The majority of the horses who range free at the Return to Freedom Wild Horse Sanctuary are part of a herd or bachelor band. Some herds arrived together. Others formed after they arrived. Still others found new family members among horses already residing at the Sanctuary. But no matter how they formed, each herd is a closely-knit family or social group, with each member assuming specific duties and responsibilities, and all share a very deep bond.
The Choctaw Indian Pony was an integral part of Choctaw tribal culture, spirituality, and heritage. This tough, small horse lived through struggles and tragedies with the tribe, and some carried the ill and infirm on their backs along the Trail of Tears.
In 2000, Return to Freedom collaborated with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to relocate more than 50 wild horses in their intact family herds from the refuge. They were threatened with a helicopter roundup.
Sulphur Springs Herd
The Sulphur Springs Herd is one of the few to claim direct Spanish Heritage. They are of Spanish origin, have distinctive dorsal and leg striping, and resemble the horses painted on cave walls dating back to 26,000 B.C.E.
Hart Mountain Herd
Mystic came to us in 1999 from Hart Mountain, Oregon, with three other bachelor stallions. As luck would have it, nine mares also arrived at the ranch at about the same time and everyone was soon re-introduced.
Wilbur Cruce Spanish Colonial Mission Horses
These strong and reliable horses are direct descendants of Padre Kino’s original herd who arrived in America from Spain in the late 1600s. They are the only known rancher-strain of pure Spanish horses that persists in the southwest.