In the past two centuries, America’s wild horse population has decreased from two million to fewer than 25,000. These shocking numbers are attributed to failed policies meant to protect the species along with limiting land allocations. An alarming number of wild horses are being driven off their public land by means such as helicopter roundups, leading them into government holding pens that do not ensure long-term survival for the animals. Along with affecting the wild horse population, taxpayers are suffering the consequences of the roundups; the current removal policy is costing more than $39 million in tax dollars per year.

Return to Freedom, a refuge for wild horses located in Lompoc, is devoted to “preserving 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.” They provide a sprawling, 300-acre roaming ground for the 200 wild horses and burros they have rescued.

Return to Freedom is a part of the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, which is a coalition of organizations working together to execute responsible and ethical wild horse management policies. One of the organization’s monumental victories this year came on July 17 when the ROAM Act (Restoring Our American Mustangs) passed in the House of Representatives. ROAM bans helicopter roundups and will reclaim lost land for the wild horses.

To celebrate its ongoing success in the preservation of the wild horses of America, Return to Freedom will be holding a fundraiser on Saturday, September 26, at the Bella Vista Ranch in Carpinteria. The event will include performances, gourmet food, wine tasting by Wild Horse Winery and Sculpterra Winery, a silent auction, vendors, and activities for children. The event will be emceed by GaWaNi Pony Boy, a renowned horse behaviorist and an author of 10 best-selling books. All of the proceeds from the fundraiser will benefit Return to Freedom in its pursuit of wild horse conservation.


Return to Freedom will be holding a fundraiser on Saturday, September 26, from 1-6 p.m. at the Bella Vista Ranch in Carpinteria. For more information, call 737-9246 or visit


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