Meet Hondo

Hondo
shadow
Hondo is an eye-catching palomino Sheldon gelding who lives at our main sanctuary within a herd of mostly Sheldon horses. He was born in the wild in 1997, and arrived to Return to Freedom in 2000.

Hondo can be shy at times, but has a very agreeable nature and gets along great with all of his herd mates. He is sweet and trusting with other horses and willing to give humans the benefit of the doubt.

In 2000, Return to Freedom collaborated with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to relocate more than 50 wild horses in their intact family herds from the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge in Nevada. The Refuge is made up of 575,000 acres in the Northeast corner of Nye County, Nevada. Return to Freedom partnered with a contractor who gathered the horses on horseback. Family groups were relocated to the sanctuary together. In 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed all wild horses and burros from the Sheldon Refuge.

Seven stallions arrived at Return to Freedom’s American Wild Horse Sanctuary in Lompoc, Calif., in 2000. Some arrived with mares in harem bands and some as part of a small group of males called a “bachelor band.”

The Sheldon horses are descendants of a combination of draft horses who worked hard to develop ranchos in Nevada’s Great Basin along with Standardbred, Morgan and Thoroughbred breeds raised in that region during the 1920s and 1930s and made available for the cavalry. Many of these horses were turned loose and left to survive alone in the rough terrain and varied weather of the refuge area. They have returned to a natural state and survive some of the most inhospitable regions of our federal lands.