In 2000, the US Fish & Wildlife Service was continuing to remove wild horses and burros from the Sheldon Fish and Wildlife Refuge in Nevada. Concerned that these unbranded horses would be shipped to auctions and slaughter, Return to Freedom contracted with the Agency to relocate more than 50 wild horses in their intact family and bachelor bands from the refuge. RTF partnered with a contractor who gathered the horses on horseback and relocated the horses to the sanctuary together.
Noble and Angie, Valentino’s parents, were one of the family bands that were brought to the sanctuary. Noble passed along his rich black coat to Valentino, as well as his calm and reserved temperament. You can see Angie in Valentino’s large and expressive eyes. Being born on the sanctuary, Valentino is accustomed to people and appreciates a good scratch.
Descendent of Standardbred, Morgan, draft and other breeds, the Sheldon Refuge horses survived and returned to a natural state in some of America’s most challenging habitat. Over many decades these horses have developed increased bone density, instinct and represent the indelible spirit of North America’s wild horses from the Great Basin.
In 2014 the wild horses and burros on the Refuge lost the fight for their survival against relentless Government removals intended to eliminate all wild horses from the Sheldon Refuge. Although advocates fought for years to have the Fish and Wildlife Service manage wild horse populations with fertility control, the Agency removed all wild horses and burros from the Refuge.