Jessel is one of three mares seized by animal control in Snohomish County after they were discovered hidden in a barn, locked in filthy stalls, and starving. Jessel was dangerously underweight when she was seized with a Body Condition Score of 1. She and her dam and another mare were signed over to SAFE in late December, four months after their seizure. Jessel is small for her age, likely due to starvation, but she is stunningly pretty and full of life. She has a lot to learn about being a good girl, and she has a bad habit of striking when she is asked to do something she doesn’t want to. But there’s no reason to believe that with the proper education, she can’t learn to behave. A pasture accident involving another horse has left her with some facial swelling, and a procedure was done to remove some bone chips from her nasal cavity. She’s made a full recovery.

Quarter Horse
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Jessel: Training Update

Our baby girl Jessel is growing up to be a fine young riding horse! She has spent the winter in Ellensburg with Joel Conner. He has been fostering her and riding her part time. Since she is so young we don’t want to put too much pressure on her to be in full training but this light and easy approach is really turning out a nice horse! We are going to work on getting her AQHA papers this spring and hopefully see her with Joel at the SAFE show in August! Here is a little from Joel about the progress she has made so far:

Jessel is the most athletic horse I have ridden from SAFE! She has extremely smooth gates, has the potential to turn, and stop like a top-notch cow horse! I have put her on cattle and she is really keen on watching and controlling their movements. She is developing into a horse I don’t want to leave! I have turned her out now with one of my geldings and they are getting along great!  She is taking to roping the dummy and is settling into being a gentle filly!

Training Update: Jessel and Lacey

jessel_Lacey_11_11_2016_01Jessel and Lacey made their way over to Ellensburg to start working with Joel Conner. They are both doing well and I checked in with Joel this week to see how the girls are doing. The plan is to give Lacey 90 days of professional training and let Jessel winter over with Joel. He’s going to lightly start her under saddle and keep her exposed to professional, consistent handling to ensure she is learning the best manners possible.

Here is what Joel had to say about the two girls:

“JWOW (aka Jessel) is doing really good she’s been wonderful to saddle and ride. She is acting a little bit bothered by the road behind her so we’re getting her over that.  Also she is learning how to move away from you when she’s tied up and not kick.

Ol Snooki (aka Lacey) is getting better every day. She is learning how to stay on the wall and walk trot lope.  We are also working with her on making sure that she doesn’t kick when she’s tied up.  We’re working with her with the rope and the mighty fart noise!”

So a little explanation might be needed here…Joel always comes up with nicknames for the horses and this time we just had to share! Snooki and JWOW are quite a pair and the names are just as fun as these two young mares! Also the “mighty fart noise” is something interesting that we found out about Lacey when we started to work with her here at SAFE. She absolutely hates it if you make a kiss sound or “fart noise”. She becomes quite agitated, tossing her head and overreacting! We work on getting her used to it here but Joel is still having to work on getting her to relax about. It.s pretty funny but also a bit puzzling…why would she react to a noise this way but be okay with a tarp hanging off her back? Silly ponies! Sometimes you have to just scratch your head, smile, and tell her she’s going to be alright and a noise will not hurt her.

Both of these horses were my training projects while they were here at SAFE and I grew to love their personalities. They both have a very sweet side but before we could see that sweet side, they needed to learn to respect their handler. I am very excited to see the work Joel is doing with them and thrilled to have such good report cards coming in. I miss seeing them at the barn but know this is an important time in their lives and trust Joel’s skills 100%. It is amazing to be able to work with such a gifted and heartfelt trainer, I know the girls are going to turnout to be wonderful riding horses!

Here are some photos of them at Joel’s:


Saddling Session at the Joel Conner Clinic

Sunday morning, three young redheads were saddled up and worked in the roundpen at the start of the clinic. This included Jessel (who met the saddle for the first time at yesterday’s clinic), Sophie, and Lacey. Here are photos from this session:

Introducing the saddle to Jessel

Jessel is still too young to be started (she turns 3 in April) but it’s not too soon to introduce her to the saddle and get her accustomed to carrying it on her back. Joel Conner worked with Jessel during the morning Groundwork session at the clinic, and then saddled her up for the very first time. She looks pretty good in Western gear, doesn’t she?

Jessel Medical Update

On February 5th, Jessel sustained a skull fracture while she and Tess were playing in turnout. Radiographs were taken and determined that the fracture was about 2 1/2” long and had slightly dislodged the bone in her face. She was prescribed antibiotics, pain medication and stall rest, and given a good prognosis for full recovery–albeit with a bit of an odd looking face. Healing went well until about the end of March when she suddenly started showing signs of being in pain and she was tilting her head.

Dr. McCracken was called, and radiographs showed that the fracture itself was healing, but there was a sequestrum (a piece of dead bone tissue occurring within a diseased or injured bone) that was causing pain at the fracture site. We were given two options: A) wait and see if the bone either resorbed or pushed itself out on its own, or B) go in surgically to remove it. Dr. McCracken’s recommendation was to remove it surgically since it appeared to be painful.

On April 6th, surgery was performed and 3 bone chips were removed from Jessel’s face. It was clear that at least the largest of the 3 chips would not have resorbed on its own, evidence that surgery was the right decision. Surgical recovery went well, the sutures have been removed, and Jessel has healed great. We will soon have an update from Dr. McCracken on when she can get the all-clear and head out to foster.

Jessel Liberty Work

Getting to know Jessel

Jessel_01-01-2015Well color me impressed! Jessel had her first health check up with Dr. McCracken and she was a superstar. She was a little shocked by the first vaccine but it only got better with the others. We will be giving her more boosters in a few weeks but at least she won’t need a dental exam until closer to when she is started under saddle. She has gained a good amount of weight and is very playful and happy.

We have started to lightly ground work Jessel and are training her to be good to lead, not crowd one’s space and be comfortable having her feet picked. This will take some time to master but she is very smart and learning quickly. She is a little “pushy” on her right side so we are leading and working her from that side to get her used to people on both sides.

Jessel’s personality is inquisitive and brave with an underlying sweetness. It looks like she will mature to just under 15 hands and that she will be a pretty little mover. She still needs exposure to new things and to learn that humans can be her leaders. Our biggest challenge will be in a few weeks when we have to separate her from Bean. Hopefully, our relationship with her will be good enough to comfort her and Bean during that process.


Jessel’s Ten Friends:

1. Laurie R.

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3. _____________________

4. _____________________

5. _____________________

6. _____________________

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Click here to sponsor Jessel!