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 presence of the Cerbat mustangs in Arizona goes back hundreds of years, predating white settlement in the area. These graceful horses, who have lived in near-complete isolation, are some of the purest descendents of the Spanish horses brought to North America in the 1500s. The Cerbats live in an inhospitable landscape of peaks, ridges, and canyons, dominated by desert scrub and chaparral, with temperatures ranging from zero degrees in winter to over 105 degrees in the summer and altitudes up to 7000 feet. This tough environment has caused these mustangs, like many others, to develop exceptional agility, endurance, and survival instincts. They display a very uniform conformation, as well as unique blood types, which contribute to their high value for conservation.
The Virginia Range wild horses (Northern Nevada) are the very horses that spurred Nevada’s Wild Horse Annie (Velma Johnston) on a long, grueling political journey, beginning in the 1950s, to stop cruel atrocities inflicted upon wild horses by unenlightened humans who saw them only as an easy cash crop for slaughter (mustanging) or as objects to satisfy their need for cruel excitement.