of Every Month
Put on a smile and roll up your sleeves! Volunteer at Return to Freedom and help us feed wild horses — and a lot more!
Please note that the Return to Freedom American Wild Horse Sanctuary is open to visitors only by appointment or during an event. To visit or to book a reservation for a program or event, please email us here.
Overview of Return to Freedom’s Tours and Events
Join us on the last Saturday of each month, May through August, for docent-led sanctuary tours.
This is a docent-guided walking tour of the sanctuary with some time for quiet herd observation along the way. Meet some of the mustangs who live here and represent a vital link to the history of the horse in North America. Learn about the horse as a native species with its origins in America, their dispersal throughout the world, and their return to their home continent as it is interwoven with our cultural heritage.
Light refreshments provided. Recommended minimum age is eight years. Suggested admission: $50 per adult; $15 for children under 12. Time: 3 p.m.-6 p.m. This is an introductory tour.
To register for 2018 sanctuary tour dates click here.
On the last Saturday of every month, join us as we push up our sleeves and tackle various projects around the ranch. Please bring your own lunch. Light refreshments are provided.
During our May – August tour season you can join us the same day on a complimentary sanctuary tour from 3 p.m.-6 p.m. after the end of Volunteer Day. To register for a sanctuary tour when also participating in Volunteer Day please separately register for the sanctuary tour and select the “Volunteer Day Participant” ticket level.
To register to participate in 2017 Volunteer Day dates click here.
To register to participate in 2018 Volunteer Day dates click here.
San Luis Obispo Location: Let us know if you are available to help us at our 2,000-acre satellite sanctuary in San Luis Obispo. Water trough cleaning and thistle eradication projects are underway!
Recommended minimum age is eight years. Join our volunteer email list to receive volunteer updates. Let us know if you would like to volunteer for fundraisers or tabling events! For more Information, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wild Horse Photo Safaris and Workshops at Return to Freedom
Return to Freedom (RTF) hosts photo safaris at our location in Lompoc, California, on 300 acres, and at our satellite sanctuary, on 2,000 rolling acres, in San Luis Obispo, California. RTF photo safaris are scheduled by appointment and are led either by RTF volunteers and/or professional photographers who know the sanctuary, the herds, and the light. To schedule a personalized photo safari either in Lompoc or in San Luis Obispo, a minimum of four guests is necessary. Contact email@example.com.
On 300 acres, photographers are able to experience diverse herds of the American Mustang. Horses who look as though they have literally stepped off the pages of a history book — such as the 100% pure Tribal strain Choctaw Ponies, descendants of Padres Kino’s Spanish Mission horses, the Iberian Sorraia type Sulphur Springs herd and the rarely found Cerbat Spanish Mustang. Then, in the hills, descendants of cavalry and ranch horses from the Great Basin and other rugged areas on Western Public lands. The sanctuary is also home to wild burros who live in the romantic oak forest.
Minimum suggested fee: $200 per person; minimum four participants. 7 a.m.-10 a.m. and 4 p.m.-7 p.m.
To schedule a photo safari at Return to Freedom contact us by email or call (805) 737-9246.
On 2,000 acres of horse heaven in Central Coastal California, 70 wild horses and 16 burros roam free. Safaris last three hours and can be scheduled for early morning or late afternoon.
Horses from the Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge in southeastern Oregon grace the beautiful rolling hills of San Luis Obispo with a view of the ocean in the distance. A picnic basket with healthy snacks and beverages will be provided, or you can end your safari with a pre-arranged picnic lunch or dinner in the hills with mountaintop views of the ocean.
Minimum suggested fee: $350 per person; minimum four participants.
To schedule a photo safari at Return to Freedom contact us by email or call (805) 737-9246.
July 24-July 29, 2018: Beginning to Advanced Photographers. Join Tony Stromberg for a six-day equine photography workshop that takes place at Return to Freedom’s Wild Horse Sanctuary in Central Coastal California.
Return to Freedom, now with two locations, is home to more than 350 rare and beautiful mustangs from all over the U.S. “We have produced this workshop successfully for eight years now,” Tony says, “and it continues to be one of my favorite places to photograph my favorite subject, so much that it feels like a second home to me.”
Tony will share a lifetime of experience and insights, the specific techniques and processes he has learned throughout his life, and his unique philosophy about what goes into creating an image that is evocative, moving, and captivating … an image that has depth and soul, and is not just a “snapshot” — an image that carries a message to the heart.
Please note that a considerable percentage of the workshop fee is donated to support the sanctuary and its educational programs, and to support the foundations that are trying very hard to preserve an American icon against a tremendous amount of opposition. This is why we continue to do this workshop every year — because we are passionate about this cause and because we want to help the horses and the amazing people who devote their lives to helping them. —Tony Stromberg
Clinics and Workshops
2018 dates TBD. Reiki is a natural healing technique taught in hospitals and colleges across the country and around the world. It is beneficial to people, animals, plants and Earth. Reiki accelerates healing, alleviates pain and reduces stress. Reiki is a powerful tool for both personal and spiritual development.
Level I ~ learn the history of Reiki, the universal laws of healing/energy work, learn how to scan the body for energy blocks and you’ll also learn a form of applied kinesiology (muscle testing). You will learn how to utilize Reiki in the healing of yourself and others.
Level II ~ this level is only available to those that are already certified to Level I. It enhances your ability to send distance or absentee healing; in the present, into your past and to your future. We will practice what you learned in Level I, you’ll learn your symbols and how to use them. We will spend time sending distance healing and at the end of the day we will work on a few horses at RTF.
Manuals are included in both classes, which will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
Cindy Rackley offers readings for people and animals. She is a Reiki Master/Teacher, Coach, and Healer. Her work incorporates many forms of Energy Medicine, applied Kinesiology, Vibrational Medicines, such as Homeopathy, Flower Essences, and Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils. She works with people, animals, and organizations in the United States, Canada, and Europe.
Cost is $175 for Level I, $200 for Level II, $375 for both days. Class size is limited. Participants should dress comfortably and bring a potluck dish to share. Also bring closed toed shoes for the end of the Level II day, as participants will be spending time with horses.
June 18-22, 2018: The Carolyn Resnick Method facilitated by clinician Linda Salinas. Spend 5 days immersed in the spirit of the horse at Return to Freedom’s sanctuary in San Luis Obispo, California. Learn under the oaks and theer will also be a few hours each day surrounded by bands of wild horses for a total herd immersion.
Linda Salinas is both a skilled clinician and a dynamic instructor who seeks to empower her students while ensuring the integrity of the horse. Linda is a gifted teacher who feels that as we open our hearts and minds, horses in their infinite wisdom can assist us in our journey toward self-realization. Linda is a certified instructor in the Carolyn Resnick Method of natural horsemanship. She travels worldwide to share The Waterhole Rituals which were developed through Resnick’s observation of horses in the wild. The rituals provide a means by which we can bond and communicate with horses without the use of tack, force, or restraint in a free environment.
June 9, 2018: A very special day at the sanctuary. Come along with your younger children and /or teens to help out at the sanctuary for the day.
Learn from RTF staff and volunteers ! See what it takes to run a wild horse sanctuary: feeding, manure scooping, groom a tame burro or horse, and more. End the day venturing out to see the ranch on a hay ride and stop to watch wild horse herds. Participate in a Native American Blessing of the herds. Meet Spirit and other Mustang ambassadors!
Lunch, Light refreshments and snacks provided. 10 am-4 pm. Suggested minimum donation $65 per child/adult pair, $20 for each additional child or adult (a friend, additional parent, or a sibling) – This program sells out every year, so please sign up in advance by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
December 9, 2017: All Return to Freedom volunteers and supporters are invited to join us in celebrating the accomplishments and activities of 2017. Raise a glass of holiday cheer, eat tasty treats, and visit our gift shop just in time for holiday shopping!
The Holiday Appreciation Party will be held rain or shine. Please call us a 805-737-9246 if you have any questions. We look forward to seeing you there!
Private Tours & Retreats
Private Tours and Retreats are arranged on an individual basis. They can be scheduled on weekdays or weekends when there are no other scheduled events or activities at the ranch. The cost for large group tours and retreats are based on a sliding scale, and vary with each group. Please contact us at email@example.com for schedules, fees, and other information. We look forward to make your retreat or tour a memorable and special event.
Private tours and Retreats are arranged on an individual basis. They can be scheduled on weekdays or weekends when there are no other scheduled events or activities at the ranch. The cost for large group tours and retreats are based on a sliding scale, and vary with each group.
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for schedules, fees and other information. We look forward to make your retreat or tour a memorable and special event.
Note: Prices listed below are for tours during the months of May 2018 through August 2018. For off-season tour inquiries (September 2018 through May 2018), please contact email@example.com
Private Individual or Group Tours
Our most popular tour! Schedule your own private group tour, a combination of an informative Living History Sanctuary Tour with some time for sensitive herd observation. Spend 2 1/2 hours experiencing 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. This can be a light walking tour to view the sanctuary and visit our ambassador horses and some time to quietly view the herds in the hills. For those who want a more vigorous hike or more time in quiet observation; custom tours available by request. Light refreshments provided. Suggested minimum admission $150 per adult; $20 for children under 12. Scheduled by appointment only (Monday-Saturday) and subject to staff availability. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Large Group Tours
Schedule a private tour for 20 or more! Great for school field trip, Senior group tours, birthdays, clubs, youth group, Pony Club outing, Girl Scouts, equine club 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 is $50 per person but varies by tour type and amount of guests. For a quote contact: email@example.com. Scheduled by appointment only and subject to staff availability.
Private Wild Horse Herd Observation
Interested in studying wild horse natural behavior and viewing wild horses out in the hills? Schedule a private Wild Horse Hike where we will spend 2- 3 hours in the late afternoon to early evening quietly immersing ourselves in wild horse herds. This hike can be moderate to strenuous on uneven, steep terrain, although your guide will take the physical fitness level and ability of all guests into consideration when deciding on the route. Light refreshments provided. Suggested minimum fee $150 per adult; $50 for children aged 12-16. Scheduled by appointment only (Monday-Saturday) and subject to staff availability. If your party would like to end the day with a light catered meal from a local restaurant, this can be arranged for an added fee. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Private Photo Safaris
In addition to our scheduled Photo Safaris, private Photo Safaris can be arranged upon request. Whether you and your amateur photo club want to photograph colorful wild horses in a serene setting or if you’re a professional photographer looking to expand your fine arts portfolio, this tour is the one for you! One of our experienced guides will spend up to 3 hours with you and your group out in the hills. Suggested minimum fee $300 per person for tours with 1-5 guests; $200 per person for groups 5-10. Information for larger tours available by request. Special restrictions on photo use may apply; contact email@example.com to view our photography waiver. Scheduled by appointment only (Monday-Saturday), and subject to staff availability.
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 fee $300 per person. 4 p.m.-9 p.m. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Return to Freedom ranch is the perfect venue for your group’s next retreat!
Located in the California hills about 2 ½ hours north of Los Angeles, we make Return to Freedom’s American Wild Horse Sanctuary available on a limited basis to a variety of organizations for group functions and retreats. Groups enjoy a unique opportunity to come together in a sanctuary that opens the heart and in the magic of the natural world.
Features and Amenities Return to Freedom’s American Wild Horse Sanctuary is a 310-acre ranch offering quiet, outdoor settings for meetings, programs and a variety of group and solitary activities. Consider a walking meditation through herds of wild horses. Or, while enjoying our grounds, climb a magical tree house in our 60-acre oak forest—a perfect spot for contemplation, meditation, yoga or special times with your groups. And we are only 10 miles from one of the most beautiful beaches in south-central California. Enjoy a morning swim or walk on the beach. With breathtaking cliffs and pounding surf, it’s a location and experience that you’ll remember for years to come. To compliment your stay, additional amenities are also available. These may include massage, yoga instruction, and herbalist walks. You have a choice of accommodations for your group. Some groups prefer to camp out on the hills and spend the entire time in the beauty of our sanctuary. For those who choose not to, “rough it,” there are a variety of accommodations in nearby Lompoc that range from moderate to business class and also world class resorts within a 45-50 minute drive. When you call to set up your retreat, we can put you in touch with the accommodation of your choice. Please call us at 805-737-9246 to schedule your retreat.