It is in the shelter of each other that the people live
Irish proverb

Dear friends of ours gifted us recently with a lovely book called Shelter by poet Margaret Hasse and artist Sharon DeMark. Our friends kindly dedicated the book with the following inscription:

To Rebecca and Mark, who know and give shelter so generously.

The concept of shelter is close to our hearts: shelter for horses, for dogs, for humans — and often the damaged, the broken, the unloved — those beings who need the security and healing power of shelter the most. This lovely book, Shelter, encompasses that spirit of sanctuary, security, safety — and a sense of belonging: all things we strive for at Wilderwood.

Two poems stood out for us in this book, for their relevance to our mission at Wilderwood did not go unnoticed! The first is called “Pathway” and the second is “Bivouac.” We would like to share them here.


Trust a route that
people and animals make.
Many have walked here
where plants dwindle
to bare ground.
Whether it’s slim or wide,
sandy or earthen,
brick, pebbled, or plain,
choose a footpath through
the remote or the tame.
Avoid slashing
brush and bramble.
Let a path take you
somewhere gently, perhaps
to a new view of things.
A silver river in the valley
is also on its way.


In the dream he’s once again
a boy in the forest
encircled by tall trees
alone to fend for himself,
forage for kindling, start
a fire, unpack his survival kit,
prepare for the night
by building a cone-shaped
shelter with long tree limbs.
Tips of evergreen branches
and dry leaves make a bed.
All his life he’ll love the smell
of crushed pine needles.
As he falls asleep he remembers
to thank the trees.

To celebrate Christmas and the concept of new life, we placed a precious little statue-being at what we call “the bow” of Wilderwood. When he arrived in his cardboard box we discovered, to our deep dismay, that both his front legs had been broken during his journey here. Damaged, he may well have been thrown aside as somehow not worthy of love and belonging. This was the story for Odie. This is the story for so many of us.

We took his little broken legs and lovingly glued them back together. Then, we carried him out to Wilderwood’s bow and laid him proudly on the wall in front of Wilderwood’s sign as a symbol of our program. This little foal represents new beginnings, growth and change, and the welcome and wonder of discovery, no matter the imperfections or broken past. He will watch over all who come here, remind us of the simplicity of innocence, and help protect this place of sanctuary, this place of safety, and this place of shelter.



As we move closer to our Volunteer Training Day and our amazing volunteers can have a better idea of the things that may be asked of them, we are providing links to job descriptions for the five volunteer areas.

Thank you to everyone who has volunteered so far! We are looking forward to seeing you in February and will be in touch again soon to finalize the Training Day details!

Here’s a young equestrian who has it right: a poodle AND a pony!



Several of our followers told us they saw us on KRQE Channel 13, but since that time have been unable to view the story. So, we are posting a link to the lovely work KRQE News reporter Anna Padilla did in helping bring attention to Wilderwood’s program and the work we do.

Wilderwood on KRQE Channel 13



Excited to be finally opening the program after COVID delays. Our semester will start in March 2021. To prepare our volunteers for the tasks ahead, Volunteer Training will take place in February 2021.

A HUGE thank you to U.S. Eagle Federal Credit Union for the grant to help support our Volunteer Training Day! So excited to have you with us at Wilderwood.

Volunteer Training will involve a day-long event with a program of activities, learning sessions, Volunteer T-shirts, and all the information you’ll need to make a HUGE difference in the lives of autistic adults and the beautiful horses at Wilderwood.



Filming is underway on the Wilderwood documentary. We are very excited to be working with such an accomplished director and are enjoying watching this project start to come together. Below are some photos from yesterday’s filming session. More to come soon!



We are so incredibly grateful for the generosity of others: this week, receipt of another scholarship grant (!) as well as a donation of beautiful saddles, saddle racks, and assorted tack and equipment from the lovely Jan and Allan Herrbach. Amazing donors who believe in this mission and its goals. We are beyond blessed.

Our Volunteer Training is on target to be delivered from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on February 20, and we are already receiving applications for our program that will begin in March.

Hautism in Strides!


Very proud and excited to announce that our article, “Hautism,” has been published in PATH International’s Strides! magazine.

A couple of editorial corrections … Wilderwood is located in Peralta, New Mexico (not “Peralita”) and even though our preference is to refer to autistic people (not people with autism), the editorial house-style of the magazine was used instead.

The School of Lightness

The School of Lightness

We are very fortunate here at Wilderwood as we bring along Vivaldi and Desperado (Viv and Des) to be receiving assistance from instructor James Riedeman, one of only a handful of licensed instructors in the USA in the principles of the Ecole de Légèreté (trans. the “School of Lightness”).

Here is a video that features our instructor James (among others) participating in the Teachers’ Course for Ecole de Légèreté last fall in California. We are so lucky to have this opportunity to work with James and learn this beautiful way of developing a gentle, light, and lovely partnership with our horses.

Watch instructors from the Ecole de Légèreté (“School of Lightness”)
Vivaldi and Desmond in the beautiful dawn light after an early morning training session in the roundyard.