Wild Burros

In Memory of Barbara Clarke, Co-Founder & Managing Director of DreamCatcher Wild Horse & Burro Sanctuary


Barbara Clarke

“Wild horses are not saddle horses in waiting.  They do not belong in our backyards, corrals or show rings.    They belong in the wild where they can be free and separate from humans.”                                                                             –  Barbara Clarke

Wild Horse Freedom Federation is sharing the Press Release (below) by the Board and Advisory Board of DreamCatchers on the passing of Barbara Clarke.   We also honor the work of Barbara Clarke by sharing the link to the archived Wild Horse & Burro Radio show (2/26/14) with Barbara as our featured guest HERE


Press Release
Sacramento, CA, (Nov. 28, 2016) – With heavy hearts, the Board of Directors of the DreamCatcher Wild Horse & Burro Sanctuary announce the passing of visionary leader, co-founder and Managing Director, Barbara Clarke, on Tuesday, November 22, 2016. With her inimitable spirit, she fought long and hard against serious illnesses over the last few years, but lost those battles and left us for greener pastures. She will be sorely missed by the wild horses and burros in her care and by all of her colleagues and friends throughout California and the nation.

After leaving a successful career in the high tech world, Barbara became Director of Redwings Sanctuary in Monterey County in the 90’s. She wrote and had published numerous articles on the meaning of sanctuary in a technological society, winning the prestigious San Jose Mercury News Silver Pen award. She was named one of nine influential women in animal welfare by Town and County magazine, was featured in the 2002 International Animal World Encyclopedia, and was on the Board of Directors of The Association of Sanctuaries. There she helped develop standards of care for wild and domestic horses and sanctuary business ethics.

Barbara moved to the 2,000-acre Lassen County ranch where DreamCatcher is presently located in 2003, fulfilling the vision & mission to create a natural and stimulating environment for wild (and a few domestic) equines. Her goal was to allow mustangs to rediscover their freedom and independence and to let the public experience what would be lost if roundups and adoptions continue. The sanctuary is home to more than 250 wild horses and 35 wild burros.

The Board and the Advisory Board of the sanctuary have rolled up their sleeves and are committed to taking all the necessary steps to keep Barbara’s vision and mission for DreamCatcher alive and well long into the future. These steps include stocking up on feed for the Winter, tending to all the administrative and ranch duties of the operation and beginning the search for a new Managing Director of the sanctuary.

The 300+ horses and burros in the sanctuary’s care are counting on the Board and, in turn, the Board is counting on and would be most grateful for the general public to help support the sanctuary during this important transition time. Tax-deductible donations in Barbara’s memory can be made at: http://www.dreamcatcherhorsesanctuary.org/

“Barbara was an incredible human being. She was thoroughly professional and at the same time a humble woman with an ambitious vision for how to create sanctuary for horses, burros and all forms of animal life. Barbara overcame obstacles that would have stopped most of us in our tracks and dedicated her entire life and all of her personal resources to DreamCatcher and the equine herds that call it home.” Robert Marsh, Director

“DreamCatcher began with the idea of a place where wild horses and burros could once again live free in a natural environment. Barbara kept the dream alive. Now with your help we can, too.” Deborah Ellsworth, Director and Co-Founder

For more information, contact Carla Bowers, Advisory Board Member, at 530-777-8003 or carla84bowers@yahoo.com or Robert Marsh, Director at (831) 601-1489 or rfmarsh@gmail.com

15 replies »

  1. May her legacy carry on with blessings and prayers. Thank God for people like Barbara who dedicate their lives for such worthy causes and making a difference.


  2. Rest in Peace Barbara. Now it’s for the next generation to carry the vision forward.

    A White Quiet

    Its quiet. A white quiet. A stillness shaped by a windless half-moon night and the snow fog that slowly settles down on our mile high valley. Its 10pm and I am walking the dogs as I prepare the waterlines for a night of sharp cold. All I hear as I walk is the crunch of my boots in the snow that blankets the ground and the muffled sound of my breathing against the inside of my parka.

    The stillness around me is absorbing. I stop in the middle of the dirt road, turn off my flashlight and listen. There is no noise. Nothing. No wind. No far off howls of hunting coyotes. No night birds or sounds of horses on the range. It is completely silent except for the sound of my beating heart.

    It is not often that one can enter a space so devoid of noise. For most of us some level of sound is always there. Even in the twilight of sleep there is a far off dog barking, an early morning garbage collection, the faint clicking of changing lights at an intersection, the muffled sound of motors and wheels on pavement on some unseen freeway, a nocturnal cat padding across a rooftop or the deep dream-filled breathing next to us or down the hall. Wave after wave of sound laps against our ear drums. An endless ocean of sonant matter.

    Before coming to this North East corner of California noise was a given. I never knew the profound importance of silence. How the silence allows the brain, indeed, the soul, to sift and separate the many things learned and experienced each day, pondering its travels, mixing, measuring, distilling everything down to a third element, revelation. And with revelation one can then journey with wisdom and some level of grace.

    The busy, chaotic, technical world we have created for ourselves makes it hard to get to this third element. There are just too few places where we can experience true silence. We cannot pause during the day and let the quiet roll over us. There is no natural quiet.

    I stand in the cold, listening to the silence, letting it settle over me like the snow fog has settled over our valley until the dogs find me again. Their happy whines and friendly sparring brings me back to the world of sound. I walk back to the house. My boots and breathing keeping me company with their regular cadence against a background of white

    Barbara Clarke


  3. “Wild horses are not saddle horses in waiting. They do not belong in our backyards, corrals or show rings. They belong in the wild where they can be free and separate from humans.”
    – Barbara Clarke



  4. I’m sorry that I never had the privilege of meeting Barbara. I do know she was an amazing woman that did amazing things and she will truly be missed. Another bright light gone. It just means we all need to pick up that torch and continue on with her fight.


  5. in the past year, i have been personally visiting horse sanctuaries…i went to lifesaver’s near bakersfield and black hills wild horse sanctuary in south dakota. this one was on my list, just sorry i didn’t make it up there to meet barbara before she passed away. she was an inspiration to me personally and i hope i can make a small dent in the plight of our wild ones! barbara, your work will continue and you can look down upon us with a smile…rest in peace.


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