This feature on Farmer Jen is part of Loudoun Economic Development’s award-winning Farmer Trading Card series, spotlighting farmers as heroes to our community. For more information on the Farmer Trading Card 2024 starting lineup, please visit Loudoun Farms.

A promise made by Pat Rogers to an abused horse in 1989 has resulted in decades of service, and hundreds of lives being saved at one Loudoun County farm.

The appropriately named Promise Kept Farm is home to the Equine Rescue League, a nonprofit that Rogers founded with daughter Cheryl, dedicated to saving and rehabilitating abused or neglected equine, which includes horses, ponies, donkeys and mules.

Farmer Jen Aurili was called to the mission when she saw a job posting to work at Promise Kept Farm in 2015.

“I have always loved animals, and animal welfare has always been a passion of mine,” she explained. “I met with Cheryl and the equine residents and found not only employment, but more importantly, a place of gratitude.

“I get to work with people from all walks of life for the greater good. The love and respect between the humans and equines at Promise Kept Farm is truly awe-inspiring.”

The farm and nonprofit have provided shelter to everything from miniature mules to draft horses, and unborn foals to 40-year-old mares over the years.

Unfortunately, there is no pedigree or lineage that is immune from abuse. Over the years, the farm has been home to everything from grade horses of unknown breeding to granddaughters of famous racers like Secretariat and Northern Dancer.

The farm and nonprofit work with law enforcement and animal control to get the equine out of life-threatening situations and into a place where they are loved and cared for.

Every day, Farmer Jen works to address their individual needs and create the possibility for adoption to loving homes. On any given day, that might include hands-on lessons in equine anatomy, farming, or office responsibilities.

That also includes building rapport with nonprofit volunteers and guests on the farm, and helping them mesh with the personalities and needs of the equine in their care.

“The Equine Rescue League’s mission is to produce a safe, rehabilitating, and loving environment for equines in need with the potential goal of adopting them out to loving forever homes,” she explained. “Animals and their welfare are near and dear to my heart. I’m always eager to learn and do more.”

Nestled in the middle of Hunt Country, Loudoun holds iconic status in the equine community, especially around the Middleburg and Upperville communities. The area attracts some of the best and brightest equine professionals, including multiple Olympians, and the industry supports tens of thousands of full-time jobs.

Farmer Jen credits the owners and founders for being the best teachers she could ask for in the equine world.

“I have been given priceless knowledge by Cheryl Rogers. Her hands-on demonstrations and meticulous care of the equines have given me treasured tools to help each equine’s life thrive,” Farmer Jen explained. “I must also credit Pat Rogers, the founder of Equine Rescue League. Her promise and love to educate everyone about the major issue of equine mistreatment as well as expressing the importance of continuing to work together to improve the welfare of all equines.”

Perhaps the most impactful mentors for Farmer Jen are the horses, ponies, donkeys and mules that call the farm home. Her experience falls in line with thousands of years of human history.

Equines were domesticated in close alignment with human society, playing a wide range of roles from farming and labor to transportation and hunting. Only in the last century has much of that role been replaced by machinery, changing the relationship between horses and society.

However, the deep emotional bond with humans remains strong today.

“The amazing equines I work with are excellent teachers as well, and I learn valuable life lessons every single day,” Farmer Jen said. “The equine-human connection is the most fun part of the job. Being with them and working outdoors is refreshing to my soul.”

Each spring during the third weekend in May, the Equine Rescue League is a popular stop on the Loudoun Spring Farm Tour, providing an open house for families to come see the operations and consider volunteer, employment, and the viability of adoption.

Please visit the website to support Promise Kept Farm and the Equine Rescue League, and plan your family outing as part of the Loudoun Spring Farm Tour.

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