The Great Escape Mustang Sanctuary found its legs to stand and run with the vision and passion of Gerhard K. Sander. We dedicate the sanctuary to him and will carry on in his name and in his honor. He is greatly missed everyday, but his spirit is guaranteed to live on through the horses we save and the hard work we all do. Today, carrying on his dream and vision is his proud daughter Michelle Sander, along with the expertise and helping hands of the Great Escape team. Our team is comprised of many dedicated individuals volunteering their time, energy and lives to the horses that need us so badly. If what we’re doing calls to you, please jump in and join us…it takes a village. There is much negativity out there surrounding the care and management of the mustangs, thank you for being a positive part of the change.
Stephanie is the owner of Infinity Horsemanship, the Head Trainer & Equine Manager at GEMS and an accomplished horse developer in the Denver area. Though she has loved and appreciated every interaction with equines, she has a particularly strong love and admiration for the Mustang. Stephanie got her first Mustang at age 12 – a mare from the Little Bookcliffs HMA who she performed at events, parades, rodeos, etc., while reshaping people’s perception of the breed. Stephanie dedicated her years growing up in Grand Junction as an active member of the Friends of the Mustangs. With this club, Stephanie had the opportunity to immerse herself in education and participation with on-range herd management, fertility control, horse tracking, and gathers.
Since then, through partnerships with sanctuaries, rescues, and the Mustang Heritage Foundation (MHF), Stephanie has worked with hundreds of wild Mustangs and has dedicated her life to placing these horses in appropriate homes and providing support for new Mustang owners and the partnerships with their Mustangs.
Stephanie manages all of our equines and our MHF TIP Storefront Program, trains new horses and educates people interested in learning the skills of wild horse development.
+ you can reach Stephanie at firstname.lastname@example.org
As her greatest friend and greatest teacher, Michelle’s father taught her a respect for animals, respect usually only reserved for other humans. Growing up alongside horses, the passion for Michelle started at an early age. For her father, it had been his lifelong dream. Providing a sanctuary for those in need…for the Mustangs. Tragically, he passed away before he could see even one horse on his land, but before he left this earth, Michelle made a promise to him to carry on his dream and the Great Escape Sanctuary was born.
Sharing in this passion to preserve and to protect the wild ones, Michelle and her team are working to create a successful model of support that others can follow. They strive to educate people from all ages and backgrounds, as well as provide them the opportunity to rediscover their connection to the earth and all creatures through the horse.
Michelle, along with her husband and 2 children have their own personal herd of Mustangs at home with their burros, chickens, dogs and cat. For this family, GEMS is a part of their life in every way.
In 2013, Michelle received a certification for “Remote Delivery of PZP Immunocontraception in Wildlife” from the Science and Conservation Center in Billings, MT and utilizes that information and knowledge to collaborate with the Bureau of Land Management and the GEMS on-the-range support program, the Sand Wash Advocate Team.
+ you can reach Michelle at email@example.com
Petra grew up working with horses in the Czech Republic. Her passion is eventing but she truly loves any time spent around horses. Being a wildlife photographer is what brought her to the Sand Wash Basin where she would spend all of her free time capturing the life of the wild mustangs. As soon as she learned about GEMS and the all around model to support and promote BLM mustangs she knew she wanted to help.
+ you can reach Petra at firstname.lastname@example.org
Dale’s addition to the team has been life changing for GEMS. His background as an accomplished craftsman, builder, artist, fabricator, welder, creator…the list goes on, has been an incredible gift to the organization and our facilities. Dale has single handedly expanded and completed our retreat center, adding innovative and unique touches making it an incredible experience for all, as well as completing horse facility projects and overall ranch maintenance. He is an invaluable part of our team, as well as a great friend to the animals, and we are so grateful for him.
Neil came to GEMS along with Petra and the two of them make a wonderful duo in support of our mission and goals. We are grateful for all that Neil does for the ranch, the organization and the horses.
Carson has been a part of GEMS since the beginning and is taking his growing knowledge of natural horsemanship and lending a hand to our training endeavors. In 2017, Carson begun his own training and farrier business, CSF Horsemanship, out if his home in Longmont, Colorado. Carson’s mentor, Jessica Dabkowski of Pony Peak Stangmanship from La Porte, Colorado, has given him invaluable insight, tools and knowledge that he is able to pass along to every horse and adopter/owner he has the opportunity to work with.
+ you can reach Carson at email@example.com
Stella has been photographing and visiting Sand Wash Basin for many years and knows the land, the herds and the individual horses comprehensively. Exploring the back roads and 2-tracks with her sister Angie Seipp, this duo bring an incredible wealth of knowledge to the team. Both Stella and Angie have received a “Remote Delivery of PZP Immunocontraception in Wildlife” Certification from Dr. Jay F. Kirkpatrick after completing the on-site training course at the Science and Conservation Center in Billings, MT in 2014. Stella is the SWAT Field Manager and as the lead darter, works directly with the BLM in darting efforts, as well as trains all new volunteers, teaching them how to apply their darting certification knowledge specifically to strategies of darting in the SWB HMA.
+ you can reach Stella at firstname.lastname@example.org
Preston, a natural self-starter, is eager and willing to help out wherever he can. He is enthusiastic to share his knowledge and love of the mustangs and burros with all. He is a huge supporter of GEMS and is constantly bringing new ideas and ways for children to interact with the organization.
As Michelle’s husband, I guess he had no choice but to become our creative brain. Jay owns his own successful Design Consultancy/Agency called Angry Bovine and has been creating beautiful ways for people to express who they are and what they do for many years….his skills in visual communication are incredible and we are so grateful to have him be a part of the team in this way and for making us look really good!