Our Team

the people behind the mustangs

how it all began

The Great Escape Mustang Sanctuary & Training Center began with a vision and a life-long dream of Gerhard K Sander and since has evolved into an integral collaboration helping Mustangs in need, both on and off the range.

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 supporting us in making a positive change.

Meet The Team

Michelle Sander
Founder & Executive Director

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.

Stephanie Linsley
Head Trainer

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, and 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 the BLM, 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.

+ you can reach Stephanie at stephanie@greatescapesanctuary.org

Petra Kadrnozkova
Program Director

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 programs@greatescapesanctuary.org

Dale Peters
Facilities Manager

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.

Carson Sander-Ferracane
GEMS Trainer / Youth Ambassador

Carson is a certified MHF TIP Trainer and 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 csfhorsemanship@gmail.com

Preston Sander-Ferracane
GEMS Youth Ambassador

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.

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