How I Came to Raise an Orphan Foal

I have been working hard to develop and listen to my intuition. It’s been a little over a year since I started working with a teacher and longtime friend Mel and it’s hard to express how everything in my life has changed.  By letting myself be guided, opportunities in every area of my life have blossomed like a lotus flower.  I have begun a new career, moved to the country after living in Seattle most of my life, I have strengthened my relationships and let go of those that caused more harm than good.  My body,mind and spirit are all flourishing after years of neglect.

This Summer,  I have time off for the first time in about 25 years.  A few weeks back my attention was drawn to the Yakima Orphan Foal Rescue.  The plight of wild horses has been on my radar for a few years and I was drawn in.  These orphan foals are caught on the range along with their mothers and adult members of their herd. The adults have been deemed to dangerous and have been sent to auction.   Because of the relationship of Melody Williams LeBeau with the tribal catchers and in collaboration with Thunder Mountain Rescue and their devotion the babies are saved.

I immediately felt a strong pull towards the rescue and decided to volunteer and see what it was all about.  I spent a day looking at the foals, talking to Melody about her tireless and selfless efforts to save these babies and mucking out a few paddocks.  I was back the next week as she had a few herds brought in and was pretty exhausted after looking after an orphan who had been left behind on the range and rescued after a week of surviving on its own.  She let me help with milk duty and brought me a chair to watch the baby.  The next week, one of the yearlings went to its home so my boys and I went to muck out his enclosure because I wanted them to see the babies and understand the dire situation.

There are just so many awful, scary, out of control things going on in the world right now.  They feel enormous and like I will have no effect in trying to help.  Everyday, I think of all the ways to make my children loving, compassionate, aware future citizens and allies of our world.  What if I could do something immediate, change just one life help bring awareness to one more difficult and unfair circumstance?

I decided, alongside my husband, children and trainer/friend Shannon King of Horse to Human, that this was possible.  When I asked Shannon what she thought of the idea, she said, “I think you are crazy, but I will help you.”  I took that as a ringing endorsement and decided to send in my application so I could be ready in case a baby or pair of foals caught my eye.

Within five minutes of submitting my application, the rescue posted two older babies pulled off the range.  Because of their age, they would be allowed to be adopted separately.  I immediately responded and began the process of being screened.  By 11:30 that night, we had been accepted.  I named our new baby Inez.

That weekend was full of preparations.  Pasture space was cleared, panels went up, hoses and hose filters, hay and water tubs all put in place.  I researched and read as many stories from adopters as I could.  The rescue provides an open group on Facebook called Yakima Orphan Foal Network.  You can join the group to see updates, volunteer and donate:   There is also a closed group for adopters to use as a resource to ask questions of other adopters, share stories and get updates.

When Tuesday finally came, I was so anxious about loading, unloading, the trailer ride, her health I thought I would never get through the morning.  Finally it was time to go and my boys, Rohan age 11, Finn age 10 and our trainer Shannon King hopped into the truck and set off to Toppenish to meet our girl.

It was close to 100 degrees in Toppenish so Melody and her son helped Shannon and I get Inez loaded and on our way as quickly as possible.  Inez panicked and went headlong into a panel of the loading chute then scampered into the trailer.

The ride back was long and hot and we were worried about our girl being under stress.  I was thrilled when Shannon backed the trailer right up to our chute at home and Inez made her way down the path into her new home.

3 thoughts on “How I Came to Raise an Orphan Foal

  1. Jenna you bring tears to my eyes. I am with you 100%.
    Are you familier with The Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary near Hot Springs, South Dikota?
    Research Dayton O. Hyde story on how he started his wild horse Sanctuary. He’s getting up there in age so hope he is still around. You could get in touch with him and see how he managed to save hundreds of wild horses that will forever run free without threats from human kind. He has a heart like you.


    1. Barbara,
      Thank you so much. I hope this is the beginning of an epic new journey. I am familiar with Black Hills and would love to visit and learn from such a hero as Dayton O Hyde. Thank you for your kind words and encouragement.


  2. Your dear heart is so good and so strong. I have admired you for 26 years and counting, and my admiration only grows as I see you grow and make your unique and amazing way through this world. So happy for you and Inez. So glad she has you.


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