Tours, Clinics, Safaris
To see our scheduled events at a glance throughout 2014, please visit Calendar of Events. Below are overviews of our events and programs, as well as special events. Check back often as we are always adding additional offerings.
Join us on a journey to steep yourself in the world of wild horses. Enjoy one of our scheduled programs or customize a unique package. These experiential programs will immerse you in the world of the natural horse. Walk into the future of horse and human relationships in such way that you will not want to return to old and outdated methods of understanding. Return to Freedom Wild Horse Sanctuary offers a variety of educational programs for horse owners as well as people interested in learning about wild horse dynamics and herd behavior.
To register for scheduled clinics or for more information on arranging a unique experience for yourself or your group, email email@example.com or call (805) 737-9246.
Tours & Safaris
Please call Return to Freedom (805-737-9246) to schedule your tour; all tours must be scheduled in advance. Please leave your pet friends at home.
Living History Sanctuary Tours (Recommended for children 6 and up)
Experience a vital link to our living history: America’s wild horses! Learn about the origins of the horse in America, how they shaped American cultures, what they face in the world today, and what we are doing to preserve them. Watch a 10-minute introductory DVD in the barn, engage in a brief Q & A discussion, then head out to meet some of the horses and see the sanctuary. The tour will focus on the diversity, individual stories, and the historical significance of America’s wild horses. Light refreshments will be provided before and after the tour. Suggested minimum donation $25 per adult; $10 for children under 12. 10am-12pm. Note: This is our basic introductory tour. For more in-depth opportunities to view and observe wild herds, sign up for our Wild Horse Hiking Adventure.
Wild Horse Hiking Adventure (Recommended for children 12 and up)
Journey into the hills and spend the afternoon learning directly from wild horses through quiet observation of the herds. Deepen your understanding of natural horse behavior and wild horse preservation issues. Hiking level is moderate to strenuous on uneven, steep terrain. Hiking boots, hat, sunscreen, and a reusable water bottle recommended. Light refreshments provided. Suggested minimum donation $75 per adult; $20 youth 12-16. 3:30-6:30 pm.
Photo Safaris (Recommended for children 12 and up)
A special Return to Freedom program to accommodate amateur and professional photographers! Join a seasoned equine photographer familiar with the Sanctuary for an unforgettable journey into the hills to meet our wild herds. The hike begins with an overview about Return to Freedom and America’s wild horses before heading into the hills to photograph these magnificent animals. Capture the early morning or afternoon light, and relationships as the herds move about in their daily lives. Capture it all on film for an unforgettable experience. Choose from a Sunrise Safari (6am-9am) or an afternoon Safari (4pm-7pm). Pre-registration required. Suggested minimum donation $150.
Large Group Tours
Schedule your own private, customized, small group tour, school field trip, birthdays, clubs, youth group, or church group! Bring a bag lunch and spread out a picnic blanket near the pagoda after the tour. Light refreshments provided. Suggested minimum donation $50 per adult; $20 for children under 12. Scheduled by appointment only and subject to staff availability.
Kid’s Day at the Ranch (Recommended for children ages 8-16)
Come along with your kids to help out caring for the horses for a day. Learn about what it takes to run a wild horse sanctuary: feeding, manure scooping, herd observation, feeding rescued pot-belly pigs, groom a tame burro, and more. Light refreshments and snacks will be served. Please pack a lunch for you and your children. This program sells out every year, so sign up in advance. 10am-3pm.
Suggested minimum donation $45 per child/adult pair; $15 for each additional child or adult (a friend, additional parent, or a sibling).
Wild Horse Teen Camp (Recommended for teens ages 11-17)
Learn everything about wild horses from the ground up. From evolution and natural history to the current political issues concerning the wild horses and how teens can get involved. Learn about horse management on the ranch, including care, feeding, horse behavior, and the unique way that Return to Freedom keeps wild horse families together while keeping the population low. There are no mounted riding activities. Refreshments and light snacks provided; campers must bring their own bag lunch. July 21-25, 10am-3pm. Suggested minimum donation $450.
Volunteer Work Days
The second Saturday of each month meet up with other volunteers and Return to Freedom staff as we push up our sleeves and tackle various projects around the ranch: gardening, carpentry, manure scooping, painting, fence repair, sustainability projects, habitat restoration, event preparation, and more. Bring your own lunch. Light refreshments provided. 10am-3pm, followed by a 3:30pm hike to see the herds. Once a quarter, volunteers ages 16 and up, can attend a 2-hour equine orientation 10am-12 noon, provided by the equine manager.
No fee. RSVP in advance: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wild Horses and Wildflowers
Join us as we release the herds into their summer pastures. Enjoy the springtime and wildflowers while you dine on organic fare, enjoy music, and sip local wines. Bid on exciting silent auction items as you help support the important work of Return to Freedom. Saturday, May 3, from 3pm-7pm. $65.00 for adults and $15.00 for children 16 and under.
Holiday Open House
Raise a glass of holiday cheer, eat tasty treats, and visit our gift shop just in time for holiday shopping. December 6, 2pm-4pm.
Annual Five-Day Photography Clinic
Join master equine photographers Tony Stromberg and Kimerlee Curyl and Return to Freedom Founder, Neda DeMayo, for a five-day equine photography workshop. This time of year, the landscape is rich with color and late spring herd courtships. Neda DeMayo offers photographers a unique perspective into the world of equine behavior; how horses perceive and respond to the world around them and relationship dynamics in order to help photographers capture that perfect interactive herd shot. Master equine photographers Stromberg and Curyl facilitate a total immersion into the diverse herds that live at the sanctuary as well as valuable one-on-one lab time. This very unique workshop stresses the importance of developing a relationship with the natural world emphasizing “co-creation” as it relates to the authorship of a finished image. For more information or to register, please visit Wild Horse Photo Workshops. June 1-6, 2014. Beginning to advanced photographers $2200.
Experience all levels of yoga outdoors in the fresh clean air and rolling hills of Santa Barbara’s Central Coast. Practice stillness and mindfulness both in motion and sitting meditation. Start the day off with a relaxing yoga class and then journey into the world of wild horses and burros with a vigorous morning hike. After an organic alfresco lunch, restore yourself through various healing modalities. Choose from June 28-29 or August 9-10. Suggested minimum donation $385 per person per session. Lunch is included. Early bird discount of $25 off if registered by March 1, 2014.
Reiki Certification I & II and Reiki for Horses
Join Reiki Master and Animal Communicator Cindy Rackley for Reiki I and II Level Certification and Reiki for Horses. Three separate days cover the three separate topics.
Level I: Learn how to heal yourself and others. August 1, 10am-5pm. Suggested minimum donation $175.
Level II: Amplifies your ability to send healing energy, considered distance, or absentee healing. August 2, 10am-5pm. Suggested minimum donation $200.
Reiki for Horses: learn how to use Reiki to accelerate healing, alleviate pain, and reduce stress for horses and all animals. (Must be certified to at least Level I Reiki to attend this portion of the workshop.) August 3, 10am-5pm. Suggested minimum donation $175.
Programs by Special Arrangement
“We are living in a world out of balance. At Return to Freedom, we simply want to create a model and use wild horses as a bridge to recconnect to nature. Because, I think of all the species, humans are the only ones who don’t see nature as their home. Being out of balance is a direct result of that phenomenon.” ~ Neda DeMayo
Evening Herd Observation & Firelight Dinner (full moon evenings can be magical!)
A meditative and reflective journey into the world of wild horses. These intimate evenings are hosted by Return to Freedom Founder Neda DeMayo, sharing her unique insight and understanding of wild herds. Special guests and staff may join to add their expertise. Once in the hills, our time will be reserved for quiet observation of the herds. At dusk we will gather around the campfire for a light dinner, wine, storytelling, music, and discussion. Hiking level is moderate to strenuous on uneven, steep terrain. Not recommended for children under 12. Hiking boots, light jacket, and a reusable water bottle recommended for the hike. By special arrangement only with a minimum of four people. Suggested minimum donation $150 per person. 4pm-9pm.
Journeys With Wild Horses™
This is for the individual who wants to immerse him or herself into the language and community of wild horses through exposure to their habitat and family bands. Guests experience direct learning through observation and self-discovery in nature’s classroom. We will create an intimate educational experience. Beverages and snacks provided. Reservations required well in advance. Minimum of six people required. Suggested minimum donation $1000 for 3 days.
RESERVATIONS REQUIRED FOR ALL EVENTS AND PROGRAMS
Please do not arrive more than 15 minutes prior to your tour time
Hiking clothes recommended (closed toed shoes required)
Please do not bring your pets to the ranch