In every herd, there are those that stand apart from the rest because of their courage, strength and heart. It’s what makes them one of a kind, and Madeleine Pickens is no stranger to leading the charge as a businesswoman, animal welfare activist and philanthropist. Having grown up in Europe, Madeleine was captivated by the history of “The West” and upon immigrating to the United States in the 1970s, her passion for our country’s rich history and Native American culture has continued to grow.
Madeleine achieved a successful career in thoroughbred horse racing and breeding, during which Cigar, the famous thoroughbred, raced in Allen & Madeleine Paulson’s colors. Five years after Allen Paulson’s passing, Madeleine married T. Boone Pickens and her passion shifted to the preservation and retirement of these beautiful animals. Madeleine shared this passion with Boone and the couple led the fight to close the last horse slaughterhouse in the United States. Their work resulted in the passage of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act by the United States House of Representatives. In recognition of their efforts, in 2007 Madeleine and Boone received the Equine Advocates’ Safe Home Equine Protection Award.
During the disaster caused by Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, Madeleine watched the events unfold on television and set about organizing emergency aid for the multitude of homeless animals in New Orleans. She arranged and paid for aircraft to evacuate over 800 dogs and cats that were transported to the safety of many southern California shelters and humane societies. This experience motivated Madeleine to increase her involvement in animal rescue and specifically the preservation of the wild horse.
After the Bureau of Land Management announced in 2008 that the United States government was considering euthanasia and/or selling more than 30,000 wild Mustangs to slaughterhouses overseas, Madeleine announced plans to develop a sanctuary for the horses. On September 13, 2008, Madeleine was named ABC News “Person of the Week” for these efforts and announced the development of her charity “The National Wild Horse Foundation” later re-named “Saving Americas Mustangs” to fund the sanctuary and garner support for the cause. On March 3, 2009 she testified before the United States House of Representatives Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands in support of H.R. 1018, the Restoring Our American Mustangs (ROAM) Act. After purchasing her Foundation’s sanctuary in North Eastern Nevada, Madeleine saved over 600 Mustangs from slaughter. In appreciation of our servicemen and women, she also supports many military foundations such as the SOF Support Foundation, to support our American Special Operations Forces and their families.
Her efforts to rescue and preserve the wild Mustang continue today. Madeleine’s 501(c)(3) organization, Saving America’s Mustangs (SAM), has raised the necessary funding to develop and open Mustang Monument Eco-Resort and Preserve, an arm of SAM, that will maintain the sustainability of the wild horse preserve for years to come. Madeleine is proud to develop a property that will protect the wild horse, educate the public on their inclusion in American history and ensure their protection for years to come.
Madeleine also proudly owns the private Del Mar Country Club in Rancho Santa Fe, CA, which is one of the premier golf courses on the west coast. Thus guests in both Nevada and Southern California can experience her standard of excellence in hospitality for themselves.