Sheldon “Memoirs”

This page is being added to include letters we receive about Sheldon horses. We will be adding personal experience letters about visiting Sheldon horses and burros in the wild, roundups, holding and letters from adopters.

If you would like to add to our recollections before Sheldon horses and burros disappear forever send us an email at :

Sheldon Burros, Jessica Gardner

Sheldon Burros, Jessica Gardner

~~~From Jessica

June 4th, 2011 was my mom’s 65th birthday, and I wanted to celebrate it in a unique and special way. I remembered that she had mentioned that her friend went to Virgin Valley to look for fire opals and that it sounded very interesting. So I set up a mining adventure at the Royal Peacock mine located within Sheldon Wildlife Refuge. Little did we know how absolutely stunning the scenery was which awaited us, and we were thrilled. Lush green grasses of diverse species, a sea of yellow wildflowers, against the spectacular backdrop of painted buttes and mountains. The sight was breathtaking. We both agreed that Sheldon is one of, if not the most beautiful, area in all of Nevada. The highlight for both of us however, was a small group of burros and their adorable youngsters. We stopped the car and watched them for a long while. Their presence was a treat for both of us. We had a fantastic time at Sheldon and mining for opals too. I told everyone what an amazing trip it was, and recommended it highly.
Fast forward to August 2013. By now all the burros except for a few stragglers have been rounded up with helicopters and taken away to some mysterious place never to be seen again. Not only the burros but half the population of wild horses as well. Sheldon still has burro and horse crossing signs along the side of the highway, but by next year they can take them away. Sheldon will be devoid of all equines. And the landscape won’t be as special as it was to anyone who had the opportunity to see horses and burros there in the past. Not only that, but a once cherished memory of a beautiful place which made us proud to be Nevadans, is tarnished forever. I know that I will never return to Sheldon. Just like the horses and burros…
Sheldon horses being captured in 2013

Sheldon horses being captured in 2013

Cavalry remount station, horses await shipment (National Archives)

Cavalry remount station, horses await shipment (National Archives)

~~~ From Lona

I am a 70 year old grandmother and great grandmother, but I still remember when I was a young girl sitting on my grandfather’s lap as he showed me a picture of himself as a handsome young soldier. The picture has long since disappeared, but it is clearly imbeded in my memory.
Grandpa was standing, holding the bridle of a horse in a line along with about 8 or 10 other riders.  He told me that he had been a member of the last mounted Cavalry unit of WWI.  I was too young to know anything about the war, but it was a significant event for me as that started my life-long love of horses.
I just ran across your organization on FaceBook, and I immediately thought of the Sheldon horses as being descendants of the very horse my grandfather rode long ago.
While working on my family’s genealogy I found my grandfather’s military records on line, so I know this is true.
Thank you for the work you are doing to save the Sheldon Horses. They are truly a link to our country’s past that should be preserved for posterity.
~~~ From Laura
I have been visiting the Sheldon for years now. Sometimes I take visitors, most times I go alone.
Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge is one of the most beautiful places in the West. It is an incredible complete eco-system. A wonderful place to just “be.”
But the focal point of all of my visits was the time spent with the wild horses and burros. These horses were generally calm and I could literally sit close by and listen to them “just be.”
The burros of Sheldon would most often be near the highway. So close you could just pull over in your car and watch them.
One day in mid-summer I had my windows down. I stopped to change the card in my camera. My huge Bernese Mountain dog gave me a whimper from the backseat and I looked up…. to see the head of a burro come into my passenger side window, grab a carrot cookie off the seat, and pull her head back out.
The dog looked at me as if to say “ok, where is my cookie?”
I used to love driving into Sheldon. The last few years have shown changes in the roads with heavy truck traffic carrying mining equipment. Fewer and fewer horses every year. Hardly any babies born anymore as Sheldon used permanent sterilization on the horses. The last few years I have seen a bit less than a 5% birth rate.
I used to say “when I die I want to go to Sheldon.” Now? It’s no longer heaven… there are horses in heaven. Sheldon will be a beautiful place, that to me, will no longer have it’s American soul.

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