Redwings Horse Sanctuary: home for gentle giants

Friday, September 8th, 2023

horses in Paso Robles

Horses, ponies, and donkeys find a safe haven

—Redwings Horse Sanctuary was first founded in Carmel, CA in 1991 with the mission to end the abuse, neglect, and slaughter of horses, ponies, donkeys, mules, and burros. Redwings rescued 15 equines that first year. Since then, it has rescued, rehabilitated and provided permanent sanctuary and adoptive homes to hundreds of horses and donkeys.

Thanks to a generous trust bequest, Redwings was able to purchase a 141-acre property on Union Road in Paso Robles in 2015. A grand opening in September 2021 officially opened the gates to the new, permanent sanctuary for abused, abandoned and neglected equines. The property was designed specifically to meet the needs of the rescued horses.

The mission of Redwings Horse Sanctuary is to eliminate the causes of equine suffering through education and community outreach programs, to rescue abused and neglected equines, and to provide permanent sanctuary or selected adoptive homes for those equines. The new permanent location allows for increased educational outreach to local schools and the potential to build a future horse therapy program.

Paso Robles horse rescue

The need for sanctuary

There are a number of reasons that horses need a place of sanctuary and most of those reasons come down to the reality that horses are much harder to place than dogs and cats. What happens to larger animals desperately needing a secure place to live, due to abuse, neglect, or abandonment? The amount of space a horse needs, the cost involved in feed and care, and often the special handling and attention are not always easy to find.

Redwings is home to all kinds of horses and burros from the smallest miniature horses to the largest draft horses. Visitors can see a herd of burros, mustangs from Montana’s Pryor Mountains, or the regal draft horses watching over the ranch from their hilltop. The horses and burros in the care of Redwings include permanent residents who, due to age, illness, or injury are not adoptable and will live out their lives at the sanctuary. Others are available for adoption as companions or for adoption for riding.

The adoption program ensures that horses go to approved and loving homes. Those interested in adopting first fill out an adoption application and have a home inspection before being approved to adopt. During the first year of adoption, Redwings staff keep a close eye on the adopted horse and make sure they are happy, healthy, and a good fit for the new family.

Upcoming events

Redwings holds several educational and fundraising events throughout the year. This fall, take advantage of the Equine Photography Workshops with the Essence Captured Equine Photography Group.

The workshop is October 19th from 1-7 p.m. Learn equine photography techniques from three experienced photographers (Lori Sortino, Deb Hofstetter and Cathy Wallace) who have worked together since 2019. The workshop includes a review of equine photography, taking photographs in the shade of a barn and natural lighting and post-processing edits. After dinner, photograph the sanctuary’s horses in their pastures while the sun gets lower on the horizon.

To register and for more information, visit

An accredited nonprofit

Redwings Horse Sanctuary is an accredited 501(c) 3 non-profit horse rescue organization. Over the years since it was founded, Redwings has received accreditation from CARMA (California Race Management Account), TAA (Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance) and GFAS (Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries). The CARMA and TAA accreditation designate Redwings as an approved aftercare facility for retired racehorses. The GFAS is an international organization that provides certification for animal sanctuaries through verification and accreditation.

Redwings offers guided public tours, community volunteer opportunities with the horses, horse sponsorships, and a vibrant adoption program.

To make an appointment for a visit, learn more about Redwings,  volunteering, and the horses, or make a donation, visit, call (805) 237-3751, or email


About the Author