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Jaltemba Equine Education Project (J.E.E.P.)

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Contact Information

Name:George and Loretta Leavitt
Email:Use form below
Phone(s): (327) 274-3263
Address:Cristóbal Colón #408, La Peñita

Jaltemba Equine Education Project (J.E.E.P.)
at Hilltop Refugio

The Jaltemba Equine Education Project (J.E.E.P.) was established in December 2012 by George & Loretta Leavitt and Donna Brownfield to help large animals like horses, donkeys and mules who are ill, malnourished or being mistreated in Jaltemba Bay, Nayarit, Mexico. George’s love of horses and his love of Mexico have been combined for over 35 years, and forming a large animal group has always been his dream.

The project began when Donna was horseback riding in the hills above the small fishing village of La Peñita. She came across an Appaloosa, now known as "Chance," who led her to another six horses who were literally starving to death. Eight others in their herd had already died, including Chance’s mother, whose body was still sheltering his younger sibling. George and other volunteers immediately started raising necessary funds and working with the owners to surrender these unwanted animals.

All seven horses were successfully rescued and given emergency medical care and a special diet. Unfortunately Chance, the strong and gentle leader did not survive. Five days after the rescue, he passed quietly with George and Loretta by his side. He was buried on a donated piece of property in La Peñita. This 3-acre site is currently being developed into the Hilltop Refugio, a permanent place for rescued equines.

Once the refuge is completed, we can begin to break in these horses and use them as part of our educational program for adults and children in the community. The general public will then be able to visit the site and help care for these animals.

Saturday Open House
9am-3pm – November to mid-April

Everyone is invited to come up the hill to meet our rescue horses, cats and dogs, our Junior Trainers and the J.E.E.P. volunteers. You can even ride a horse around the Hilltop Refugio, brush them and/or help muck out the stalls.

We hope to see you there!

Our Goals:

The Jaltemba Equine Education Project (J.E.E.P.) will operate in partnership with Hilltop Refugio. Our goals are to:

  • Provide a safe refuge for rescued animals;
  • Offer critical medical attention when needed;
  • Teach equine owners how to better care for their animals;
  • Protect and promote the heritage of horses in our area;
  • Educate the community about the value of animals in our lives;
  • Create opportunities for children to spend quality time with equines;
  • Introduce animal touch, interaction and therapy to local school children, especially those with special needs.

About J.E.E.P. Founders

George and Loretta Leavitt have lived in La Peñita de Jaltemba for 35 years. George has been a member of the Federación Mexicana de Charrería, A.C. for over 30 years and has built strong relationships with farmers and ranchers via community horse rides, and charro and rodeo events.

Donna Brownfield has been involved with horses for over 50 years. She has been a student of natural horsemanship for 20 years and is currently involved in teaching equine communication techniques to students. Donna and her husband, Jerry, spend winter months in La Peñita and the rest of the year in Eagle Point, Oregon.

Project Needs

Urgent Needs:

  • Funds are needed immediately to construct and secure the Hilltop Refugio, including posts, fencing and covered stables to shelter the horses before the hot and rainy summer weather arrives, as well as build bathrooms, tack room and bodega (storage for feed).

Ongoing Needs:

  • Contributions of feed, tack, medicine, medical supplies, volunteer time, money and other resources are always needed.
  • Bags of feed may be purchased at:
    Dr. Eladio Arreola Tello's vet clinic (La Casa del Ganadero)
    Calle Esteban Baca Calderon #3
    La Peñita


George and Loretta Leavitt
Cristóbal Colón #408  (Los Compadres Resort)
La Peñita, Nayarit, Mexico
(327) 274-3263

Cash donations can be made in person (get directions), bank deposit
or via PayPal.


Make a One-Time Gift:
Your donation will help J.E.E.P. buy food, shelter, medication and the equipment necessary to care for our rescue horses. Remember, donations of tack and gear, both new and used are always needed and much appreciated.


Sponsor a Rescue Horse:
When you sponsor a horse, your monthly donation goes towards the cost of feed, trimming hooves, shoeing and ongoing medical care for one of our rescue horses for the period you indicate.

Select your option below before clicking the Subscribe button.


Learn More about Jaltemba Equine Education Project (J.E.E.P.)

  • Read Articles, News & Updates published on the Jaltemba Bay Life Blog, or
  • Contact George & Loretta Leavitt via the form below

​Updated October 7, 2014

Send Email to Jaltemba Equine Education Project (J.E.E.P.)


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