum 4 participants. Call us at 805-737-9246 or email programs@returntofreedom.org with your preferred dates.










On 2,000 acres of horse heaven in Central Coastal California, 70 wild horses and 16 burros roam free. Safaris last 3 hours and can be scheduled for early morning or late afternoon. Picnic basket with healthy snacks and light meal provided – end your Photo Safari with a pre-arranged picnic lunch or dinner in the hills with mountain top views to the sea! Minimum Suggested donation $350 per person, minimum 4 participants. By special arrangement. Email programs@returntofreedom.org with your preferred dates or call us at 805-737-9246.



 **Special July 15, 2017 Photo Safari with Tony Stromberg
Renowned equine photographer Tony Stromberg will host a special photo safari at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 15th. Join Tony at our 2,000-acre satellite sanctuary in San Luis Obispo County, home to 72 wild horses and 16 burros living on green rolling hills with views of the Pacific. Participation will be limited to just 10 people, so sign up today! Minimum suggested donation is $500 per person and includes a light picnic lunch. Directions will be given to attendees after registration.







hiking in herds

Join us on the last Saturday of each month May – August for docent led sanctuary tours.*

This is a docent guided walking tour of the sanctuary with some time for quiet herd observation along the way. Meet some of the mustangs that live here and represent a vital link to the history of the horse in North America. Learn about the horse as a native species with it’s origins in America, their dispersal throughout the world and their return to their home continent as it is interwoven with our cultural heritage. Learn more about the challenges they face to survive and how you can get involved! Light refreshments provided. Recommended minimum age is 8 yrs. Suggested minimum donation $50 per adult, $15 for children under 12. TIME: 3:00-6:00 pm. Note: This is an introductory tour.

To register email programs@returntofreedom.org or call us at 805-737-9246.

* The last public sanctuary tour of the 2017 season was held on Saturday, August 26. No additional public sanctuary tours will be scheduled during 2017. Please check back for our 2018 schedule.








Clearing thistle, photo: Angela Kelly

Clearing thistle, photo: Angela Kelly

The last Saturday of every month, join us as we push up our sleeves and tackle various projects around the ranch. End the day with a tour and some quiet herd observation in the hills! Bring your own lunch. Light refreshments provided, 10 am-3pm. Join the Tour from 3:00-6:00 pm.  

Please join us for Volunteer Day activities on October 28, November 25, and December 30.

Click here to sign up!

*San Luis Obispo Location: Let us know if you are available to help us at our 2,000 acre satellite sanctuary in San Luis Obispo. Water trough cleaning and thistle eradication projects are underway. By special arrangement.

Recommended minimum age is 8 yrs. Join our volunteer email list to receive volunteer updates. Let us know if you would like to volunteer for fundraisers or tabling events!










DSC_0182June 10, 2017:  A very special day at the sanctuary. Come along with your younger children and /or teens to help out at the sanctuary for the day.

Learn from RTF staff and volunteers ! See what it takes to run a wild horse sanctuary: feeding, manure scooping, groom a tame burro or horse, and more. End the day venturing out to see the ranch on a hay ride and stop to watch wild horse herds. Participate in  a Native American Blessing of the herds. Meet Spirit and other Mustang ambassadors!

RTF_May3 Event_20140503_560 Lunch, Light refreshments and snacks provided. 10 am-4 pm. Suggested minimum donation $65 per child/adult pair, $20 for each additional child or adult (a friend, additional parent, or a sibling) – This program sells out every year, so please sign up in advance! 












Beginning to Advanced Photographers. Join Tony Stromberg for a 5-day equine photography workshop that will take place at Return to Freedom’s Wild Horse Sanctuary in Central Coastal California. 

Return to Freedom, now with 2 locations in Central Coastal California, is home to over 500 rare and beautiful mustangs from all over the US.

“We have done this workshop successfully for 9 years now, and it continues to be one of my favorite places to photograph my favorite subject… almost to the point that it feels like a second home to me.” said Tony Stromberg.

Tony will share a lifetime of experience and insights, the specific techniques and processes he has learned throughout his life, and his unique philosophy about what goes into creating an image that is evocative, moving and captivating… an image that has depth and soul, and is not just a “snapshot”. –An image that carries a message to the heart.

Please note that a considerable percentage of the workshop fee will go to support the sanctuary and its educational programs, and to support the foundations that are trying very hard to preserve an American icon, against a tremendous amount of opposition. This is why we continue to do this workshop every year, because we are passionate about this cause, and we want to help the horses and the amazing people who devote their lives to helping them.

Click here to reserve your space!



The Carolyn Resnick Method facilitated by clinician Linda Salinas

Linda Salinas is both a skilled clinician and a dynamic instructor who seeks to empower her students while ensuring the integrity of the horse.  Linda is a gifted teacher who feels that as we open our hearts and minds, horses in their infinite wisdom can assist us in our journey toward self-realization.  Linda is a certified instructor in the Carolyn Resnick Method of natural horsemanship.  She travels worldwide to share The Waterhole Rituals which were developed through Resnick’s observation of horses in the wild.  The rituals provide a means by which we can bond and communicate with horses without the use of tack, force, or restraint in a free environment.


Cindy and Horse Picture

Reiki is a natural healing technique taught in hospitals and colleges across the country and around the world. It is beneficial to people, animals, plants and Earth. Reiki accelerates healing, alleviates pain and reduces stress. Reiki is a powerful tool for both personal and spiritual development.

Level I ~ learn the history of Reiki, the universal laws of healing/energy work, learn how to scan the body for energy blocks and you’ll also learn a form of applied kinesiology (muscle testing). You will learn how to utilize Reiki in the healing of yourself and others.

Level II ~ this level is only available to those that are already certified to Level I. It enhances your ability to send distance or absentee healing; in the present, into your past and to your future. We will practice what you learned in Level I, you’ll learn your symbols and how to use them. We will spend time sending distance healing and at the end of the day we will work on a few horses at RTF.

Manuals are included in both classes, which will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

Cindy Rackley offers readings for people and animals. She is a Reiki Master/Teacher, Coach, and Healer. Her work incorporates many forms of Energy Medicine, applied Kinesiology, Vibrational Medicines, such as Homeopathy, Flower Essences, and Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils. She works with people, animals, and organizations in the United States, Canada, and Europe.

Cost is $175 for Level I, $200 for Level II, $375 for both days. Class size is limited. Participants should dress comfortably and bring a potluck dish to share. Also bring closed toed shoes for the end of the Level II day, as participants will be spending time with horses.

Click here to register by contacting Cindy directly.





_DSC9871All Return to Freedom volunteers and supporters are invited to join us on December 9th, from 2-5pm. Raise a glass of holiday cheer, eat tasty treats and visit our gift shop just in time for holiday shopping!






Private Tours & Retreats

Private tours and Retreats are arranged on an individual basis. They can be scheduled on weekdays or weekends when there are no other scheduled events or activities at the ranch. The cost for large group tours and retreats are based on a sliding scale, and vary with each group.

Please contact us at programs@returntofreedom.org for schedules, fees and other information. We look forward to make your retreat or tour a memorable and special event.

Note: Prices listed below are for tours during the months of May 2017 through August 2017. For off-season tour inquiries (September 2017 through May 2018), please contact programs@returntofreedom.org

Private Individual or Group Tours

Our most popular tour! Schedule your own private group tour, a combination of an informative Living History Sanctuary Tour with some time for sensitive herd observation. Spend 2 1/2 hours experiencing a vital link to our living history: America’s wild horses! Learn about the origins of the horse in America, how they shaped American cultures, what they face in the world today and what we are doing to preserve them. This can be a light walking tour to view the sanctuary and visit our ambassador horses and some time to quietly view the herds in the hills.  For those who want a more vigorous hike or more time in quiet observation; custom tours available by request. Light refreshments provided. Suggested minimum donation $150 per adult; $20 for children under 12. Scheduled by appointment only (Mondays-Saturdays) and subject to staff availability. Contact programs@returntofreedom.org.

Large Group Tours

Schedule a private tour for 20 or more! Great for school field trip, Senior group tours, birthdays, clubs, youth group, Pony Club outing, Girl Scouts, equine club or church group! Bring a bag lunch and spread out a picnic blanket near the pagoda after the tour. Light refreshments provided. Suggested minimum donation is $50 per person but varies by tour type and amount of guests. For a quote contact: programs@returntofreedom.org. Scheduled by appointment only and subject to staff availability.

Private Wild Horse Herd Observation
Interested in studying wild horse natural behavior and viewing wild horses out in the hills? Schedule a private Wild Horse Hike where we will spend 2- 3 hours in the late afternoon to early evening quietly immersing ourselves in wild horse herds. This hike can be moderate to strenuous on uneven, steep terrain, although your guide will take the physical fitness level and ability of all guests into consideration when deciding on the route. Light refreshments provided. Suggested minimum donation $150 per adult; $50 for children aged 12-16. Scheduled by appointment only (Mondays-Saturdays) and subject to staff availability. If your party would like to end the day with a light catered meal from a local restaurant, this can be arranged for an added fee. Contact programs@returntofreedom.org

Private Photo Safaris
In addition to our scheduled Photo Safaris, private Photo Safaris can be arranged upon request. Whether you and your amateur photo club want to photograph colorful wild horses in a serene setting or if you’re a professional photographer looking to expand your fine arts portfolio, this tour is the one for you! One of our experienced guides will spend up to 3 hours with you and your group out in the hills. Suggested minimum donation $300 per person for tours with 1-5 guests; $200 per person for groups 5-10. Information for larger tours available by request. Special restrictions on photo use may apply; contact programs@returntofreedom.org to view our photography waiver. Scheduled by appointment only (Mondays-Saturdays), and subject to staff availability.

Evening Herd Observation & Firelight Dinner (full moon evenings can be magical!)
A meditative and reflective journey into the world of wild horses. These intimate evenings are hosted by Return to Freedom Founder Neda DeMayo, sharing her unique insight and understanding of wild herds. Special guests and staff may join to add their expertise. Once in the hills, our time will be reserved for quiet observation of the herds. At dusk we will gather around the campfire for a light dinner, wine, storytelling, music, and discussion. Hiking level is moderate to strenuous on uneven, steep terrain. Not recommended for children under 12. Hiking boots, light jacket, and a reusable water bottle recommended for the hike. By special arrangement only, with a minimum of four people. Suggested minimum donation $300 per person. 4pm-9pm. Contact programs@returntofreedom.org

Journeys With Wild Horses™
This is for the individual who wants to immerse him or herself into the language and community of wild horses through exposure to their habitat and family bands. Guests experience direct learning through observation and self-discovery in nature’s classroom. Minimum of 4 participants required. We will create an intimate educational experience. Beverages and snacks provided. Reservations required well in advance. Participants must arrange their own accommodation. Suggested minimum donation $1000 for 3 days. Contact programs@returntofreedom.org

Return to Freedom ranch is the perfect venue for your group’s next retreat!

Located in the California hills, about 2 ½ hours north of Los Angeles, we make Return to Freedom Wild Horse Sanctuary available on a limited basis to a variety of organizations for 1- or 2-day group functions and retreats. Groups enjoy a unique opportunity to come together in a sanctuary that opens the heart and magic of the natural world.

Features and Amenities
Return to Freedom’s American Wild Horse Sanctuary is a 310-acre ranch offering quiet, outdoor settings for meetings, programs and a variety of group and solitary activities.

Consider a walking meditation through herds of wild horses. Or, while enjoying our grounds, climb a magical tree house in our 60-acre oak forest—a perfect spot for contemplation, meditation, yoga or special times with your groups.

And we are only 10 miles from one of the most beautiful beaches in south-central California. Enjoy a morning swim or walk on the beach. With breathtaking cliffs and pounding surf, it’s one that you’ll remember for years to come.

To compliment your stay, additional amenities are also available. These may include massage, yoga instruction, and herbalist walks.

You have a choice of accommodations for your group. Some groups prefer to camp out on the hills and spend the entire time in the beauty of our Sanctuary. For those who choose not to “rough it,” there are a variety of accomodations in nearby Lompoc that range from moderate to business class and world class resorts within 45-50 minutes. When you call to set up your retreat, we can put you in touch with the accommodation of your choice.