On July 28, 1997 a star was born. From a tiny seed of hope a magnificent tree of life emerged and grew steadily into the sequoia it is today. Lifesavers Wild Horse Rescue dedicated its nonprofit mission to saving wild and domestic horses from abuse, neglect, and slaughter more than 20 years ago.
Beginning with just a handful of horses and a pocketful of change Lifesavers rallied supporters and donors to help give helpless horses a second chance at life. The organization specializes in the rescue, training, and care of American mustangs born wild on public and private lands, but includes domestic horses as well.
Lifesavers has been at the center of some landmark events including a Dwight Yoakam concert in 1998 where the entertainer donated his time and music to raise funds for the fledgling horse rescue group.
In 1999 when two marines were arrested for shooting and killing 34 wild horses in Nevada, Lifesavers initiated a letter writing campaign to the District Attorney asking for a swift trial and strong sentencing if the accusers were found guilty. They were convicted and the public pressure was credited for their jail sentence.
In 2003 125 wild mares and foals were rescued from an abandonment situation in Nevada. In 2006 and forward Lifesavers worked closely with the Nevada Dept of Agriculture where they captured Virginia Range horses and slated them for slaughter if not placed with a rescue. The organization saved as many as possible.
An historical abuse case happened in Alliance, Nebraska in 2009 where nearly 100 captive born-wild horses died of starvation and thirst. This was the largest animal abuse case in the history of Nebraska. Jill Starr, Founder of Lifesavers, was called in to be a first responder to help get the 200 survivors safely off the ranch. Lifesavers ended up bringing 23 of those starved horses to its rescue ranch.
And, in 2010 another historic rescue was orchestrated by Lifesavers. The group heard about 170 wild mustangs that were gathered by the Bureau of Land Management from a range in Nevada. The horses were transported to a notorious killer livestock auction house in nearby Fallon. It was certain that most, if not all, of those innocent wild horses would be purchased by slaughter brokers and sent to Mexico or Canada where their lives would end tortuously. A benefactor was contacted and the funds were donated to purchase every single mustang from that auction leaving all the killer buyers going home with empty trailers. To this day that was the largest single auction rescue performed by any horse rescue. Hundreds of other horses were saved from the same auction house that year including 500 Paiute Reservation horses, some of which became the beginning herd for Madeleine Pickens’ Mustang Monument Eco-resort.
Lifesavers Wild Horse Rescue made its first home at a modest desert property outside of Lancaster, California. As donor interest caught on Lifesavers was able to expand its facility and create a separate sanctuary property now known as Wild Horse Canyon in Caliente, California. Wild Horse Canyon consists of about 1000 acres of natural habitat where 300 previously rescued horses make their home. A total of 400 horses are currently under the care of the wild horse rescue. Training and adoption programs are managed at the original Lancaster facility while healing programs are offered to veterans and others at Wild Horse Canyon.
Lifesavers Wild Horse Rescue continues to broaden its vision, and plans are in the works to expand Wild Horse Canyon and consolidate the two properties into one. Wild Horse Canyon has already become the Headquarters and in the near future it will be the sole operations center for Lifesavers programs including rescue, care, training, adoption, and guest opportunities.
Donor support is essential in the success of all Lifesavers efforts. Tax deductible contributions can be made online via Network for Good or Paypal (links are on every page of the website: wildhorserescue.org. Donations may also be sent by mail to Lifesavers, Inc., 35700 Sand Canyon Rd, Caliente, CA 93518