J.E.E.P. ~ Jaltemba Equine Education Project
Opening your heart to a rescue is one of life's most rewarding experiences!!
George & Loretta Leavitt and Donna Brownfield were involved in an effort to rescue numerous local, starving horses in November 2012. About half starved to death, yet they were able to save 7 of them. Just a few days later on December 3rd, 2012, J.E.E.P. was established as funds were quickly raised to rescue the horses. Then on January 5th, 2013 they were transported to a safe refuge. Due to their poor health, the horses needed immediate emergency medical care.
Chance, a year old Appoloosa, was literally skin and bones, weak, and his liver was failing because of months of malnutrition. Each day our local vet, Dr Eladio Tello, visit Chance to give him IVs, vitamins and medication. On January 10 Chance passed away quietly with George & Loretta by his side. A cemetery at the Hilltop Refugio is being built in his honor ... as well as all the other horses, dogs and cats that have died over the years and been buried at the Hilltop.
George & Loretta owned a 3 acre parcel on the ridge above La Penita, 45 miles up the coast from Puerto Vallarta where they live, and began building a shelter for the rescued horses. By February 2013 the last of the panels were transported up the hill and installed by volunteers! The stables provided much needed shelter for the horses ... especially during the hot and rainy summer months.
By March 2013 the horses were finally healthy enough to make the trip up the hill to their new stables at the Hilltop Refugio ... George & Loretta's private refuge for their rescued equines.
By May of 2013 the horses were healthy and ready for attention. George & Loretta united them with 12 special-needs children from the Centros de Atencion Multiple #9 in Las Varas. This was the first of many field trips by local schools. Thanks to initial financial construction donations, George and the volunteers built a bathroom, a tack room and the room to store feed and supplies for the horses.
From January to April 2014, three schools of Special-Needs Children (CAM) from Las Varas, Compostela and Bucerias visited the Hilltop Refugio. George & Loretta, and the J.E.E.P. Team of Junior Riders, as well as the horses, thoroughly enjoyed over 100 special-needs visitors and their guardians during that time which always included lunch for everyone. Those few months working with the special-need children opened the door for many more visits in the future!
The much needed water tank was installed summer of 2014. A cement foundation was much needed and then installed along the steel studs holding the stables roof ... and the new shade to protect the horses from the sun and the rain. Using the funds from various donations and other sources allowed the crew of volunteers to spend four days completing the horse washing station and approximately 90 square meters of pad in front of the tack room and toilet, as well as the meeting area for visitors on the site.
In the Fall of 2014 George & Loretta saw a great need for more shelter and started using their own funds beginning with the purchase and erection of the substructure. The volunteers filled the shaded area with sand and made a secure arena for the children to ride the horses!
Since that time George & Loretta have continued to use 100% of their own, hard-earned money to get involved with their own rescued dogs and cats ... and started building dog kennels, dog runs, a wonderful surgery room and a whole lot more including a Cat House in the near future.
100% of ALL DONATIONS go directly to food and medication for all the rescues. Be assured your donation does not go to construction. ALL construction is paid for by George & Loretta, the property owners.
The Hilltop Refugio continues today with huge-hearted, non-stop summer help from George & Loretta's annual visiting Grandaughters .... Cloe & Carly .... as well as year-round help from volunteers. Come join us!!
Chance at the time we rescued him
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