This Black Friday, why not skip the “door-buster specials” at jam-packed big-box stores and instead celebrate Black [Horse] Friday by sponsoring one of our wild horses? Sponsorship also makes a great gift for a loved one during the holiday season! See the bottom of this page for details.
Because of the ongoing drought, wild horses and burros, like all free-ranging wildlife, are forced to wander across the boundaries of their defined Herd Management Areas in search of water and food. In February 2015, Black Moon, strikingly beautiful black Sulphur Springs stallion, and 99 other wild horses were removed from the range where they had been wandering into the road. He was branded No. 5398.
Both Moon and a Bay stallion (#5422, now Merlin) received no bids at all and faced an uncertain future. RTF made sure these stallions who has spent their entire lives in the Utah mountain wilderness did not fall through the cracks, giving them a new home at the sanctuary.
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 21-year-old, pure black horse looks like a Lusitano stallion. He is magnificent — and 100% wild.
Estrella continues to live with her sister, Luna, and their family band from the wild. Their band are descendants of cavalry horses that interbred with draft horses after large ranches were sold to the federal government.
Now 26 years old, Estrella remains strong and confident if a bit wary of people. She is shown here with her colt Jack.
Like her sister, Estrella, Luna was born on Nevada’s Sheldon Fish and Wildlife Refuge and came to RTF with her family band in 2000. And like her sister, Luna is a strong and confident mare — but with a bit of a feisty side. She turned 26 years old this year.
Born in the spring of 2002, Night Camp is a stunning black sabino mare from the Choctaw native tribal line. As lead mare, she is responsible for the daily care and organization of her herd. She is one of our friendliest Choctaw mares, and loves to greet visitors to the sanctuary. As an ambassador for the Choctaw Indian Horse, Night Camp has appeared at several events.
The Choctaw horses are derived from the 200 Spanish horses that arrived with Hernando DeSoto when he arrived to Florida in 1539. These are one of the oldest strains of horses remaining from the early colonial efforts of the Spaniards in North America. They are an important genetic resource because they have become rare, and have been pivotal in the conservation of Colonial Spanish horses in North America.
The Choctaw Indian Pony was an integral part of Choctaw tribal culture, spirituality, and heritage. This tough, small horse lived through struggles and tragedies with the tribe, including the forced relocation of the Choctaw and Cherokee peoples known as the Trail of Tears.
For years, tribes hid these treasured ponies in the hills to prevent their extermination. Today, their pure descendants are preserved by private conservators and through conservation efforts like Return to Freedom’s.
*Holiday gift sponsors will receive a certificate featuring a beautiful photo and the story of their wild horse.