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  • Anna Peirano

Mama Janka : A Rescue Story

Written by our marvelous editor, Anna Peirano

Mama Janka has a special story worth telling from beginning to end.

In this article, through videos and photos of the journey, you'll discover:

Who Mama Janka is
Where she came from, and what happened to her
Those people and organizations that were instrumental in rescuing her
And finally (and most importantly) her happy ending

Who Is Mama Janka?

13 year old, 16.1hh, brown bay, Registered Jockey Club, Thoroughbred mare

Mama Janka spent the first part of her life as a winner: specifically as a racetrack star.

Mama Janka's last run as a winning Thoroughbred at the Los Alamitos racetrack:

To further illustrate the kind of mare Mama Janka is, here are the two ads runs by Clare and by S.E.R.R.A, the rescue organization instrumental in providing the resources needed so we could find Janka her new family.

While still young, Mama Janka was purchased off the track by a lovely gentleman who would go on to use her as a brood mare at a Thoroughbred farm. Mama Janka would have two foals before she stopped getting pregnant. While her owner absolutely adored her, he found himself in hard times financially, and realized he simply couldn't keep her anymore.

Where did Mama Janka come from, and what happened to her?

Mama Janka found her way to Clare at Clarity Performance Horses the same way all great connections are made: through years of networking and an incredible community of people who know how to work together.

But Mama Janka wasn't a simple rescue story. She had a horrible wound, the result of an accident (we were told she went through a fence). In addition, because her previous owner had been trying to get her pregnant again, Janka was reacting to being on immense amounts of hormones, making her difficult to handle: striking at other horses and running at the fences.

The combination of the wound and her difficult behavior had our entire rescue network thinking she may be beyond saving.

However, through great effort and patience, her wound began to heal and her true personality resurfaced once her body regulated the hormone imbalances, giving us the lovely mare you see here.

The below videos outline her journey with Clare and the Sonoma Equine Rescue, Rehab, and Adoption (S.E.R.R.A) organization.

Here are pictures of the three Thoroughbred mares

("Burts Girl," "Fantastic Career," and "5 O'Clock Toddy")

that Clare originally placed for the woman who referred Clare to Janka's owner:

Warning: Below is a gallery showing the progess of Mama Janka's wound:

from when S.E.R.R.A first took her in, to now.

It's an incredible transformation, but it IS graphic!

Throughout Mama Janka's journey, her entire support group has been working to put weight on her. Janka's weight in these videos does not reflect our ideal for a happy and healthy horse.

Who helped save Mama Janka?

As always, it was an incredible team of compassionate people working together to offer their time, energy, and resources to help carry a rescue from start to finish.

Some of the key players in this particular story:

Clare with Teresa of Sonoma Equine Rescue, Rehab, and Adoption (S.E.R.R.A)

(getting Janka's ankles radiographed)

Dr. Jordan Bui of Cotati Large Animal Hospital with her assistant

And an appreciation video for all of the rescues in our network who have worked together time and time again to save everything from donkeys to retired racehorses to pregnant mares and more!

Mama Janka's happy ending:

We are beyond thrilled to announce that, through the networking and efforts of all those involved, Mama Janka has been placed with a beautiful family who are giving her all of the love and attention this sweet girl deserves.

It's been a long road, and Mama has had many a hard mile under her hooves.

But she has found an amazing home, and we are certain that she will have a long and happy life in the years to come.

(Pictured: Clare and Teresa saying goodbye to Mama Janka)

Below is a thank you message written by Mama Janka's new owner, followed by a series of photos of Mama in her new home!


Dear Clare, Teresa, and everyone at SERRA and Clarity Performance Horse Sales,

We cannot thank you enough for saving the life of our magnificent Mama Janka. She has only been with us for a short time but she has already burrowed deeply into our hearts. We have been volunteering at barns for a very long time now, meeting horses on a regular basis, creating relationships with them and enjoying caring for them but none of them seemed to speak to us. While we knew we wanted a horse, we were not in a hurry, rather we wanted to find the perfect horse for our family.

Clare, your post spoke to me immediately. You used phrases like "exceptionally sweet" and "Very Zen in her relaxed energy" and finally, "could do well in any of the performance horse disciplines." I reached out that night and 30 minutes into our conversation I knew I had to meet this beautiful bay Teresa calls "Mamacita." My daughter is the voice of reason in our family and she was willing to wake at dawn to travel the 2.5 hours up to your barn to talk some reason into me. My rock, my conscience, my faithful negotiator was a puddle when she met Mama. Her argument in favor of adoption was articulate, and razor sharp "this horse is special and you will not find one like her again. She has gone through a lot to be right here, right now, and so have we. We are all here now and she is meant for us." Her words couldn't be more true. Mama had been through so much by the time we walked into her stall for the first time. It was so clear that she has been loved deeply and despite the changes and difficulties in her life, she is still willing to love and be loved again.

My heart breaks when I look at the photos of Mama's leg before Cathy and Teresa took Mama Janka in and turned her life around. It is hard to imagine the passion, time, energy and love it took to heal her leg as well as her imbalanced hormonal load. She is a strong and expressive horse and not being able to control herself must have made her frightening to be around. I cannot thank you enough for not giving up on her, for persevering, and loving her back to health. She is truly a magnificent being and we cannot imagine our lives now without her. As we pull into the barn we call her name and she comes to the closest point so she can watch as we walk to her stall as she waits to greet us. She is a character, a huge personality and a love. If you all hadn't been so dedicated, she wouldn't be with us and our family would not be complete. I also want to pass our thanks to Mama's previous owner. Without the strength to do the absolute best for Mama she would not be with us now, and may not even be alive. I cannot imagine the pain you had to endure to give her up. Please know that she is here and would love a visit or I am happy to send photos and videos so they can see her progress.

For a horse that had run into a very hard patch, all the planets and stars aligned when all of you came together to rescue, rehabilitate, and rehome her to us. We are forever grateful and look forward to paying the incredible gift forward somehow, some day.

Forever in gratitude,

Mama's forever family


Thank you for following along with Mama Janka's story.
For any inquiries about rescues, re-homes, adoptions, or sale horses, please feel free to reach out and join our community!

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