Dottie is a tall and beautiful Thoroughbred mare, who came to us via a pair of good Samaritans who helped remove her from an abusive owner. Her guardian angels arranged transportation to SAFE in Woodinville. She is an ex-racehorse and former broodmare who was approved by the Westphalian registry. She’s had a difficult life and shows clear signs of having been mistreated in the past. Dottie is a pretty high-strung thoroughbred mare who can be a little bit choosy about who she shares a pasture with, but once she finds a friend, she’s a loyal companion. Dottie loves to be groomed and pampered…brushing her tail will put her in a trance. She’s a lovely mare who deserves a good home where she can be adored and doted upon.
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!
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!
Beautiful Fall colors, what at Beautiful day to visit Dottie!
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!
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.
We’re quite happy to report that we haven’t had any more colic scares from our dear Dottie recently. Since completing Gastrogard therapy, she’s doing great on a product called Smart Gut and a few other digestive supplements. She gets a mash twice a day made of Beet Pulp, rice bran, senior feed, alfalfa pellets, oil, and salt, and that’s done a great job of keeping her weight up, in addition to her regular rations of hay.
What Dottie needs most is a home where she can have daily turnout along with a friend. She’s a dominant mare so she needs a companion who won’t care about her fussing. She’s very mare-ish and tends to squeal if a gelding even looks at her, so another mare to pal around with would be best. She is a Thoroughbred so some days she does want to run and buck, so her friends have to be okay with that as well. Oh and she HATES flies! A single horse fly can make her go crazy, running and carrying on until she is brought into her stall.
Dottie is a very sweet mare, good around kids and beginners (with supervision). She’s not suitable for riding, but she has a lot more to give than that. She loves being groomed and massaged, and will go into a happy trance when her tail is brushed.
Like so many rescue horses, Dottie has a wisdom about her…she truly understands that the people who are caring for her have saved her from a much worse fate. This mare survived some pretty serious abuse before being rescued, and she deserves a place of her own where she will never again suffer mistreatment. She shows her gratitude in little ways…and she is looking for someone with the ability to understand that. Could that someone be you?
Perhaps this is obvious, but we are just so proud of our horses! Every single one of them faced tremendous challenges in their lives before being rescued, and the courage and bravery they show us during their rehabilitation and retraining is nothing short of astonishing. The horses of SAFE have an incredible team of humans helping them on this journey, led by our trainer Terry Phelps and the volunteers who work by her side. This month’s training report is filled with brightness and hope, and we are so proud to share this with you and to say thank you to supporters like you for making our training program possible.
Continuing with his rehab work. He’s being very steady and calm during his rehab rides! We’ve tried him out briefly at the trot — just trotting down the long sides of the arena a few times each direction — and he trotted sound in both directions. Fingers crossed that this is a sign that his rehab has been successful!
Continues to do great with ground work and riding. She has gone on two trail rides and was eager and happy to be out of the arena but listened well to me even when she was excited to be outside. She is brave walking past dogs and construction work and with cars passing along the road. She does like to walk fast and is less of a “quiet school horse type” on the trails but nothing dangerous or misbehaved.
Jewel did seem to remember her ground work training when she came back to SHS for the week, but she seemed to have regressed a tiny bit in her patience and softness when it came to picking up her feet.
Our Lola Bear continues to behave like a very good solid citizen! She was the best behaved for dentals when the vets were out, a master at walking over the tarps, and she loves to jump right into the trailer when asked! She was very relaxed and easy going for her trail ride, good with the cars along the road, didn’t mind the barking dogs or the construction noises. Her only fault on the trail was that she did not want to lead that particular day (normally she’s happy to be out front, and just as happy to bring up the rear!) She has been ridden frequently by Stephanie and has been very well behaved for her at all gaits.
Trailer loading training has continued with great success. The secret to success is not to apply a ton of pressure but with quiet asking and reassurance, she will step all the way into the trailer. We are working now on quietly stepping out of the trailer and not running backwards. She still needs a lot of positive and calming energy to trust this process.
Kat is a super star! She did very well during a recent showing to a potential adopter and was very tolerant of a the 10 year old rider1 She has been doing very well with her volunteer riders and happy out in grass turnout with Dottie.
We’re doing a great deal of ground work and desensitization training, and she is really doing quite well. She’s learning and quieting down a lot. She does have her hot side, but with calm handling she can relax and get very easy in her mind and movement. She’s does best if ridden after a very good ground work session. She can be very centered and quiet. Since Cameo is so young, I feel it’s important to keep the work light and fun for her. I’d like to take her out on the trails this summer as well and give her a chance to experience fun outside of the arena.
Skye has very good ground work manners from her work with Dave. I can see how well this was done and it is a great starting point with our growing relationship. She has a finite amount of time she can work before she gets tired and her stubborn “I’m finished” attitude comes out. We are working on her willingness to go forward when asked. She has a bit of attitude but the fight is more of a slam on the breaks. This is getting better as we work together and she realizes I’m not asking for anything that hard. She really wants to please and has a very sweet nature. We have started the trailer work and will continue to have this as part of her weekly work.
Before leaving for foster it was evident that she was feeling a lot better, judging by the changes in her behavior. We had some testing of boundaries including a little nibbling, and some issues with standing for the farrier and getting into the trailer. She’s another horse who will benefit from ground work in preparation to getting started under saddle later this year.
Here are a few of the highlights from Kellie’s latest updates on Misty.
Happy to report that Misty got a new set of shoes today and we only had one “pull back and slam her front foot down” episode. Lisa and I have been working with her, holding her front leg up and out, and having her submit and let us do it, and then she gets a reward. That worked pretty well today. Misty got a piece of carrot each time Jim worked on her feet and set them down. She scored about 3 carrots and we got an obedient pony.
She is a smart girl and she seems to have made up her mind to work with us with less testing of the humans going on….
Overall, Misty is very fun to work with. She has a good work ethic and if she could do as well to the left as she does to the right for us, she would. I just think it is soreness and some weakness that keeps her from cooperating/balancing to the left. I’ve learned over the years that most horses will give you a lot of work/cooperation; almost every time that I had begun to think it was “attitude” versus pain, we discovered the cause, addressed it, and then no more bad behavior. When you hit resistance it is usually pain or protective behavior. Even in very dominant horses, they might “test” you, but, they almost always have a very good work ethic.
Ginger is doing fabulously with Kim Lacy! She has really come along nicely. I went to ride her and we got a video of her going w/t/c. She is ready for adoption or to return to SHS to be ridden and shown. Kim has taken her on trail rides on her property and is working on loading in the trailer, she was good for both.