Save The Wilbur-Cruce Spanish Horse

Save The Wilbur-Cruce Spanish Horse

Your donation can save the Wilbur-Cruce Spanish Horse from extinction! We need immediate financial assistance to aid in the preservation of these rare and endangered horses. These magnificent equines are in urgent need of shelter, feed, and veterinary care. What is the Wilbur-Cruce Spanis... Read More

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Your donation can save the Wilbur-Cruce Spanish Horse from extinction!

We need immediate financial assistance to aid in the preservation of these rare and endangered horses. These magnificent equines are in urgent need of shelter, feed, and veterinary care.

What is the Wilbur-Cruce Spanish Horse?

The Wilbur-Cruce horses are direct descendants of the horses used in the Spanish exploration of the Americas.

They leapt into the public spotlight in 1989 when the southern Arizona ranch on which they had lived for over 130 years was sold. Top equine geneticists were brought in to examine the horses, and verified the owner’s claim that the horses originated from stock bred to supply the missions in early Mexico and America.

Currently, about one-third of the Wilbur-Cruce population is being conserved at Rancho del Sueno in Central California, and supported by the non-profit Heritage Discovery Center (HDC).

Why are they important?

There are less than 200 Wilbur-Cruce horses left in the world.

According to the geneticists, these horses are a “genetic time capsule” and preservation is critical.

Genetic studies on these horses have revealed:

    • A DNA timeline dating back to indigenous Iberian and North African horses used as far back as the Roman era through the Spanish exploration
    • Ancient genetics containing no breeds developed in the modern era
    • No genetic markers for the Arabian, the foundation for many other breeds
    • Unique and irreplaceable characteristics rarely found in other horses

    The Wilbur-Cruce horses descend from horses bred to enable explorers and settlers survive harsh conditions, and are unlike the modern breeds bred for pleasure. Their ability to face adversity, adapt to unfamiliar situations, and form deep and trusting relationships with their owners is unmatched by modern horses.

    That remarkable character is combined with a strikingly beautiful Old World appearance. Bearing coat colors and patterns rarely found in today’s horses, they look as though they stepped out of a 17th century European painting.

    As the original horse of the Vaquero, Wilbur-Cruce are highly suitable for both ranch work and performance purposes. Their intelligence and quiet temperament also make them ideal for use as educational history ambassadors as well as equine therapy horses.

    The Wilbur-Cruce horse is an important part of this nation's heritage, and its unique DNA makes it highly valuable to the genetic improvement of modern breeds.

    Why should you help?

    Robin Collins has dedicated the past 30 years to preserving the last remaining breeding group of Wilbur-Cruce horses. Her horses have participated in historical re-enactments, documentaries, and films, entertained school children, and have been featured in the Rose Parade.

    Her educational programs, along with funding from donors, have supported the care and feeding of the horses throughout this time.

    But in recent years, her life has become increasingly difficult, both emotionally and financially.

    In 2010, Robin had to scale back her fundraising and educational efforts when she became the full-time caregiver for her elderly parents and a family friend, all to whom she provided in-home hospice care for several years before they passed.

    Since losing her mother this past summer, Robin, now age 75, has struggled to get back on her feet. Her efforts to re-establish her educational programs—including equine therapy for veterans and abuse victims—have been hampered by an onslaught of veterinary emergencies, tractor, truck, and well repairs, and a lack of donations.

    With 50 horses—nearly one-third of the existing Wilbur-Cruce population—Robin is in desperate need of financial assistance. Her days are spent scrambling for enough money to keep the ranch running and the horses fed. She frequently faces each day not knowing how she’s going to pay for that evening’s feed, and regularly goes without necessities herself.

    What will your donation be used for?

    Number one­: hay and feed for the horses. They are always at the top of the list.

    Veterinary and hoof care is number two. Again, the horses are the priority.

    The remainder of the funding will be used to revitalize the educational and therapeutic programs, which will in turn generate income to secure the horses’ future.

    Robin’s vision of providing a safe, healing environment in which veterans, abuse victims, and women in need can find solace from the soft touch of horse is a continuing goal. Building relationships with horses can empower people in other areas of their lives. The Heritage Discovery Center and Rancho del Sueno provide the ideal venue for these efforts.

    She has the ranch and facilities, surrounded by the beautiful Sierra Nevada foothills.

    She has 60 years of experience and knowledge as a horsewoman.

    She has the gracious and loving Wilbur-Cruce horses to help her reach people in need.

    All she needs now is your help to make it all come together.

    We need your help

    The future of the Wilbur-Cruce horses is in jeopardy. If Robin is forced to sell the ranch and disband this last remaining breeding group, it’s doubtful this unique strain of horses can retain its genetic integrity. These ancient genes with their Old World characteristics are at risk of fading into obscurity, and one of the last remaining horses to explore the New World will be gone.

    In the words of the Equus Survival Trust . . . Extinction is forever.

    * * *

    Thank you for your interest in the Wilbur-Cruce Spanish Horses. For more information, please visit


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    Save The Wilbur-Cruce Spanish Horse

    $400 of $50,000

    raised from 6 people

    Save The Wilbur-Cruce Spanish Horse

    Robin Collins, on behalf of

    Heritage Discovery Center, Inc

    Preserving the Wilbur-Cruce Spanish Horse is crucial. "The Cruce population is the most significant discovery of a type of horse thought to be gone forever. It is not normal for DNA results to show these earlier types…These horses are like a ‘genetic time capsule’." Please help us preserve them now!

    Robin Collins

    Robin Collins legendary career as a horsewoman began with the fabled Jimmy Williams in Flintridge, CA, and continued as an international hunter-jumper trainer with husband Richard Keller. In 1990, Robin became a primary conservator of the Wilbur-Cruce Spanish Horses and formed the non-profit HDC.

    Madera, California

    Recent Donations

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      Brian Sexton

      5 months ago

    • $25.00

      Karen Chillcott

      5 months ago

      I am hoping if people check the link and see I donated, they will too. Sending prayers for you and the horses!

    • $10.00


      5 months ago

      Friend of Rhonda Morgan

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      Tommi Barnes

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    • $150.00

      Cara Drouin

      6 months ago

      from the Gotland ponies

    • $5.00

      Hobie G.

      6 months ago

      For the horses