Proud lead stallion who arrived from Hart Mountain in 1999 – was a great nurturer, educator and protector. He was one of the luckier ones who was relocated from capture to sanctuary with his family band intact. Mystic left this world to run in the next on October 31, 2014. He leaves a legacy at Return to Freedom

On this Giving Tuesday, we reflect on all that has been preserved because of your support.


But noble souls through dust and heat,
Rise from disaster and defeat,
the stronger

– Hendry Wadsworth Longfellow

They Live In Herds . . .

Welcoming the holiday season at Return to Freedom’s American Wild Horse Sanctuary, is a heartwarming experience. As we look out on this Giving Tuesday morning, rain is falling and the hillsides are drinking it up!

We have so much gratitude for all we have achieved in the past 16 years — only possible with your help!

In 1998 the Sanctuary opened its doors to receive the first family and bachelor bands who were captured at the Hart Mountain Fish and Wildlife Refuge in southern Oregon. The mighty stallion Mystic was among them. A total removal of 279 horses was the end of these beautiful horses. These horses, remnants of original ranch horses that interbred with the Baroque Spanish horses living in nearby Beatty’s Butte, are gone from their range forever.

But Mystic’s legacy lives on at the sanctuary. 

RTF recognizes that these horses and all animals have a culture of their own. The nurturing bonds and community between these social mammals are vital to their survival. Because of their capacity to adapt, horses have survived for millions of years and hopefully they will survive the relentless battle over the use of our federal lands and natural resources.

Today, because of you, the sanctuary is the safe haven for almost 400 wild horses and burros – most living in their naturals family bands – that have been relocated from their home on the range. The story of each one of these horses is emblematic of tens of thousands more and is a testimony to why we remain committed to work on solutions that protect America’s remaining wild horses on their rightful rangelands.
Return to Freedom’s American Wild Horse Sanctuary was created as a model to explore viable solutions for wild horse management that could be applied on the range. These solutions will help eliminate the catastrophic and senseless capture and removal management policy that has systematically eradicated hundreds of thousands of wild horse families for over 40 years. The current policies now cost taxpayers $80 million a year, destroy the integrity of America’s wild horse herds, our living history and an equitable voice for how our public lands and resources are used.

Over the past 16 years, RTF has been able to effect change and inspire tens of thousands of people nationally and internationally by giving legislators, luminaries, youth and adults a direct experience with these horses and connecting them to the issues that threaten them. Thank you for helping us achieve so much, and for continuing your support as we march ahead in the battle for America’s wild horses.

With respect and gratitude,
Neda DeMayo and the RTF Team


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