We can’t do this work without you. You make it possible for Return to Freedom to save horses who have been removed from their home in the wild and offer them a safe haven where they can live out their lives in large pastures with their herd groups.

Our Sponsor a Horse program is an automatic monthly donation program. It only takes a moment to sign up and your debit or credit card will be automatically billed each month. You can cancel at any time.

If you have questions about your monthly donation or canceling a subscription please e-mail: contact@returntofreedom.org or call 805-737-9246.

CHARLIE

This is Charlie. He is a handsome Virginia Range stallion. We named him after Velma Johnston’s (Wild Horse Annie’s) loving husband. Wild Horse Annie began her 32-year crusade to save America’s wild horses after following a truck that had blood dripping from it. The truck reached its destination at the slaughterhouse she saw the blood of wild horses crowded in the truck spilling to the ground. These free-roaming horses were the Virginia Range horses. Annie fought for 32 years to pass legislation that would protect and preserve our wild horses…

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In 1971, The Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act was passed. In a tragic twist of irony, the Virginia Range horses who roam on state lands were not protected by this federal legislation.

Charlie was captured on State lands in Nevada’s Virgina Range. He ended up at the livestock yard where he would have ended up sold for slaughter. His mare and foal were spared and went to another sanctuary, and Charlie would have been herded into an auction ring and then onto a truck to Mexico for slaughter. We could not let that happen.

Charlie came to live at Return to Freedom Sanctuary where he is now part of a herd of 20 stallions from the Calico mountain range. Charlie and “the boys” are anxiously waiting for Return to Freedom to relocate to a larger preserve. In the meantime, they are being fed and cared for in the rolling hills of California.

Our Sponsor a Horse program is an automatic monthly donation program. It only takes a moment to sign up and your debit or credit card will be automatically billed each month. You can cancel at any time. Will you help Return to Freedom by sponsoring Charlie?

EL PRESIDENTE

El Presidente was born in 2004 in the vast remote ranges of Northwestern Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. In 2010, one of the most controversial roundups began in the Calico Mountain Complex, where almost 2000 wild horses lost their freedom and almost 150 horses died as a result. On January 29, 2010, this beautiful bay stallion was captured and removed from his home range in the Calico Mountains Complex.

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Return to Freedom took 106 horses from the roundup. The sanctuary is raising funds to expand and we hope when we can release the stallions with the 80 mares, El Presidente will be reunited with some of his herd.

For generations, ancestors of cavalry and ranch horses have interbred and survived in this remote and challenging habitat. They have adapted to this environment and returned to a natural state over the past few hundred years. These stout horses are a vital link to our Great Basin heritage.

Our Sponsor a Horse program is an automatic monthly donation program. It only takes a moment to sign up and your debit or credit card will be automatically billed each month. You can cancel at any time. Will you help Return to Freedom by sponsoring El Presidente?

EMILITA

Emilita was born in 2000 and was sired by the magnificent stallion, Chief, who is part of Return to Freedom’s preservation program. When it was time for her to leave her family band to find her own herd, she was introduced to the stallion Bear and his band of mares. Emilita now has a daughter named Stella, who took on the beautiful grulla coat of her father Bear.

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Emilita is a wonderful mother and we hope that she will impart her wisdom and beautiful spirit to her daughter.

Our Sponsor a Horse program is an automatic monthly donation program. It only takes a moment to sign up and your debit or credit card will be automatically billed each month. You can cancel at any time. Will you help Return to Freedom by sponsoring Emilita?

BLACK MOON

Black Moon is a strikingly beautiful Black Sulphur Springs stallion. Of all the horses found free ranging on the American range, the Sulphur Springs horses have the most similar DNA to the primitive Iberian Sorraia horses. True to his iberian descent this pure black horse looks like a Lusitano stallion. He is magnificent and 100% wild. He was captured in February 2015 outside of his home range in the Sulphur Springs Herd Management Area in Utah. Because of the drought, wild horses and burros, like all free ranging wildlife, are forced to wander across the boundries of their defined Herd Management Areas (HMAs) in search of water and food. In February 2015, 100 wild horses were removed from the range where they had been wandering into the road.

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#5398, now Black Moon, is a 20-year-old black stallion. RTF made sure that this stallion who has spent his entire life in the Utah Mountain wilderness, would not end up falling through the cracks. He and a 15 year old Bay stallion (#5422), who we have now named Merlin, had no bids at all and faced an uncertain future, so we spoke up for them and had them brought to the sanctuary. We did geld the Bay stallion, now . He has a difficult time seeing and may be almost blind and depends on Black Moon alot.

Caring for senior horses costs an estimated $2600 per year which does not include Veterinary care. Horses at the sanctuary often live well into their thirties.

Our Sponsor a Horse program is an automatic monthly donation program. It only takes a moment to sign up and your debit or credit card will be automatically billed each month. You can cancel at any time. If you need help with your automati billing or cancellation please email us or call 805-737-9246.

Will you help Return to Freedom by sponsoring Black Moon?

GENERAL

General (est. DOB 1988) was a proud 22-year-old band stallion when he was captured on January 16, 2010, during the BLM’s deadly Calico Mountains Complex roundup. This fearless lead stallion proudly led his mustang family in Nevada’s magnificent Black Rock Desert until the day the helicopters came. General was photographed on the range with his family band, and his last run for freedom was witnessed and photographed by advocates who followed his family band and his son, True. One cannot tell General’s story without mentioning Commander, another senior stallion who shared a strong bond with General.

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General and Commander stuck together through their long ordeal from the chase out of their home range into BLM’s trap pens where they became inseparable, then loaded onto a semi-truck to BLM’s holding facility… and finally to Return to Freedom.

Return to Freedom purchased 71 mares and 19 stallions through BLM Sale Authority for $10 each. RTF’s Calico Rescue Project was in response to the tragic Calico roundup of almost 2,000 wild horses which resulted in the death of close to 144.

General, True, and Commander all came to Return to Freedom. Commander, older than General, passed away in 2014.

General and True still thrive at Return to Freedom’s sanctuary. Caring for senior horses can cost $2,600 per year if they start needing more special care. Horses at the sanctuary often live well into their thirties.

Our Sponsor a Horse program is an automatic monthly donation program. It only takes a moment to sign up and your debit or credit card will be automatically billed each month. You can cancel at any time. If you need help with your automatic billing or cancellation, please email us or call 805-737-9246.

Will you help Return to Freedom by sponsoring General?

TRUE

True is a handsome stout chestnut roan sabino stallion. Many of the wild horses roaming our Great Basin are a mixture of draft horses that interbred with horse breeds that were used for cavalry remounts and ranch horses. Over the last few hundred years, they have adapted to some of the most inhospitable regions of our vast Northwestern rangelands, challenged by terrain, weather, and persecuted as “tresspassers” by livestock ranchers. True was born in Northwestern Nevada within the Blackrock Dessert in the Calico Complex, the lip of The Great Basin. Five Herd Management Areas (HMAs) make up the Calico Mountain Complex, one of the largest contiguous wild horse ranges.

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In 2010, life was never the same for this handsome young colt living in Nevada’s remote high desert. On December 28, 2009, helicopters penetrated the remote and pristine high desert and almost 2,000 wild horses were chased, captured, and scattered to government holding facilities. Freedom lost, families lost forever.

True and his family band were part of this devastating event. True was born to General, a stout stallion who fought tirelessly for his family’s freedom and release from the descending helicopters. Thanks to advocate Laura Leigh, who photographed their ordeal, Return to Freedom was able to do what we could to “Save the Pieces”. We were able to find True, his father General, and two of General’s mares so that they could be reunited back at Return to Freedom’s Wild Horse Sanctuary.

True is curious and social and even enjoys a scratch on the neck. He has come into his own and stands his ground with other stallions including his father, General.

Our Sponsor a Horse program is an automatic monthly donation program. It only takes a moment to sign up and your debit or credit card will be automatically billed each month. You can cancel at any time.

Will you help Return to Freedom by sponsoring True?

LEARN MORE

• Hope for Calico Mustangs: Return to Freedom Wild Horse Sanctuary
embarks on largest mustang rescue in its 13-year history.
• Calico Complex Roundup 1-16-10 (YouTube)
• Calico Mountain Complex Roundup 2009/2010 (BLM)
• Calico Roundup 2010 Report (RTF-AWHPC)

MIST

Mist is a kind red roan overo stallion, born in 1995 in some of the most expansive and remote rangelands in Northwestern Nevada’s Great Basin, the Calico Mountains. He was born and grew from a colt to a stallion wild and free in the Black Rock West Herd Management Area in the Calico Complex, Northwestern Nevada … until his capture in 2010. In the January 20, 2010, Mist was captured in one of the most controversial roundups of the decade. Almost 2,000 wild horses lost their freedom and over 140 horses lost their lives as a direct result of their capture.

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Today, Mist — along with several other stallions captured in the same region — live at Return to Freedom’s sanctuary in Central Coastal California. They are patiently waiting to be reunited with the mares when Return To Freedom can purchase a larger property.

Mist is a peacmaker with almost a mystical quality about him. He is almost timid; he stays out of everyone’s way.

For generations, ancestors of cavalry and ranch horses have been surviving in this remote and challenging habitat. They have adapted to this environment and returned to a natural state over the past few hundred years. They are a vital link to our Great Basin heritage.

Our Sponsor a Horse program is an automatic monthly donation program. It only takes a moment to sign up and your debit or credit card will be automatically billed each month. You can cancel at any time.

Will you help Return to Freedom by sponsoring Mist?

LEARN MORE

• Calico Mountains Complex Wild Horse Gather (BLM)
• BLM Calico Complex Roundup (AWHPC/RTF)
• 2010 Calico Complex Wild Horse Roundup (notes from the roundup contractor)

CURLY

The Wild Mustang Curly Horse is a strain of horse that is extremely rare. This wild free-ranging horse carries a special specific gene that causes the horse’s coat, mane, and tail to curl, along with other unique traits, thus the name ‘Curly Horse’. Curlies are known for their kind and mellow demeanor, and their curly coats, which are hypoallergenic! Curly was one of over 1900 wild horses captured during the devastating 2010 roundup in the Calico Mountains Complex of Nevada. During the grueling helicopter stampede, Curly lost his mares and foals and arrived at the trap exhausted, confused and without his family band, who — until this day — remained inseparable.

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When it was time for these newly captured wild horses to be sold to the highest bidder, Return to Freedom allies bid on and were able to secure Curly and 18 other wild stallions. After having lost their freedom, their families, and their homes, we had to do what we could to give them back a little of what they lost. Return to Freedom also secured 80 mares from the roundup.

At the sanctuary, Curly is an older stallion and enjoys spending his days with Silver King, Galahad, and Leaf. He also gets along with Charlie, Ludden, and El Presidente!

For generations, ancestors of cavalry and ranch horses have interbred and survived in the remote and challenging habitat of the Calico Mountains. They have adapted to this environment and returned to a natural state over the past few hundred years. These stout horses are a vital link to our Great Basin heritage.

Our Sponsor a Horse program is an automatic monthly donation program. It’s easy! It only takes a moment to sign up and your debit or credit card will be automatically billed each month. You can cancel at any time.

Will you help Return to Freedom by sponsoring Curly?

LEARN MORE

• The North American Curly Horse
• North American Curly Draft & Notes
• Calico Mountains Complex Wild Horse Roundup (BLM)
• BLM Calico Complex Roundup (AWHPC/RTF)

SILVER KING

Silver King is a mature harem band stallion who was captured in 2010 from the Silver King Herd Management Area in Northwestern Nevada’s Great Basin. Silver King and his family were captured in the Silver King roundup on October 3, 2010. Stampeded by deafening helicopters, Silver King and his mares, most pregnant, were chased relentlessly over dangerous terrain. After the helicopter assault, Silver King and his were forced into a trap at the capture site, where they were held in a pressure-cooker situation with other bands in the same small enclosure. After hours waiting in the small holding corral at the trap site, Silver King and his mares’ heart wrenching screams rose above the panic of their capture as they said goodbye through the metal bars of the holding pen.

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Anyone with any intelligence can clearly see that these horses, like us, are sentient beings with strong emotional bonds.

What Silver King did not know as he fought and defended himself and was loaded onto a crammed trailer and hauled away from his home range, his freedom, his world, was that there were people determined to protect him and to reunite him with his family. Return to Freedom will continue to do what we can to “save the pieces”.

Through the chutes and onto the semi-trucks to the prison, Silver King stayed very close to a flaxen maned stallion named Galahad who photographer Laura Leigh had also been tracking through the capture. She alerted Return to Freedom and we were able to get possession of Silver King and Galahad.

In order to simply view Galahad and Silver King, Leigh endured an intensive search of her person and vehicle. Only after that was she allowed to view the horses. Later, Leigh received notice that if she was to accompany the driver picking up the horse she had to notify BLM so they could notify S.W.A.T. These actions on the part of BLM were included in Leigh’s monumental win against violations of her first amendment rights in the Ninth Circuit, a case that has increased accountability and transparency related to wild horse handling during roundups an processing.

RTF tracked down Silver King’s mare, Grace, and a few others from his band and moved them to a leased holding area in Nevada. In the holding area, two foals were born after the roundup.

Thanks to the support given to our work by caring people all over the world, we found a way to undo one terrible injustice — the seemingly total loss of Silver King and Galahad’s family.

Since 2011, RTF has had to board the mares from both the Silver King and Calico roundups at our colleagues Dreamcatcher Sanctuary in Termo, California. Silver King’s colt, Haiku, and Galahad’s colt, Sterling, have joined their fathers at RTF’s sanctuary, but the mares have been roaming 800 acres in northern California.

During the holiday season of 2015, we were able to reunite Silver King with Grace and his two other mares at our satellite sanctuary in San Luis Obispo, California.

LEARN MORE

Silver King Herd Management Area Wild Horse Roundup (BLM Report 2010)
Photographer wins appeal over access to horse roundup
Silver King, NV 2010 (Wild Horse Education)
Silver King Round Up: Death of Braveheart (YouTube)

Did you know?We have Return to Freedom masks!

Peekaboo Masks is donating 35% of its sales from limited-edition masks that feature the wild horses and burros at our American Wild Horse Sanctuary.