Return to Freedom, American Wild Horse Sanctuary, Lompoc

#11 of 24 in Things to do in Lompoc
Farm · Hidden Gem · Tourist Spot
Our Model of Solution-Based, Non-Intrusive Wild Horse Management

Return to Freedom is a national nonprofit wild horse conservation organization dedicated to preserving the freedom, diversity and habitat of America's wild horses through sanctuary, education, advocacy and conservation.

Return to Freedom has long been a player in the fight while coming from a very unique position. Not only does RTF have a nationally respected voice for advocacy, we also operate the American Wild Horse Sanctuary with over 500 wild horses and 44 burros.

On 2300 acres on the Central Coast of California, our herds live in large pastures where they are free to maintain the natural behaviors and social structure they knew in the wild. RTF has also leased 1800 acres of pasture and rangeland in Northern California.

Because we allow our equine residents to maintain their natural lifestyle and social behaviors, we must manage population growth. For us, managing population growth by separating mares and stallions is not a solution as that separates family bands, disrupts natural behaviors and undermines the natural lifestyle of wild horse herds. Castrating stallions into geldings is not an option as that disruptsnatural behaviors and in some herds depletes an already threatened genetic pool. To manage population growth in an ethical and sustainable manner, we administer a non-hormonal and reversible contraception to our mares under the guidance of Dr. Jay Kirkpatrick, Director of the Science and Conservation Center in Billings, MT. By utilizing this approach, we are able to maintain our horses in their natural bands without uncontrolled reproduction or habitat degradation.

"Return to Freedom's pioneering model represents a breakthrough in the humane and effective management of wild horses, allowing them to express the social organization and behaviors common to the species, without fear of uncontrolled reproduction."

-Dr. Jay Kirkpatrick, Director of the

Science & Conservation Center, Billings, MT
For Return to Freedom, American Wild Horse Sanctuary and beyond, use our Lompoc trip website to get the most from your Lompoc vacation.
Create an itinerary including Return to Freedom
© OpenMapTiles © OpenStreetMap contributors

Return to Freedom reviews

Rate this attraction
TripAdvisor traveler rating
TripAdvisor traveler rating 5.0
29 reviews
  • My 30 year old son, 20 year old daughter and I thoroughly enjoyed a very full day at the Return to Freedom Wild Horse Sanctuary. We applied to volunteer for 4 hours in the morning then a 4 hour...  more »
  • I visited the famed sanctuary after years of dreaming. Ever since the film Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron came out, I found out there was a real life "Spirit" living at the sanctuary, and...  more »
  • It is amazing to hear about what they are doing for these majestic creatures. The tour was awesome, but if you aren't able to come do a tour, please find other ways you can help them by going to their website.
  • What a Beautiful Place... Heaven Here on Earth.... for Horses & those that come to visit... Great Owner..Workers..Family & Friends, with a Great Plan & Purpose... So Thankful for hard working people with a heartfelt Purpose on Our Planet Return To Freedom!!! Gidyupp

Plan your trip to Lompoc

  • Get a personalized trip
    A complete day by day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it
    Refine your trip. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Manage it
    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.