Challis Herd: Exciting News!

We have wonderful, but bittersweet news!
 All 28 members of the Challis Herd have been adopted and have left Return to Freedom’s sanctuary in Lompoc, California to run free on thousands of acres in Northern California. Fulfilling the promise made by their original rescuers — photographer Elissa Kline, Doro Lohmann, and Jodi Herlich, the horses arrived to Return to Freedom in 2012 so they could remain together.

Thanks to Return to Freedom’s generous donors these horses have been able to remain together and live protected and peacefully at Return to Freedom’s American Wild Horse Sanctuary since they arrived here in 2012.

Now, they live on a private sanctuary where the land will provide a larger, sustainable, natural habitat for the duration of their lives.

Thank you everyone who helped support the Challis horses through sponsorships, donations for their rescue and transport.



Challis HerdIn July, 2009, in the high ridges and sagebrush basin that formed the Challis Wild Horse Herd Management Area just outside of Sun Valley, Idaho, a helicopter would appear on the horizon, move towards a herd of wild horses and change their world forever.
Nearly 400 wild horses that had roamed this land for generations were chased for miles over rugged terrain by the relentless object in the sky. Driven to a trap site, the herd said goodbye to their home, family bands and freedom, forever.

Elissa Kline, who had been photographing the Challis herd for many years, stepped forward with her two partners (Doro Lohmann and Jodi Herlich) to rescue as many of the mares as they could, keeping them together and keeping some part of their now shattered life in tact. Return to Freedom helped ensure their safety by funding their feed and care for 6 months. Many of the mares were pregnant.

Safe now with their young foals at their sides, the herd was cared for by the group of women until a permanent solution could be found. In the summer of 2012, Return to Freedom brought the Challis herd to the safety of the Return to Freedom Wild Horse Sanctuary. Here they are safe and they are together.


Please consider helping us continue to provide sanctuary for displaced wild horses by sponsoring a horse today.