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  • Writer's picturePat Craig

Rescued Wild Mustangs Roam Freely at The Wild Horse Refuge

Restoring the freedoms that Colorado’s horses have historically enjoyed for decades.


A small family of wild horses roaming freely at The Wild Horse Refuge.
Wild horses roam freely on 23,000 acres at The Wild Horse Refuge near Craig, Colorado

The origins of the Wild Horse Refuge began back in 2020 with the overpopulation of free-roaming mustangs within the Sand Wash Basin (SWB) near Craig, Colorado. The area is officially managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and with nearly 1,000 horses living at that location, a decision was made to round up and remove more than 700 hundred horses.

Once caught and transported to a holding facility near Canyon City, Colorado, the BLM planned to offer the horses for adoption through numerous public auctions. In response to this controversial program, several of the Sanctuary’s supporters began calling and donating toward an effort to save the mustangs.


With the Sanctuary having a 10,000-acre rescue facility located near the town of Springfield, Colorado, the organization was asked to rehome the captured mustangs at that location. In response, dozens of mustangs were immediately rescued, with many more being added in the following months.

A small family of wild mustangs freely roam 22,000 acres at The Wild Horse Refuge located near Craig, Colorado
A small family of wild mustangs enjoy their freedom

As the number of rescued mustangs began to approach 100, the Sanctuary began looking for additional land to increase its carrying capacity. A large historical ranch was located in northwest Colorado, which ironically, happened to be just 35 miles from the horses’ original home within the SWB.


Offering more than 23,000 acres of lush pastures and wide-open terrain, the Sanctuary purchased the property in January of 2023. As a result, many more rescued mustangs were rescued and now run freely across the same hills and valleys where their ancestors had once traveled. Renamed “The Wild Horse Refuge” additional horses are now able to run free and range naturally at this location.


The Sanctuary has full-time staff living on site to monitor the horses day and night and also sends veterinarians and behavior specialists regularly to ensure the horses’ needs are being met. The organization’s goal is to restore the freedoms that Colorado’s horses #wildhorses have historically enjoyed for decades.




Although The Wild Animal Sanctuary #thewildanimalsanctuary happens to be the world’s largest carnivore rescue organization, rescuing Lions, Tigers, Bears and other large exotics, the organization has also rescued horses for all 43 years of its operation. Being avid supporters and knowing the organization’s mission very well, Governor Jared Polis and First Gentleman, Marlon Reis, reached out to the Sanctuary with a request to assist the horses. Their concerns were driven by compassion, but they also considered the mustangs #wildmustangs to be an important part of our Colorado’s history and what many Americans believe to be a strong symbol of the American West.


Two wild mustangs affectionately lean onto one another, appearing grateful for their freedom at The Wild Horse Refuge near Craig, Colorado
Two wild mustangs affectionately lean into one another, appearing grateful for their freedom

The Wild Horse Refuge #thewildhorserefuge is asking those who care about these majestic creatures, or happen to be interested in protecting an important part of Colorado history, to go to their website at https://www.WildHorseRefuge.org to learn more. Additionally, for those who would like to tour of the Refuge, the website offers a way for individuals and groups to schedule visits.





Watch this episode of 60 Minutes which aired January 28, 2024 about the monumental effort by The Wild Animal Sancturay team, including Mr. Pat Craig, Founder and Executive Director and Monica Craig, to rehabilitate and remove animals from the shuttered Puerto Rico Zoo.




 

Equustyle Art & Travel magazine appreciates Mr. Pat Craig, Founder and Executive Director of The Wild Animal Sanctuary, providing us with such a well-written article and beautiful photographs of the wild horses presently at The Wild Horse Refuge. Consider taking a tour of The Wild Horse Refuge to see wild mustangs in the wild. And please make a donation to help more wild horses return to the wild.


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