She Rescues Wild Mustangs That Are Rounded-Up and Reunites Their Herds on Her Ranch

Clare Staples, a former Hollywood producer turned rancher, has dedicated her life to rescuing wild mustangs and burros from potentially abusive environments or slaughterhouses. She founded Skydog Ranch and Sanctuary on 9,000 acres of land, providing a haven where these animals can roam freely and stay with their families. Staples was moved by the plight of these wild horses, who are often separated from their herds during annual round-ups conducted by the Bureau of Land Management. Recognizing the trauma this caused, she set out to reunite horse families and offer them a sanctuary. Staples likens her work to that of a detective, tracking and reuniting horses through a network of photographers and volunteers who help identify and locate separated family members across ten western states.

The annual round-up of wild mustangs and burros is a contentious issue, with proponents arguing that these animals are invasive species disrupting native ecosystems, and opponents claiming that the round-up primarily serves ranching interests that compete for grazing land. While it is true that North American ecosystems evolved without horses after their extinction thousands of years ago, Staples believes the disruption caused by domesticated cattle far outweighs that of the wild equines. By establishing Skydog Ranch, Staples has created a sanctuary that embodies her vision of the West, where mustangs and burros can live in peace. With over 260 mustangs and 60 burros rescued, her efforts highlight the deep familial bonds among these animals and challenge the notion that humans are the only species capable of caring for their families. Through her passionate work, Staples offers a powerful testament to the importance of compassion and respect for all living beings.

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