The Great Escape Mustang Sanctuary

Within the past 8 years of operation, our model of support has been so effective that we have been able to facilitate close to 500 adoptions, as well as offer a permanent sanctuary home to 38 mustangs and burros.

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General Information

Official Name
The Great Escape, Inc.​​​​​​​
DBA/Trade Name(s)
The Great Escape Mustang Sanctuary
Former Name(s)
Date Established
Offers Additional Colorado State Tax Credit
Tax ID
Headquarters Address
42132 Ridge Road
Deer Trail, CO 80503
Colorado Location
Mailing Address
Other Address
42132 Ridge Road
Deer Trail, CO 80503

3980 Broadway Street
Suite 102-102
Boulder, CO 80304
Main Phone Number
Fax Number
Other Phone Number
Social Media Links

Mission Statement

We offer education and awareness about mustangs and burros, collaborate to support wild horses on the range and provide, training, adoptions and sanctuary to those in need.

We promote and preserve the mustang as a revered icon and encourage the value of the equine-human relationship.

The Great Escape Mustang Sanctuary (GEMS) is an innovative model working with the Bureau of Land Management and other key organizations for both on range and off range collaboration for healthy herds, lands, and homes for mustangs.

Off range, GEMS provides training and adoption of Mustangs and Burros, while providing a sanctuary for those animals in need. We foster a connection with children and adults through community outreach, tours, field trips, overnight retreat programs, therapeutic programs and clinics in order to increase public awareness and education.

On range, our organization is responsible for herd documentation, fertility control, gather support and promotion of proper wild horse management. 

Organization History

The Great Escape Mustang Sanctuary found its legs to stand and run with the vision and passion of Gerhard K. Sander.

He was a man that yearned to be in nature and with horses and would steal away to do so at any opportunity. Camping in the backcountry, living with the land and being with the horses were some of his greatest passions. His life mission and dream was to give back to those that had taught him so much. When he finally reached the age of retirement, he began to make this dream a reality. He bought a beautiful piece land that could be enjoyed by those in need. He was going to start a sanctuary... for the mustangs.

Tragically, he passed before he could see even one horse on his land, but before he left this earth, his daughter Michelle Sander, promised him that she would carry on.

The Great Escape Mustang Sanctuary is dedicated to Gerhard and will carry on in his name and honor. He is greatly missed everyday, but his spirit is guaranteed to live on through the horses we save.


The Great Escape Mustang Sanctuary (GEMS) is a unique organization that combines advocacy and education, while simultaneously providing a home for American Mustangs, Spanish Mustangs, as well as wild burros in need.

I first became involved with the GEMS organization, as an intern. I was impressed by GEM's mission to help reduce the numbers of Colorado mustangs in holding facilities and by their vision of working with the Colorado BLM to reduce the need for round-ups by promoting fertility control on the range through GEMS on-range program The Sand Wash Advocate Team (SWAT).

I truely believe in this organizations ability to help Colorado mustangs on the range and at the ranch. GEMS promotes mustangs by showcasing their versatility, strength, and sure footedness to the Colorado community through education, advocacy and mustang adoptions.

GEMS provides long term homes for Colorado mustangs like Regal G, a Sand Wash Basin stallion that after nine years of living free on the range crossed the herd management area boundary, was rounded up, and brought to the holding facility in Canon City. Regal G was given a second chance when he was adopted by GEMS and brought to their 900 acre ranch in eastern Colorado. After going through training, it was decided that he was a good candidate for living wild on their sanctuary pasture, where he is thriving today.

GEMS is devoted to the worthy cause helping Colorado's wild horses both in the wild and once the mustangs are rounded up. The GEMS team does an outstanding job working to help Colorado's mustangs.

- GEMS intern & Conservation Biology student

Key aspects of this profile information have been reviewed by Community First Foundation staff. Each organization is exclusively responsible for the content that appears on the profile page. Community First Foundation offers general guidance as to the purpose of each area but does not require or encourage charities to include anything in particular in each section.