Sky Mountain Wild Horse Sanctuary

 About Sky Mountain Wild Horse Sanctuary

About Sky Mountain Wild

The Sky Mountain Mustang Band & the Sanctuary

        The mustangs that inspired the creation of Sky Mountain Wild Horse Sanctuary were rounded up and removed from the Jarita Mesa Wild Horse Territory in the Carson National Forest in the early spring of 2007. We adopted Sun, Moon, Fire and Luna based on their poor appearance and apparent family band connection. These mustangs were gaunt and ragged from starving during a bitterly cold, snowy winter out in the forest, and their future looked bleak. Wild horses roam together in family bands, forming deep bonds, and we wanted to keep members from the same band together. Moon and Fire are mother and foal, and they had been gathered with their band mates Sun and Luna. Luna gave birth to Starlight shortly after adoption, bringing the number in the band to 5. At Sky Mountain Wild, we are committed to adopting mustangs whose futures are the most threatened. Once these wild horses become part of the sanctuary, they run free together for the rest of their natural lives. Sky Mountain Wild is a no-kill, non-breeding organization committed to an ethic of life-long, free-roaming sanctuary for mustangs to ensure the highest quality of life for adopted wild horses. 

        Sky Mountain Wild Horse Sanctuary is working with sanctuary members and partners from across the country to keep wild horses healthy and running free forever. Headquartered in northern NM, the sanctuary celebrated its sixth year of operation in 2014. At the heart of all that we do at Sky Mountain Wild is our vision of wild places where wild horses live free and thrive as part of a healthy ecosystem. Our mission is to protect mustangs by providing a haven where threatened mustangs roam while engaging in humane, science-based action to keep more mustangs free in the wild. We at Sky Mountain Wild believe that through creating connections between wildlife, wild habitat, and humans, a better world is possible. The sanctuary is a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation, inspected and licensed by the New Mexico Livestock Board and registered in good standing with the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office and the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission. Our work is supported through the generosity of our members and partners, as well as the hard work of our volunteers.

Mustangs in New Mexico and the West

        At the heart of our work at Sky Mountain Wild Horse Sanctuary is a different vision for wild horses, a vision in which they remain free in numbers healthy for them and for the land on which they roam.  Wild horses have been regularly removed from their home territories in New Mexico and still are removed throughout the western U.S. to reduce herd numbers. The maximum number of horses allowed in Wild Horse Territories and Herd Management Areas, called the appropriate management level (AML), is set by the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management who manage public lands where wild horses roam. AML is based on factors such as range condition, drought, water, and the number of privately-owned livestock permitted to graze on these lands. Mustangs that are not adopted after roundups are sent to holding facilities managed by the Bureau of Land Management, where they may be offered again for adoption, left to live in holding facilities, or end up at slaughter.

       It is difficult to know the number of wild horses left in New Mexico – they don’t exactly stand still for counting. What we do know is that their numbers are dwindling, here and throughout the west. The Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act was passed in 1971 in response to the shooting, poisoning and capture for slaughter of wild horses and burros in the west. The Act was designed to provide federal protection for these native species. In the early 1970s, government agencies estimated that there were approximately 6,000 wild horses on public lands in New Mexico. Today, the Forest Services and the Bureau of Land Management estimates are that less than 600 wild horses remain on public lands in our state. Wild horses in 5 of the 8 designated wild horse territories in New Mexico have been removed, and wild burros have been eliminated from designated territories.

Our vision

        Our vision for Sky Mountain Wild Horse Sanctuary is permanent sanctuary of thousands of acres in northern New Mexico where wild horses run free throughout their lives. We are sustainably growing the organization to ensure a high quality haven for wild horses rounded up and removed from their home territories here in New Mexico while working to keep more mustangs free in the wild. We welcome visitors from all over the country, and our future intention is to share the sanctuary with children through experiential education.



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