’Tis the season for giving, and while unwrapping a shiny, ribboned package is delightful, it doesn’t warm your soul the way helping an animal in need does. Return to Freedom (RTF), the wild horse sanctuary in Lompoc, has plenty of orphan horses and burros in need of sponsors. You can support a four-legged critter for one month ($45), six months ($270), or a year ($540); sponsor the animal in someone’s name, and RTF will send them a certificate of sponsorship and a photo and description of the pony being helped in their name. The following are just three of the animals available for sponsorship at RTF.

Red Bird: This mare has a triple dorsal stripe and tri-colored mane and tale; she belongs to one of the two Sulphur Springs herds in the sanctuary’s preservation program. Red Bird, along with her herd mates, has DNA similar to the Iberian Sorraia, a primitive breed that, with fewer than 200 horses existing as of 2007, is at “critical risk status,” according to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization. RTF is working to preserve their bloodline.

Isadora-Cruce: The mare is part of RTF’s Wilbur-Cruce herd, which are direct descendants of the original Colonial Spanish Mission horses brought to North America in the 1600s by Padre Eusebio Kino, founder of the Mission Dolores in Sonora, Mexico, in 1687. In 2010, Breyer’s toy company created a model horse of Isadora-Cruce.

Breeze: This grulla gelding roamed the range land in Nevada until he was captured in a Bureau of Land Management wild-horse round-up. Breeze was adopted, but he had to be removed when his owner could no longer afford to feed and care for him.

For more information on sponsorships, or to check out Return to Freedom’s wish list of needed items, call 737-9246 or visit returntofreedom.org.


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