Updated: Jul 28, 2022
Photo by Shining Horse Farm and Sanctuary
The Shining Horse Farm and Sanctuary was created in 2005 by Leanne Witt, after animals in need of assistance kept flooding through her doors. What started as a small rehabilitation journey for a couple of foals, blossomed into a rescue and rehabilitation sanctuary for many animals. Witt grew up around horses, worked alongside veterinarians and developed over many years the skills to properly care for large animals.
This summer, the organization plans to host a series of educational programs for people to learn about the animals under their care. There will be classes on grooming, general care, enrichment and proper diets. There will be classes on pasture maintenance. The program is free of charge and will consist of two-hour courses each day.
Shining Horse Farm believes that educating the community about animal care will limit the number of animals showing up at the farm in desperate need of medical attention.
The farm intends to strengthen and expand the animal habitats to have extra room for future residents.
“We don't want to be so massive that we lose touch of what the starting roots are, which is to really get to know the animal and get the animal placed with the right person every single time,” Witt said. “These animals have already gone through enough, it's time for them to have the best life.”
In 2018, the organization moved to West Palm Beach and became a refuge for an ever-changing population of animals. This sense of home and safety for the animals furthered the mission of the Shining Horse Farm.
“It started with a couple of foals, and then horses, and then it moved on to really any animal that would show up,” Witt said. “We expanded from horses to goats, pigs, tortoises, rabbits, guinea pigs, we even have an axolotl right now.”
Shining Horse Farm became a nonprofit organization in 2021. The organization possesses the unique ability to be able to test animals in several different lifestyles before they are open to adoption.
“We received one chicken that really didn’t want to be a chicken. It wanted to be held and cuddled like a dog or a cat. So, we had to find a family that just wants to love this fluffy little chicken,” Witt said, “We found this one little girl and it was perfect.”
The farm has been able to rehabilitate over 400 animals in the last four years. While many of the animals find a forever home or are returned to owners, some of the animals must stay with the farm because of the attention they require.
“We have a miniature pony here that has 1001 issues, as we say. She's here for life because I would never want to put that on a new family,” Witt said. “She requires constant attention.”
Although some of the farm's animals require around-the-clock attention, Witt has dedicated her life to giving her animals the happiest and healthiest life possible.