Once considered an icon of the American West, wild horses are rapidly disappearing from existence, thanks to encroaching industries and urbanization. (Currently, more wild horses live in captivity than in the wild.) However, nestled in the Jalama Valley near Lompoc is Return to Freedom, 300 acres of land where wild horse herds are allowed to roam free, safe from danger. Neda DeMayo founded the sanctuary and educational retreat nearly 10 years ago with the goal of preserving the animals’ genetic diversity and ensuring the survival of America’s free-ranging wild horses. Return to Freedom is open to the public and offers clinics from May to October. Next up is “Understanding the Horse,” a two-day workshop for new horse owners, or anyone who wants to learn more about these noble steeds. On the first day, a panel of equine experts will give presentations on the physiological aspects of the horse, including health care (both traditional and alternative), basic nutrition, natural hoof care, and equine dentistry. On the second day, participants will explore the social structure and relationships within a horse herd, and how our body language and energy affect our communication with horses. DeMayo will also demonstrate how to develop a bond with your horse based on trust and mutual respect. Attendees will watch wild horse herds and take part in hands-on exercises. — Michelle Drown
Wild Horse Sanctuary
Originally published 10:14 a.m., August 9, 2006
Updated 1:04 p.m., September 15, 2006
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