The Sanctuary and Our Volunteer Team

Spirit of Equus is a project of Institute of the Southwest, a 501(c)3 public charity and California corporation.


Star Light






















The six permanent members of our Sanctuary are shown above.

Splash is our 26 year old Arabian/Paint herd boss who has been with the director for 16 years. Fourteen year old Kaptivate is second in command in the herd and serves as sentry and protects and handles the mares. He is a Trakehner/Paint gelding and has been with the Sanctuary for 10 years.

Our three mares include 8 year old dun Appaloosa Star Light who was born at our Sanctuary, 13 year old Sunshine who is a draft cross and 13 year old Sierra who is also a draft cross.  Sunshine and Sierra have been with us since they were 5 months old.

Star Light and Sierra are PMU and slaughter-bound survivors. Sunshine was also rescued from slaughter.  Sierra and Sunshine were born in Canada. Splash and Kaptivate were born in southern California.  Star Light is the daughter of OK Skip Tango, a 7 year veteran of the Canadian PMU line, who escaped slaughter and spent 5 1/2 years under our care before dying of cancer in 2012.

Hope joined us in October 2015 at the age of 5 months. She is a mustang orphan foal from Oregon.

Horse of Light Holistic Healing Unit

An adjunct to the Sanctuary is our healing unit. Here we take in a horse who is ill, been abandoned/underweight, can no longer be cared for or otherwise has become the victim of dangerous circumstances.  This horse is a short term resident, usually for only a few months to a couple of years. Otherwise this resident would be integrated into the Sanctuary herd if compatible.

Seth the Candeyman

Seth the Candeyman

The healing that takes place in this unit is holistic. The spiritual and emotional needs of the horse are just as important as the physical. This horse receives energetic monitoring each day and animal communication sessions regularly. Pain management is often a large part of our work with this resident.

Our current resident is Seth the Candeyman, a former race horse, who is proud of his 51 starts. Our energetic evaluation indicates Seth has heart and lung damage from his racing career. We also see serious liver and GI tract issues which we manage for him so that he is comfortable and can have quality of life as long as possible. Seth is a beautiful 12 year old dark bay thoroughbred.


Director Jan Meyer responding to Sunshine’s emotional needs.

President: Janet Meyer, Ph.D., EBW ~ Founder and president of Institute of the Southwest and Director of Spirit of Equus Sanctuary, Jan has dedicated her life to horses in crisis since 2002.  Coming in with a medical and educational background from the non-horse world, she has applied her knowledge, skills and intuitive gifts to the management and healing of horses. Jan lives on site with the sanctuary horses and facilitates the bodywork, energy healing, Horse of Light Holistic Healing program, classes and workshops.

Jan is our EnergyScan practitioner.  She is a certified equine bodyworker. Jan has also received the attunements of a Reiki Master,  and her work with healing horses has led her to a deep connection with the Source and spirit guides, which enable her to function as a medical intuitive and inter-species communicator.


Vice President: Carol Thomas-Keefer, B.S. Carol is a groundwater resource manager with more than 20 years experience in the administration of non-profit organizations.  Her love of animals and concern for their welfare led to her support of horse rescue in 2008.  Since then, she and her husband Randy expanded their home in the high desert to create Spirit Wind Ranch, where they love and care for their five horses (four from rescues) and offer boarding with personalized care.  She embraces natural approaches to training, nutrition and healing, for herself as well as for her horses. Carol has a Bachelor of Science degree in Communication Arts from Cal Poly, Pomona, and is a Southern California native.


Treasurer: Wendy Schmerse. CPC, CMRS.  Wendy is an animal lover, who has served as a volunteer with dog rescue adoptions, website maintenance and as an animal care aide for the Santa Barbara Zoo. She has over twenty years’ experience in medical billing and coding holding certifications as a Professional Coder (CPC) and Medical Reimbursement Specialist (CMRS). In addition, Wendy has vet tech experience at a 24-hour emergency animal hospital in Orange county.

Wendy also possesses a spiritual/telepathic “connection” to animals which makes her a special gift for her animals as well as the Sanctuary.

She lives in Ventura with her wheaten terrier named Bailey and her three cats Mr. Man, Junior and Cissy.



Candace and her Border Collie Nick

Candace Hawkes ~ Candace is our primary communicator. She lives in Athens, Georgia with her husband Alex, her horses Sterling and Nicolai, and a variety of dogs and cats, goats and lovebirds! She is very involved with dog rescue locally, and spends a lot of her energy communicating with companion animals.

She specializes in communication, problem solving and death and dying. A former social worker in children and family services, Candace has an amazing gift, and a sensitivity to all living beings as well as a life-time connection to the world beyond the veil.

Candace worked with our horses Cisco, Tango and Spirit during the final part of their earthly journeys.  She was connected to Spirit when he transitioned and was able to share with us details of his soul crossing over into the Spirit World.

Candace has training in Healing Touch for Animals, color therapy and shamanism and offers soul retrieval services.



Bill in Apple Valley

Bill Meyer is a retired aerospace engineer from Northrop-Grumman.  He has supported the organization from its inception with his expertise in design, electronics, equipment maintenance, and construction.  Bill was awarded our 2012 Above and Beyond Award for his work on behalf of our horses and his financial support toward the organization’s  infrastructure since 2002.

Bill is an invaluable member of our team!




  • Kaptivate ~ Marta Cummings
  • Star Light ~ Starlight Rose
  • Sunshine ~ Janet Meyer
  • Sierra ~ Candace Hawkes
  • Splash ~ Bill  Meyer and Anonymous Donor
  • Seth ~ Carol Thomas-Keefer, Wendy Schmerse, Candace Hawkes
  • Hope ~ Carol Thomas-Keefer, Wendy Schmerse, Ellen Bruck, Petrine Mitchum


  • Chris Comeau, DVM ~Twin Oaks Veterinary Service, Caliente, CA.
  • Dean Bader, DVM ~ Integrative Medicine, Shingle Springs Vet. Corp
  • West Coast Equine Hospital ~ Somis, CA
  • Wayne Marteney, DVM~ Palmdale, CA
  • Jacob Johnson, DVM ~ Mojave River Equine Vet Services, Apple Valley, CA

Cisco in 2003 ~ Valley Center

 CISCO’S CIRCLE ~  Members of this group offer monthly or annual donations, participate regularly in fundraisers, or provide labor or other services that support the general operation of the Sanctuary. This designation is named for Cisco,  our first rescue, who served as ambassador for the organization until his transition to the spirit world on March 30, 2012.  He now serves as as our Spirit Guide and we refer to him as our Horse of Light.


Introduced us to Avazzia and HTS energy healing. Phone Consultations.

High-end hoof care. Show and competition horses.

Proprietor: Mike Batt.

Leave a Reply