NEDA DEMAYO — Return to Freedom Wild Horse Sanctuary Founder and President
One of Neda’s earliest memories of wild horses was watching them being chased and captured on television. “Whether it was a movie or the news I cannot recall, but I will never forget the anguish I felt as a 5 year old child standing by helplessly as these beautiful horses were traumatically captured.” Read More
JILL ANDERSON — Donor Programs
Jill is a Michigan native who graduated from the University of Michigan, Dearborn with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science. During her time in college, Jill worked directing field operations for political campaigns, interned for the Arab American Institute and travelled extensively through Europe and the Middle East. After college she joined the Federal staff of U.S. Congressman John D. Dingell, where she worked for seven years prior to relocating to California. Read More
CONNIE WEINSOFF — Director of Education and Programs
Connie brings to Return to Freedom a long history of non-profit management experience, along with equine experience from Hearts Therapeutic Equestrian Center in Santa Barbara, CA, where she was the Program Director and a certified therapeutic riding instructor for over 17 years. She also was a national evaluator for new therapeutic riding instructors and has presented at national conferences on teaching techniques and horse management. Read More
ANNAMARIE ALTERI — Equine Manager
Annamarie comes to Return to Freedom Wild Horse Sanctuary with both substantial equine experience and a sanctuary background. She has been an active horseman for over thirty years, with a competition history in eventing and combined driving. In addition to studying husbandry and assisting at the Vet Med Teaching Hospital while a student at UC Davis, Annamarie has many years’ experience in barn management and equine care. Read More
KAREN DESCAMPS — Administrative Assistant
Karen worked on horse ranches and farms in her younger years. As an adult she enjoyed a long career in banking. A few years ago, Karen began her relationship with Return to Freedom as an office volunteer. Read More
KELSEY SANTINI — Program & Volunteer Coordinator
Growing up in California’s Bay Area, Kelsey competed extensively on the Hunter/Jumper circuit throughout her formative riding years, but also took time to learn strong foundations in natural horsemanship. In her 15 years of involvement in the horse world, Kelsey has spent time training in dressage, jumping, trail, eventing, reining and cutting. During college, she shifted her focus from an emphasis on training to specializing in equine business management. Driven by a strong passion of working with kids, Kelsey was also a competitive gymnastics and cheerleading coach for a number of years.
MERCED TAGLE — Ranch Foreman
Merced has been with Return to Freedom for more than a decade. He is a first-class and highly professional asset to our team, as well as a gentle spirit that all animals respond to. We consider Merced to be the heart-and-soul of the day-to-day operation of the ranch.
PAULUN TAGLE — Ranch Hand
Paulun is Merced’s brother; together they are a dynamite team. Like his brother, Paulun has been with Return to Freedom for more than ten years. They both intimately know the ins-and-outs of the ranch’s daily operations.
LISA LORDEN — Administration & Finance
ALEX GARCIA — Ranch Hand
Alex is the youngest member of our staff and has been a valuable asset to Return to Freedom for more than three years. He has learned a great deal from his mentor, Merced, and we consider him a super team player because of it. That, and he’s a joy to be around because he always has a smile on his face!
LAURA MORETTI — Web Master
Laura is the founder of The Animals Voice and its magazine by the same name. She has been an advocate for animals for more than 40 years and has a history in the wild horse plight, both with hands-on rescue and activism, as well as through her writing and graphic design skills. Laura has also launched a magazine called Earthlings, which celebrates the other-than-human beings who inhabit our planet.