Volunteer Spotlight – Pedro Hernandez
Pedro is a life-long animal lover. He grew up in Odessa, Texas where he was in the midst of the family farm and all their animals. At Permian High School, Pedro joined FFA (Future Farmers of America) which sparked his interest in horses. Wanting to know more about our equine friends, Pedro was drawn to Laughing Pony where he’s volunteered for over a year.
After high school Pedro joined the Navy having served two years, one of them in San Diego. A man who gives back, in addition to volunteering at LPR, Pedro helps at the Ride Above Disability Therapeutic Center, and the Crisis Text Line. Clearly, Pedro has lots of energy for when he isn’t working or volunteering, he is running, camping, fishing, and just enjoying any time outdoors.
Thank you, Pedro for all you do for LPR, other organizations and for serving our country.
Volunteer Spotlight – Lea Williams
August – September 2018
Her grandmother’s country home, surrounded by horse property led to Lea’s fascination with the horse’s beauty and strength.
University in Hawaii, grad school in San Diego and a full-time job prevented Lea from acting on her love of horses until a year ago. Finishing grad school and “only” working full-time as a grants administrator at UCSD, Lea found time to devote to the horses and donkeys at LPR.
A life-long animal lover, Lea grew up with cats and dogs. She shares her home in Carlsbad with her black lab, Lily.
When you’re around Lea you can ask her about her many interests: playing volleyball, taking photographs, camping, backpacking, traveling, and the year she spent living in Japan.
Thanks, Lea for sharing your talents and passion with the wonderful LPR equines.
Volunteer Spotlight – Jackie
June – July 2018
Current volunteers are the best recruiters. It all started with a conversation about rescue horses at LPR with her cousin Kathy, and now Jackie is a mainstay volunteer!
Each day she is at LPR, Jackie learns more about helping horses. She uses this to enrich her work with women who have suffered domestic violence and are receiving assistance at the Oceanside Women’s Resource Center.
It doesn’t stop there either! Jackie has two rescue dogs, Jemma and Shelby and the three learn and grow together. Originally from Hollywood, Jackie is living with her loving mom and pops and enjoying her life. Giving horses, ponies and donkeys a second chance is the icing on the cake.
Volunteer Spotlight – Natalie
Natalie started volunteering at Laughing Pony Rescue this past October, when she was trying to find something she would enjoy doing before she started law school. After a quick search, she found LPR and having always loved horses and wanting to give back to animals, she thought it would be a great match. And the rest is history! She has fallen in love with the horses and the people at the ranch.
Besides her love for horses, Natalie has two cats and one dog – a German Shepherd Rottweiler mix. Natalie loves animals and actually wrote her person statement about that passion for animals. No wonder she got into USD law school!
When she is not with the horses at LPR, she likes to go to the beach and play soccer or volleyball, try a new restaurant, go on run with her dog, or spend time with her family and friends.
We are so grateful and fortunate that Natalie choose to volunteer her time to the horses at LPR!
Volunteer Spotlight – Kaite
A horse named Chica was her best friend from the time Katie was seven until she went to college in Santa Barbara. Animals have always been a huge part of her life. In addition to her worm farm as a little girl, her menagerie included dogs, cats, lambs, and guinea pigs.
Missing Chica and longing for horse contact, Katie found LPR in an online search. Impressed with the great care LPR horses receive, she started volunteering a year and a half ago and loves it!
Katie’s idea of a perfect day is going to the park with her two rescue dogs, Oso and Millie, then cuddling them on the couch while watching too many TV episodes. Oso, a golden retriever mix has been Katie’s world for 2 1/2 years. Sweet Millie, a 14 year old cocker spaniel mix joined the family last Mother’s Day.
The best part of being at LPR in addition to learning something every time she’s there? The peacefulness of being near horses, how time slows down and makes outside worries go away.
Volunteer Spotlight – Julie
What feeds Julie’s soul? Being around horses and her dogs. No wonder LPR’s mission (“Helping one horse…,”) instantly drew her to volunteering, which she’s done for two years.
Julie has loved animals, since she was a little girl growing up on a small farm in New Jersey. Her mother rode standard-bred horses and her sister did dressage, but Julie was a cowgirl at heart so headed to Colorado where she lived with several horses for 17 years. In San Diego Julie had a distinguished career as a police officer and then a San Diego District Attorney before retiring.
Away from LPR Julie runs, bikes, goes to the gym and paints – be on the lookout for her art website. This summer she’ll be in her Alaskan cabin.
At LPR she loves our pushy Johnny and his brother Gino, the donkeys, and mucking, which for her is zen meditation. Each time she leaves the ranch and Celia thanks her, Julie thinks, “No, thank you!”
No question the horses and Julie enrich each other.
Volunteer Spotlight – Bill & Elyce
Elyce is a two year super volunteer and a regular fixture at LPR. Her husband Bill responds when she “calls upon” him to help with shifts and fundraising events which he does willingly.
Both Elyce and Bill love being around horses, working in the barn, and doing anything and everything that is needed. The interaction with animals clears their minds while serving a worthy cause. Bill says he isn’t overly experienced with horses, but spent many summers at camp riding and caring for horses and doing barn chores. Elyce did the usual sporadic kid riding, including falling off and getting back on.
Married for 33 years, Elyce and Bill have two daughters, three grandchildren and Bree, their Golden Retriever. Elyce is a fitness instructor at Personally Fit in Rancho Santa Fe; Bill is in property management and financial investing.
They are active together and individually. Being with their family is pastime number one, and fortunately they all live in the San Diego area. Bill hung up his well-used tennis racket for pickle ball and continues to surf, sometimes happy to sit on his board in the ocean. Other passions are biking, walking, skiing and finding a comfy chair to enjoy reading a good book. Elyce enjoys exercising and shares in the fun of pickle ball. She also loves walking her dog, planting succulents and loved riding Icelandic horses.
Elyce and Bill are part of the dedicated volunteers is takes to keep LPR going. They are inspired by their fellow volunteers and Celia’s devotion. LPR is fortunate to have their time and commitment to give our horses the good life they deserve.
Volunteer Spotlight – Mark
For the past two years Mark Felker‘s favorite time is being face-to-face with the LPR horses. He works hard of course, but the special time is when he can just “love on” the horses. His satisfaction comes from watching their lips quiver and eyes close with contentment as he rubs their ears, faces, necks and their back ends…all the places they can’t reach themselves. It is meditation for Mark, when time seems to stop and the world’s problems fade away.
Mark has a double bachelors degree from UCSB in religious studies and cultural anthropology, and a master’s degree in education. After teaching high school history for a dozen years he is searching his heart for new dreams to follow – hopefully a paid dream!
Recently married, Mark and his bride love traveling. They travel several times a year, most recently to the Philippines and Japan. Mark’s other pastimes are photography, and the occasional attempt which he terms “the foolishness known as golf.”
Top on his list of pastimes though is working with horses for the peace it brings him, the reward of a hard day’s work and the satisfaction of feeling useful. He also enjoys supporting our passionate Celia who Mark declares, “deserves everyone’s support and more!”
We are grateful for all of our amazing volunteers!