“When we rode up the hill, my horses pace quickened and we arrived on the plateau. It was like a horse heaven seeing the wild horses in their world,” said Ron Smithson. Smithson, a self-proclaimed infrequent rider from Morgan Hill, California was bowled over by the beauty of the Shasta Cascade region and its connection with wild horses. Smithson joined me and several other riders for a weekend overnight horseback riding vacation with wild horses in Shingletown, California.
Situated amongst native oak trees and volcanic lava rock, The Wild Horse Sanctuary was started by Co-founder Dianne Nelson back in the 1970’s. “In 1975 the government wanted to thin the wild horse herd. After three years of contracting for the forest service and adopting out everything that was caught, there were still horses remaining that were going to be killed. In 1977 we rescued our first wild horse. We started catching the horses that hadn’t been adopted because we didn’t want to see them killed. We then started the sanctuary. It was a lot of people supporting us,” remembered Nelson.