Return to Freedom Opening Day

Return to Freedom Opening Day

May 4, 3-6:30pm
Return to Freedom Opening Day
Return to Freedom Wild Horse & Burro Sanctuary
4115 Jalama Road
Lompoc, CA  

Join us for the opening day to the 2024 program season and Spirit's birthday! Celebrate with us at the Return to Freedom sanctuary headquarters in Lompoc with a Native American blessing of the horses and land, beautiful items for sale in our store, eclectic locavore food and wine pourings from Flying Goat and other local wineries. Meet Spirit and the whole Return to Freedom team and get a personal photo with Spirit! A staff-guided walking tour of the sanctuary with some time for herd observation along the way will be included as time allows. 

Spirit was the muse and model for the artists and animators during the making of the 2002 DreamWorks animated feature film, "Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron." Animators needed to create realistic movement on screen, and needed to find a horse that embodied the characteristics and movements needed to tell the story of the wild mustang. Spirit was selected by the animation directors because of his beautiful conformation, wide-set eyes, and thick, wavy, multi-colored mane and tail. An Emmy Award-winning spinoff for small children, "Spirit: Riding Free," has now run for eight seasons on Netflix.

In April 2002, after the completion of the film, DreamWorks selected Return to Freedom's Wild Horse Sanctuary to be Spirit's new home, where he serves as a prominent ambassador. Spirit is not only a wonderful representation of the Kiger mustangs, he also serves to engage youth and adults alike worldwide to know about the existence, history and plight of America’s wild horses and burros.

Return to Freedom operates the American Wild Horse Sanctuary which is home to over 400 mustangs and burros in four California locations. Spirit lives at RTF’s headquarters on a 300 acre ranch in the Jalama Valley outside of Lompoc, California. He spends his days exploring large pastures at the Sanctuary and enjoying new friends. 

In 2018, the EQUUS Foundation inducted Spirit into its Horse Stars Hall of Fame. In Spirit's introduction, the Foundation wrote, "Spirit the horse, the movie, and the TV series have served as the gateway to the world of horses for children and adults and specifically wild horses who embody a uniquely American sense of freedom and a key place in our country's history and culture." 

Purchase tickets here


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