The 3rd Annual Pony Up! for J.E.E.P. Fundraiser will be held on Friday, January 23, 2015 at the Hilltop Refugio in La Peñita. Mark your calendars and please consider a donation to the silent auction. We will be hosting a BBQ and it will be fun for all! More details to come.

Special thanks for two very generous donations:

Don Menchhofer for the boxes of new tack! Don, from Indianapolis, Indiana, donated boxes of halters, blankets, lead ropes, cinches and other items worth several thousand dollars. All the horses are now nicely outfitted. In the spirit of the holiday, reindeer antlers were included and could be seen on three of the J.E.E.P. horses during the Revolution Day parade (see photos above and below)… a big hit with the children! As an FYI, we always need tack, as the weather rots the tack over time. Thanks also to John and Barbara Webber for transporting these items.

Simone and Ron Nichols of Nova Beauty Products held a raffle and collected $800 CDN.

These two efforts are phenomenal and our horses appreciate it!

J.E.E.P. is now hosting Saturday Trail Rides. For $250 pesos an hour, you can enjoy the fields of La Peñita on one of the rescued horses. Trail rides vary depending upon the number of people who join us. Contact George at Los Compadres Resort for a reservation.

Día de la Revolución (Mexican Revolution Day Parade)

Thanks to Brenda Wright, from Fernie, British Columbia, for sharing these amazing photos of the J.E.E.P. Horses and Team participating in this year’s Día de la Revolución parade in La Peñita.

JEEP 1 copy
JEEP 2 copy
JEEP 7 copy
JEEP 6 copy

Hilltop Refugio Updates


Construction continues under the guidance and generosity of George Leavitt. The arena is dug out and sand has been delivered for a nice soft base for the horses. The sides of the arena are built up to accommodate trees which George plans to purchase and plant. Next is the roofing over the children’s area and a gate to the stable/arena so the horses can be let out to run and exercise (without coming back into the stable/arena to taunt the other horses!).

Hilltop Refugio/Horse Rescue Efforts

We are excited to report that Canelo has found a forever home in El Monteón. He is the only rescue horse that we have been able to rehab and reintroduce to open pasture feed, however he is high strung and can only be ridden by an experienced rider (not safe for children). Chuy, a local rancher fell in love with Canelo, and offered to provide him with the kind of home he needs and to ride him regularly. In appreciation, Chuy provided sand for the indoor arena at the Hilltop Refugio. Canelo will always be part of the JEEP Team and we will monitor him to make sure he is well taken care of. And although we would like to keep all the rescue horses and dogs, permanent placement with local families/ranchers is always preferable so they can receive even more individual attention and love.

JEEP Nov 2014 4

Meet Hermosa, one of the original rescue horses. She is fat, calm and happy. She is turning out to be an excellent horse for the children. When we rescued Hermosa her bones were showing through her hips and she was quite leery of interaction with people. She also seemed to prefer men and when Valerie initially started grooming her she would not allow it. Now she likes being groomed and is friendly. To illustrate her current level of domesticity and contentment with her new home, she does not even need a lead rope when George takes her outside the arena for exercise. She just follows him around like a puppy.

Equine Therapy for Disabled Children

Due to construction, equine therapy won’t begin until January, but the arena and picnic area will be well worth the wait! There will also be seating for parents and caregivers. We will serve lunches every Wednesday when the children are here. Volunteers would be greatly appreciated.

Dog and Cat Fostering

The cats from the newest litter are almost ready to transfer to the Hilltop Refugio. Loretta is having a difficult time letting them go! The new cats join the other older litter of 3 cats, our great vermin catchers! The three dogs are great for security. Oprah, the Rottweiler, has become very territorial about HER stable! A new dog was rescued who was in sad shape. The new dog, Spider, has already made a new home for himself and loves being in his new home. He happily greets all visitors. He, as well as the other rescue dogs and cats, are up for adoption so they can have full-time families.

JEEP Nov 2014 1
JEEP Nov 2014 2


Donations are always appreciated!

Monetary Donations:

George and Loretta Leavitt:

  • Construction: $1,000 USD
  • Boarding Income: 3 horses = $300 USD
  • Personnel: $450 USD

Other Monetary:

  • Madeline and Greg Bennett Family Foundation: $200 USD
  • Donna Brownfield: $25 USD
  • Diane Thompson: $100 USD
  • Rauol and Wil Schuhmacher: $50 USD

Donations of Equipment and Other Items:

  • Don Menchhofer: New tack (valued at several thousand dollars)
  • Kristin Giglio (thanks to delivery from Dr. Malcolm Macartney): Used tack

Donations for Silent Auction:

We are currently collecting items for the silent auction which will take place at the 3rd Annual Pony Up! for J.E.E.P. Fundraiser on Friday, January 23, 2015. Clean up and clean out! Donate to the silent auction. We are in desperate need of donations. Items can be given to Loretta at the hotel or restaurant at Los Compadres. These items have been received so far:

  • Traditional Vest from Michoacan – Value $70 USD: Valerie Bennett-Naquin
  • Original Oil Painting – Value $100 USD: Valerie Bennett-Naquin


George will be building the dog kennels the week of December 15th and could use help with labor and/or materials. Join him and meet the fostered dogs and cats. Take one home with you!

Things to Bring Down When You Return!

We could use lead ropes, head sets, horse brushes, curry combs, cinches (medium to large), as well as horse shampoo and conditioner. Donations for school supplies and art materials for the special needs children who come visit are also appreciated. These are relatively small items that will fit in a suitcase.

Ongoing Needs

We are always in need of contributions of feed, tack, medicine, medical supplies, money and other resources. Keep in mind that not only do the horses need feed, they must be also be shoed, have regular injections and sometimes medical care. All these things cost money. WE NEED YOUR HELP!


If you like to ride, please volunteer at the Hilltop Refugio. All the horses need brushing, attention and maintenance. If you volunteer, you can go on the frequent trail rides. Get to know a special horse during your time in the region or adopt one of the rescued dogs and take it home with you!

by Valerie Bennett-Naquin

About Jaltemba Equine Education Project (J.E.E.P.): Jaltemba Equine Education Project was established in December 2012 by George & Loretta Leavitt to help large animals like horses, donkeys and mules who are ill, malnourished or being mistreated in Jaltemba Bay, Nayarit, Mexico. To learn more or to make a one-time gift or recurring donation, visit Jaltemba Equine Education Project (J.E.E.P.)

Your donations will help J.E.E.P. buy food, shelter, medication and the equipment necessary to care for the rescue horses, as well as complete the Hilltop Refugio. Remember, donations of tack and gear, both new and used are always needed and much appreciated.