Tierra Madre Sanctuary, in the words of the owner and founder Jim Gath, evolved more by chance then by design.

The ranch started out as a boarding facility when Jim moved from LA to Cave Creek, Arizona in 2004. In addition to being a home for Jim’s own small herd, Rancho Tierra Madre was a place where Jim taught riding and horsemanship lessons to interested people. Because of the extra room, other homeless horses came trickling in one by one: a young racer whose broken knee had ended his career (and nearly ended his life), a Quarter horse blind in one eye, show horses that had outlived their “usefulness”… they all had something in common: through no fault of their own, they simply had nowhere else to go.

One day Jim was talking to an acquaintance. In a moment of weakness, he lamented how much of his time and energy and funds were being taken up by his rescued horses.

Her response changed everything.

“But Jim,” she said, “you’re all they’ve got.”

It was all Jim needed. His real gift, he realized, was to love and care for horses that had been injured or abused or were simply misunderstood. He realized that he could give so many horses in need a second chance at life and at finding happiness. Tierra Madre Horse Sanctuary – once simply Rancho Tierra Madre-was established.

Today the ranch is home to usually around 30 horses from all walks of life. Just as our tagline suggests and just as we promise to each and every horse that walks through our gates, they are happy, healthy, healing and home.

With regard to the horses he has saved over the years, Jim says, “Our lives were meant to intersect at a certain place at a certain time. Tierra Madre Horse Sanctuary is that place and now is that time. And, “he adds, “we’re all having a ball.”

~ Jim Gath