A leader in the fight to save wild horses, Barbara Clarke, has died, Nov. 30, 2016

/ Featured, In The News, Neda’s Blog

A champion for horses: DreamCatcher Wild Horse & Burro Sanctuary co-founder and Managing Director Barbara Clarke. Courtesy photo.


Return to Freedom is deeply saddened to learn of the death of Barbara Clarke, co-founder and managing director of DreamCatcher Wild Horses & Burro Sanctuary, on Nov. 22.

Clarke was a kindred spirit to RTF. She shared our belief in the value of creating humane sanctuaries both as a safe haven for wild horses and as places where the public could learn about the ongoing effort to preserve America’s iconic wild horses on the range.

“Return to Freedom is forever grateful to Barbara Clarke and DreamCatcher for providing a pasture for 71 mares captured during the tragic 2010 Calico Complex roundup,” said RTF President Neda DeMayo. “Barbara and DreamCatcher stepped up to help RTF  when no one else would and we had no place for those horses to land. Her compassion, collaborative spirit and keen intelligence will be missed.”

The RTF team’s thoughts are with Barbara’s loved ones and our fellow advocates at DreamCatcher working to preserve her legacy.

PLEASE … make a generous contribution to DreamCatcher ~ Click Here To Get To Their Website…

Read the full press release from DreamCatcher:



Wild horses at DreamCatcher Wild Horse and Burro Sanctuary. Courtesy photo.

Sacramento, CA, (Nov. 28, 2016) – With heavy hearts, the Board of Directors of the DreamCatcher Wild Horse & Burro Sanctuary announce the passing of visionary leader, co-founder and Managing Director, Barbara Clarke, on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016. With her inimitable spirit, she fought long and hard against serious illnesses over the last few years, but lost those battles and left us for greener pastures. She will be sorely missed by the wild horses and burros in her care and by all of her colleagues and friends throughout California and the nation.

After leaving a successful career in the high tech world, Barbara became Director of Redwings Sanctuary in Monterey County in the 90’s. She wrote and had published numerous articles on the meaning of sanctuary in a technological society, winning the prestigious San Jose Mercury News Silver Pen award. She was named one of nine influential women in animal welfare by Town and County magazine, was featured in the 2002 International Animal World Encyclopedia, and was on the Board of Directors of The Association of Sanctuaries. There she helped develop standards of care for wild and domestic horses and sanctuary business ethics.

Barbara moved to the 2,000-acre Lassen County ranch where DreamCatcher is presently located in 2003, fulfilling the vision and mission to create a natural and stimulating environment for wild (and a few domestic) equines. Her goal was to allow mustangs to rediscover their freedom and independence and to let the public experience what would be lost if roundups and adoptions continue. The sanctuary is home to more than 250 wild horses and 35 wild burros.

The Board and the Advisory Board of the sanctuary have rolled up their sleeves and are committed to taking all the necessary steps to keep Barbara’s vision and mission for DreamCatcher alive and well long into the future. These steps include stocking up on feed for the Winter, tending to all the administrative and ranch duties of the operation and beginning the search for a new Managing Director of the sanctuary.

The 300+ horses and burros in the sanctuary’s care are counting on the Board and, in turn, the Board is counting on and would be most grateful for the general public to help support the sanctuary during this important transition time. Tax-deductible donations in Barbara’s memory can be made at: http://www.dreamcatcherhorsesanctuary.org/

“Barbara was an incredible human being. She was thoroughly professional and at the same time a humble woman with an ambitious vision for how to create sanctuary for horses, burros and all forms of animal life. Barbara overcame obstacles that would have stopped most of us in our tracks and dedicated her entire life and all of her personal resources to DreamCatcher and the equine herds that
call it home.” — Robert Marsh, Director

“DreamCatcher began with the idea of a place where wild horses and burros could once again live free in a natural environment. Barbara kept the dream alive. Now with your help we can, too.” —Deborah Ellsworth, Director and Co-Founder