In the high ridges and sagebrush basin just outside of Sun Valley Idaho, some 400 wild horses roamed the 154,000 acre Challis Herd Management Area. They lived peacefully along side a diverse species of wildlife including deer, elk, mountain lions, wolves and bear. The Challis herd made their life here. They were born, courted, fought, raised family bands, survived and died for generations under the endless skies… where distant mountain ridges were their only boundaries.
Until 2009 when a helicopter on the horizon would shatter their world forever. A government roundup drove the horses in a frenzy into traps and catch pens. Mothers were separated from their young, family bands were ripped apart, and — though they fought valiantly – stallions lost the mares and young they had protected all these years.
For 19 of the horses who survived the roundup , salvation would come in the form of a group of local women and a photographer who had been documenting the Challis herd for years. Elissa Kline (the photographer), Jodi Herlich and Doro Lohmann adopted 1 stallion and 18 mares – most pregnant – and found a small parcel of land to lease where the mares would be safe and together until a permanent solution could be found.
Return to Freedom provided that solution and has welcomed the Challis horses and their offspring to our California sanctuary. Now numbering 29 with their 3 year old fillies and colts born after capture, the Challis herd arrived at our sanctuary this summer. Here they are resuming life as they once knew it. Though we cannot replace the stallions, family members and herd mates that they lost in the roundup, we can offer them freedom, safety and the comfort of one another.
Please help us continue to rescue displaced wild horses like the Challis herd by sponsoring a horse today. We have several Challis horses in need of a sponsor. Meet Carmela, Nelson and Gypsy and consider helping with a monthly sponsorship to offset the cost of their feed and care. Thank you for your compassion and support.