Our wonderful volunteer Diana sent us an email about Dottie. Anyone who has met Dottie will tell you that Diana has described her to a tee. We are very lucky to have a lovely friend to visit with Dottie in her foster home and these great photos by Jessica to share with you. Here is what Diana wrote about Dottie:
Here’s an update from a new volunteer to SAFE that has us beaming. Diana lives in Bellingham, so volunteering at Safe Harbor is difficult, but she’s making a difference by spending quality time with Dottie. She wrote this morning to tell us how her friendship with this lovely mare is blooming, and we couldn’t be happier for either of them! This is why we are so fond of our companion horses and why we fully believe that horses have so much more to give than just being ridden.
Things are going wonderfully with Dottie. She is an incredibly special horse, and I honestly adore her. I have known and loved many, many horses in my life, and I have owned two very special horses, but I can tell you with absolute certainty that I have never felt such an immediate connection with a horse as I have now with Dottie. I don’t know if its because we have similar obstacles in our lives (specific kinds of anxiety and emotional sensitivities and even the health and gastrointestinal problems!) or if its just her personality or what, but she has become an instant dear friend to me.
She lives a little further away from me than I had initially thought (it takes an hour for me to drive from my home in Bellingham to hers in Arlington) so I sadly can’t see her as often as I would like, which would be every day if I had my way! But I still have found myself making the trek to see her at least twice a week because I simply can’t seem to go more than a couple days at a time without her! Karen at Pacific Moon has been incredibly wonderful. She has told me that I can just come by whenever, and she has allowed me to really make myself at home at her barn. I am so grateful!
I brought my husband to meet Dottie and that was an interesting event because she was certainly nervous about him at first, but she warmed up to him very quickly and became affectionate with him as well. I definitely see evidence of her former abuse when there are other people around, but she is so quick to turn that around and love on everyone. She is a sensitive horse but so incredibly kind and willing to love. I feel such a kinship with her!
I am head over heels for Dottie and badly wish I was in a position to adopt. The problem of course is that we have no place to keep her and can’t quite afford a boarding fee. All I can say is that I hope this situation will change.
But I wanted to thank you both for giving me this amazing opportunity to get to know her and work with her. We have fun! We’re currently working on going on walks outside of her pasture. She’s definitely not used to leaving the confines of her space and it makes her a little excited to say the least! But mostly we just hang out and have quiet, sweet time together. 🙂
I attached a few photos so you can see what you already know–what a beautiful and sweet heart she has!
Dottie has a new friend at her foster home at Pacific Moon Equestrian Center —an 8 month old KWPN gelding named Frido! This young son of Freestyle seems to really enjoy life in the big field, as long as Dottie is by his side. Dottie has taken the little guy under her wing, and is now affectionally known as Grandma by everyone at Pacific Moon.
Dottie received another surprise when, as an early holiday gift, her foster mom Karen bought her a pretty new blanket to keep her dry and warm during the cold winter months. She is one lucky girl! Thank you Karen and Pacific Moon for taking such great care of Miss Dottie.
Do you have room in your life for a gentle companion horse like Dottie? Dottie is easy to get along with all types of horses, she stands for the vet and farrier, is sweet to groom and would make a great addition to your family. If you are interested in learning more, fill out our adoption application or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Dottie deserves a forever home. Help us find her the perfect family to call her own!
This lovely young mare to the left is one of Dottie’s offspring, Dana. Doesn’t she look a lot like Dottie? Dana lives in Juneau, Alaska and a few months back, her owner was researching her lineage online and stumbled upon Doty Belle’s “Where Are They Now?” video on the Emerald Downs website, which led her to SAFE.
Dana is about three years old and is in training to hopefully do three day eventing. Although her owner Lisa trained horses for many years in her 20s, Dana is her first horse. Lisa has taken incredible care of Dottie’s daughter, and approached her training with thoughtfulness and intelligence. Like Dottie, Dana is affectionate, curious, and enjoys grooming. We are so glad to see her thriving and to have established this family connection!
Volunteer Jessica Farren recently visited Miss Dottie Belle at the Pacific Moon Equestrian Center. She took absolutely gorgeous photos! The fall colors are a stunning backdrop for this beautiful mare.
Dottie has thrived under Karen Moore’s care. We are so blessed to have Karen’s support and care of our sweet Dottie. While she has been at Pacific Moon, Dottie has been living in a big pasture with a buddy. She is calm, relaxed and comfortable with enough space to move freely, while having a friend at her side.
She would make a lovely companion for a family who has it in their heart to love this gentle soul. I promise you the love Dottie returns to her person will be tenfold. Please help us find her a family to call her own. It is time to find her an adopter so SAFE can help another horse in need. Email: email@example.com for more information on Dottie and adopting!
Dottie Belle has been living in foster care at Pacific Moon in Arlington for about six months now. Under Karen Moore and her team, Dottie has settled into a happy life outdoors among horse friends. Since her arrival, Heather Evans-Keliher and Eve Tai have visited with Dottie regularly. Now that Dottie feels at home, it was a good time to consider liberty work for her. This type of work takes place on the ground free of equipment, force or restraints, leaving the horse “at liberty” to choose how she wants to participate.
Eve drafted the help of Elsa Sinclair, a natural horsemanship trainer. Elsa’s goal in liberty work is to forge a quiet, grounded connection between human and horse. Her approach is a great match for Dottie, who is highly sensitive to any change in her environment. Not surprisingly, when Eve first brought Dottie into the arena, a new place for her, her anxiety heightened. She called for her pasture mate and paced along the mirrored wall, both gazing at and getting frustrated with that “other horse.” (Beautiful as she was!) Moving slowly and quietly, Elsa and Eve set some physical boundaries for Dottie to help channel her nervous energy, while still allowing her the freedom to express herself. With time and consistency, Dottie eased into her body.
Dottie tends to push past humans or look for an exit when she is feeling anxious. Our objective was to teach Dottie that by attending to her people she could find leadership, connection and comfort. Elsa and Eve alternated walking with Dottie for over an hour, applying light pressure for her to walk or avoid off-limits areas. Each time she did something positive or brave, such as explore a new spot in the arena, pass through a scary spot without drama, or connect with Elsa or Eve through a glance or a nose touch, the pressure would be released right away. Then we’d breathe together for several moments – in stillness – and just enjoy Dottie’s company. For horses this quiet connection is a great reward.
Dottie enjoyed walking with Eve and Elsa for long periods, frequently licking and chewing as she released the tension of new learning. We’re glad to say that Elsa and Eve enjoyed many moments when Dottie would choose to brush her nose against their hands. And she even felt comfortable enough to indulge in several rolls.
In the past, Dottie would sometimes freeze up in response to any challenge or request, including hand walking. This was consistent with her coping strategy of internalizing stress (a likely contributor to her colic episodes). Liberty work of this style allows her to learn something new within safe boundaries, yet also gives her the choice to step away or voice an opinion. Over time we hope we can help Dottie restore her skill set and flexibility to adjust to changing conditions. We have already seen Dottie step forward with courage and curiosity more than ever before.
No doubt her nurturing time at Pacific Moon has helped Dottie cultivate her confidence. Though some may call her high-strung, it may be more accurate to say that she is highly attuned and observant. A horse of this character can be a true gift because she genuinely loves those who seek and cherish her sensitivity. An adopter with the interest and time to learn more about how Dottie takes in the world will be greatly rewarded. Though she can’t be physically ridden, Dottie is happy to take her friends to a place beyond human perception – a field of infinite joy and connection.
Thanks to Karen Moore and her team at Pacific Moon for taking such good care of our “sensitive flower,” and to Elsa Sinclair for joining Team Dottie Belle!
Dottie was the star of this week’s Where Are They Now? feature at Emerald Downs. This video contains a great message about the value of horses who cannot be ridden, and we’re super proud of SAFE Board Member Eve Tai for this terrific interview!
Thanks to the efforts of Team Dottie, we are kept well up to date on the progress of our girl. Here are some recent photos of Dottie in her foster home:
As much as we’ve loved having Dottie Belle at Safe Harbor, the relative confinement hasn’t always worked well for her size and temperament, resulting in a string of colic scares. We’ve done all we can via diet and supplements to keep her happy, but really what this mare needs is to live outside. Now, thanks to Karen at Pacific Moon Equestrian Center, Dottie is able to do just that!
She shares a gigantic field with another mare named Ginger, and the two are great buds. We are so thankful that this amazing foster opportunity has come along for our girl. Dottie gets regular visits from her dear friends Eve and Heather, so we are kept well up to date on how’s she’s doing, even though she’s far away.