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In 2016 a program in South Dakota was failing and the lives of 907 wild horses were placed in jeopardy, which meant that they were destined to go to slaughter.
Barbara Rasmussen our Founder/Director volunteered drive to South Dakota to take pictures of the horses to create an album of their pictures so that potential adopters could see the horses.
She knew at that time one of the herds located there were from Arizona and had been renamed The Gila Herd Wild Horses. These horses hold a very special place in Barbara's life due to her growing up in southern Arizona in the 1950s and 1960s where she witnessed them running wild and free. Her father had actually purchased one of the horse from a local rancher who had rounded them up. This horse became known as Suzy. The little horse that would shape Barbara's future in ways that no one would ever imagine.
Staying in South Dakota for 5 days taking pictures and on the 4th day to finally see the horses of her childhood in such despair reached deep into her soul. She walked amongst them and made a promise to them that they would be saved. And that she would do everything in her power to bring them home to Arizona
Once home Barbara received another phone call asking if she could return to South Dakota for 2 weeks. The two weeks turned into 3 months away from home and family. Strictly volunteer work overseeing adoptions of 270 wild horses.
Plans were set in motion  to find a sanctuary for them. Our 501 C 3 organization was founded in December 2016 with the mission to Bring Them Home To Arizona, 
In January 2017 plans were in place to transfer the Gila Herd to a sanctuary in California. They made that journey and are now living free on 1100 acres but this arrangement is only temporary.
Our Philosophy

The Gila Herd Foundation of Arizona was formed to ensure these horses are never separated from their family groups, or have any more uncertainty in their futures. 

Our History

The Gila Herd Foundation of Arizona was founded by Barbara Joe Rasmussen to preserve and protect Arizona’s heritage herd. The Gila Herd Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt public charity as determined by the Internal Revenue Service.

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