About Our Founder

What began as a love for animals, quickly grew into a lifelong passion, dedicated to being a voice for the voiceless. I have always felt in my heart that my greatest connections in this lifetime would be with those that do not speak my language.

Growing up I was surrounded by dogs, cats and horses. My mother encouraged my love for animals and raised me with the philosophy that all animals deserve love, respect, and kindness. During my teenage years I decided to expand upon my beliefs and become a vegetarian. Making the connection that all animals are living and feeling beings, I could no longer claim to love them, while seeing them end up on my plate.

A few years later, rescuing Ludwig once again changed my outlook on life. I had taken a couple years off from horseback riding following an accident that had done damage both physically as well as emotionally on my confidence. It was during my search to find a dressage mount that I stumbled upon Ludwig. He was an overweight beast of a horse, rearing in the cross ties and lashing out when I tried to move closer. I knew he wasn't at all what I had been looking for, yet there was an unspoken connection immediately between us. I left the barn that day and declared that he was going to be mine.

In the months that followed I spent my time rehabilitating many former injuries from Ludwig's racetrack days. I soon realized that with his build, as well as his physical limitations, we were never going to make it to the dressage ring, yet I didn't care. In bonding with Ludwig, I realized I had a love for horses, not the sport of riding. Ludwig opened my eyes to see animals as equal creatures on this earth. Not just pets, or objects requiring ownership. Even my vocabulary began to change. I did not own my animals, I was their guardian or their parent. He truly showed me that he was an individual, and that I was the one who was privileged to know him.

In March of 2013 I opened an equestrian stable, where I encouraged a lifestyle where horses were treated as animals and given access to space and the freedom to connect with other horses. In my spare time I trained horses who suffered from emotional or physical issues. During that time, I found Benjamin, Sampson and Harrison and added them to my growing
family. When Buddy and Billy turned up on Christmas Eve of 2013, the last puzzle piece of my vision for this life, fell into place.

While my barn brought me the joy of being around animals all day, I was left with a hollow feeling. Despite my best efforts, it felt near impossible to change the views of a long dating sport where horses were primarily machines in a human game. Many times it felt as though a connection with the animal was substituted for advancing in the sport. When offered an opportunity in British Columbia, I felt it was time to move on and made the decision to close the barn.

Living in British Columbia for a year, I decided to spend my time better understanding my beliefs and mapping a plan for my life. I volunteered with several wonderful animal shelters and attended some animal advocacy events. Being fully independent from family and friends secured my values and where I saw myself in the years to come.

When a well known Alberta based farm sanctuary announced they were moving to a warmer 
climate, I knew it was time to move back to Calgary. I had decided to use my knowledge and passion for animals to advocate for them.

The next logical step was for me to found an official sanctuary, not only offering refuge to exploited and abused farm animals, but to speak out for their better treatment and educate the public on more humane options and methods of care. Thus, Robin's Refuge was born.

- Julia Robin