Equine Division of Heritage Discovery Center, Inc.
“I educated and coached people of all different ages and cultural backgrounds for a physically and mentally challenging sport. Training for competition is a continual behavior learning and modification process for me as well as for them, not to mention the horses. Riding is a sport like no other, it combines two individuals in mind, body and soul…and they are different species. Horse and human must bond and agree to successfully complete a task in harmony of motion and timing. This must take place at a level of communication and understanding before a symbiotic/sympathetic act can take place. This develops a relationship/partnership that unites two individuals who depend and trust each other and maintain a silent language unique to the moment. (This is often referred to as ‘body language). Body language is the silent universal language studied by such great individuals as Jane Goodall and others who want to better understand the rich behavioral diversity of our planet. I share this passion for understanding our natural world; this knowledge helps us develop methods for sharing and preserving our world.”
In 1990 Robin was offered another incredible opportunity. A group of Spanish horses, descendants from the earliest period of the Spanish presence in the New World, were placed into a conservation program to preserve their rare and unique genetics and history. A large breeding group of these remarkable horses was trusted to her care.
“At that time I was living in Carmel and our show horses were located at the Laguna Seca Ranch in Monterey. I soon realized that the horses from the Wilbur-Cruce Mission strain of Spanish horse were incredible living history on the hoof!”
Robin felt the need for people to share in the magnificent history of the Spanish Colonial Wilbur-Cruce Horses. In 1992 she started a non-profit educational organization called the Heritage Discovery Center (HDC). Rancho Del Sueño is the equine division of HDC, specifically developed to educate the public about the diverse contributions that equines have provided for human development.
Robin realized that the genetic diversity of these horses needed to be recognized and documented officially so after much research she chose to contact the Spanish Barb Breeders Association Horse Registry. She invited the Directors of the SBBA registry to her ranch in Mokelumne Hill, CA where she presented to them the unique and important characteristics and history of the Cruce horses. After a year of exchanging information and personal examinations of the horses, the SBBA Board members voted and agreed to include the Wilbur-Cruce foundation horses in their registry.
“Generation after generation of these rare Spanish horses has proven that the history told about these horses is accurate and that they truly are living icons of a time past. To visit these horses is to step back in time when horses were a part of our daily lives and man was proud of his equine partner. These horses invite you into their social groups with enthusiasm and joy. Their character is generous and communicative as a dear friend would be. To know them is to feel their passion and spirit for life, as they make you part of theirs. To ride one of these intuitive horses is to experience someone knowing your every move/intent and desire, to frolic with the foals is to share time with your personal freedom, to share time with the mares is to witness unconditional love, and to be close with one of the stallions is to feel your unbridled spirit. Preservation of these unique equines time is a must.”
Today, Robin resides at Rancho Del Sueño where she has created a home for 52 Colonial Spanish horses and 22 rescue animals. She has recently established a team of professionals to assist in the development of Rancho Del Sueño’s educational and therapeutic programs, and to further promote the outstanding healing qualities that these animals have been offering to people suffering from trauma or desiring personal or spiritual growth.
Robin has always had a great compassion for animals. Thanks to her parents, she has always been in the companionship of animals and has been involved with horses since the age of three. “I cannot remember what made me so determined to have a horse, but at seven years of age, with money I had saved, I purchased my first horse. I loved them all any color, shape or size. And so I started to collect them, any color shape or size. Mom always said about my love of horses, “If it had four legs and moved it was a beautiful horse.”
Early on, she became a student of master horseman, Jimmy Williams, whom she worked with for over twenty years, riding and training performance horses for the Hunter/Jumper international circuit. For over thirty years, Robin remained at the top of her profession. Many of her students went on to become Olympic Level Competitors for teams from the USA, Canada and Mexico.
Robin Lea Collins
Rancho Del Sueño