Happy International Women’s Day from Return to Freedom!

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Photo of Promise taken at RTF’s American Wild Horse Sanctuary by Paloma Ianes.


From the start, women have been the driving force behind the effort to save America’s wild horses and burros on our public lands.

Often, detractors label wild horses an “emotional issue” in a patronizing tone. They fail to recognize that advocates, both women and men, hold a deep interest in natural history, our country’s history, animal behavior, the politics of our public lands, and the conservation science that can help preserve wild horses and burros for generations to come.

At Return to Freedom, we’re grateful for all of the women volunteers, donors and staff who’ve enabled us to build a sanctuary that provides care for almost 500 wild horses and burros as well as experiential educational programs for people of all ages.

We’re thankful for all of you who continue to call and write Congress – and spread the word – about the ongoing threats faced by these special animals and help us push for humane solutions.

And we’re proud to work shoulder to shoulder with women leaders from other wild horse and animal-welfare organizations. Now and again, we may have differences of opinion, but there’s no doubting their devotion to this effort.

Being an advocate has never been an easy task. It requires heart, intelligence and a firm spine.

In the 1950s and 60s, opponents mocked pioneering activist Velma Johnston, calling her “Wild Horse Annie.” Johnston slyly turned that on its head, wearing the nickname as a badge of honor — and leading the way to the first federal protections for wild horses.

She didn’t waiver. Neither will we.