Home of the Wilbur-Cruce Spanish Horse

Rancho Del Sueño

~ Welcome ~

There are few entities in this world as majestic and breathtaking as the Spanish horse.  Welcome to Rancho Del Sueño.  We are the equine division of the Heritage Discovery Center,  a registered 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of the critically endangered Wilbur-Cruce Spanish Horse.  Our mission is to save this extraordinary breed from extinction. 

The Cruce Horses are direct descendants of those brought to the New World from Spain in the early 16th century and are an integral part of the southwest's early history.  The foundation stock of our herd originated from Father Kino’s Mission Dolores in Sonora, Mexico and were brought up to the Pimería Alta, the area made up of Southern AZ and Northern Sonora, Mexico.  These horses bear a striking resemblance to those depicted in the Baroque art following the Renaissance period and are more like the original horses of Spain than the breeds that exist in Iberia today.

Rancho Del Sueño is a 40 acre conservation and visitation center.   Feel free to inquire about visiting these unique and fascinating horses, or ask about participating in our equine assisted learning (EAL) or wellness programs.  Email us at hdc.ranchodelsueno.@gmail.com or give us a call at (559) 868-8681 for further information.

“They were our companions from sun up to sundown and sometimes deep into the night, year in and year out. 

They had speed, stamina, courage, and intelligence.”


~ Eva Antonia Wilbur-Cruce

The Wilbur-Cruce Spanish Horses are CRITICALLY ENDANGERED and on the BRINK OF EXTINCTION!  There are now LESS THAN 200 of these historically significant horses left in existence.  Rancho Del Sueño is the ONLY facility with enough genetic diversity in this breed to save them from extinction. 

A recent DNA study executed by Dr. E. Gus Cothran of Texas A & M University shows remarkable findings involving the Wilbur-Cruce Horses at Rancho Del Sueño.  LEARN MORE

Save the Cruce Horses

It costs $200 per day to feed the horses at Rancho Del Sueño.

All contributions are greatly appreciated and will directly fund our conservation program.  We are a registered 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization.  All donations are tax-deductible.

  Thank you for your support.

Now more than ever we are in need of funding. Without sufficient support soon, we will be unable to continue our conservation program and this valuable gene pool will be lost forever. 

“The Spanish Colonial Cruce horses are a most significant discovery of a type of horse thought to be gone forever.”

~ D.P. Sponenberg, DVM, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Pathology & Genetics

Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine

“The Wilbur-Cruce Horses have been maintained in a thoughtful and planned manner and this has allowed for almost all the genetic diversity that was present when the herd was recovered in 1989."

~ C. Gus Cothran, Ph.D.

Director, Equine Genetics Lab

Texas A&M University

Equine Assisted Life Enhancement for Veterans
No other animal has played so great a role in the history of warfare as the horse. For thousands of years, nations have risen and fallen by the participation of the horse. In recognition of the long and illustrious relationship between the horse and the branches of the American military, we salute this enduring relationship.

Today, horses have a vitally important role in continuing to serve our veterans returning with physical and emotional wounds and to their families. Horses help our heroes heal through experiencing the joy, peacefulness, solace, compassion and unconditional love that the horses have to offer. This creates special relationships, companionship, and bonds that is necessary in every facet of life.

Our Veteran programs offers an opportunity for our heroes and their families to overcome their fears and build a confident lifestyle. Whether suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), physical wounds, the invisible wounds of war or the stress of frequent deployment, horses help reconnect families and build relationships.

Email us for more details on how our horses and staff can help.

DNA Results

Recently, the horses at the Heritage Discovery Center's equine division, Rancho Del Sueno, were DNA tested by Dr. Gus Cothran of Texas A&M University. The results indicate the validity of the oral and written history of the Wilbur-Cruce Colonial Spanish Horses.

The DNA testing showed that the statement of the Wilbur-Cruce's isolation is in fact accurate. The results were conclusive that these horses are legitimate, purebred descendants of the Old Spanish breeds and the North African Barb (Algerian, Asturcon, and Losino) and likely to be more precise representations of the horses of the Golden Era of Spain than exist in Iberia today.

Remarkably, the DNA results show the presence of ancient breeds including the Caspian, Turkoman, and Akhal-Teke. It is not normal for DNA results to show these earlier types, says Cothran. These horses are like a genetic time capsule. These findings are unprecedented and exciting essentially an equine Jurassic Park.

The Wilbur-Cruce horses represent a population of horses that were believed to have been extinct for centuries. They are the type of equine that many modern breeds are descended from, including the well-known Iberian breeds, the Andalusian, Pure Raza Espanol, and Lusitano.

It is also important to note that the Wilbur-Cruce have retained the physical traits and character attributes that were most likely present in the equine species long ago during a time when horses lived and worked in close proximity to humans in daily life. In this sense, these horses are entirely unique and fascinating, and represent an irreplaceable genetic resource for the further influence of equine breeds.

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There are few entities in this world as majestic and breathtaking as the Spanish horse.

Welcome to Rancho Del Sueño.

We are the equine division of the Heritage Discovery Center,

a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation

of the critically endangered Wilbur-Cruce Spanish Horse.

Our mission is to save this extraordinary breed from extinction.