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Return To Freedom
updated: Jun 21, 2014, 10:00 AM

Wild Horses still roam free and protected in Central California and you are invited to experience this secret jewel off of Jalama Road, just outside of Lompoc! Return to Freedom (RTF) is a nationally known American wild horse sanctuary located on 300 acres an hour north of Santa Barbara. RTF's mission states:

Return to Freedom Wild Horse Sanctuary is dedicated to wild horse preservation by protecting the freedom, diversity, and habitat of America's wild horses through sanctuary, education and conservation, while enriching the human spirit through direct experience with the natural world.

Founder, Neda De Mayo, who as a girl loved horses, saw a TV program, showing wild horses being rounded up by helicopters. It was easy to understand the horse's terror and that they were being ripped from their families, their freedom, their home forever. It was like witnessing a battleground, a community being destroyed by the very people who were supposed to protect it.

Thirty years later she was stunned to see that the situation had not changed much and she began her quest to create a sanctuary to protect wild horses and the wildlife that also shared the habitat. She and her family pooled their resources to purchase land solely for the sanctuary of wild horses. Today RTF cares for 400 wild horses, most are still living in their original family bands and others have formed new social bands at the sanctuary.

Scheduled public tours are given throughout the year focusing on six distinct herds, rounded up from various states in the west. Professional as well as amateur photographers come from around the world to participate in workshops and summertime photo safaris. Taking advantage of either early morning or evening light to capture the beauty of free roaming horses on a ridgeline, all within a 3-hour hike, as opposed to a 3-day trek into the high desert or Rockies, where most of America's dwindling wild horse herds still range. Shorter hikes and tours designed for families are also available to observe natural herd behaviors and learn about wild horses directly from the horses. Also alternative classes in Reiki and Yoga, using the horses are available.

Return to Freedom is starting an innovative program for young people to spend time on the range observing wild horses and then making a trip to Washington D.C. to lobby their representatives about wild horse issues.

Return To Freedom is committed to educating the public through programs and events about the value of wild horses, what the wild horse can teach both domestic horse owners as well as the general public, and solutions for managing the herds on their natural ranges. RTF will continue to be an advocate to insure that the wild horses remaining on our public lands are free, safe and healthy, for future generations to enjoy, learn from and protect! Return to Freedom is a 501c3 non-profit organization that relies on donations to support its mission. Check the website www.returntofreedom.org or call (805) 737-9246 to reserve your tour today!


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