January Volunteer of the Month: Dave Shepherdson

Dave Shepherdson of Kenmore is SAFE’s January Volunteer of the Month in recognition of his willingness to serve tirelessly on multiple chore shifts and with the Facilities crew.

Dave came to SAFE initially because he wanted to spend time with his wife Colleen, who was volunteering on Friday evenings. He asked if he could come and help and soon became a regular. But even before signing on as a regular shift volunteer, Dave was instrumental in building new fencing and shelters for our horses.

Colleen Shepherdson and their daughter Bianca owned horses and a “cheeky” pony in their native South Africa. Dave says the pony would jump a five-foot railing to get into dog food stored in the garage. The family immigrated to Minnesota in 2001 and later moved to Kenmore. They became U.S. citizens in 2012.

Dave has enjoyed getting to be around horses for the first time and getting to know most of them. “They are really cool animals and, treated right, are like big puppies. I now can sense if they want to be left alone or would like a scratch.”

Asked if he has a favorite, he says, “I guess it is a reciprocal relationship. I really like Emmy and she likes me, so we tend to have lots of interaction when mucking out her stall.”

When not helping out at SAFE, Dave enjoys going to the gym and practicing 3D Archery.

SAFE is an amazing haven for horses because of people like Dave. Thank you, Dave!

Training Update: Stevie

Stevie left for Ellensburg last week to begin training with Joel Conner. He was a good boy, jumped right into the trailer and was calm and not stressed even though he was traveling alone. He arrived and settled in well. I spoke to Joel about him and he said that he is doing well and he put the first ride on him today. We were also concerned about the transition to the colder climate but Joel remarked that Stevie is handling the cold very well. He also complemented SAFE again for all the prep work that was done to get him ready for riding. Casey did an amazing job with Stevie which will not only make Joel’s job easier but less stressful for Stevie. We can’t wait to see him going under saddle and getting Casey over to ride him as he transitions back to SAFE as a riding horse. Our plan is to have him with Joel for 30-60 days of professional training so he will be back either the end of February or the end of March.

Here are some photos from the day he left Safe Harbor with one of Stevie’s biggest fans, volunteer Caren M.:

Training & Health Update: Cameo

Cameo is coming along really well in her rehab work and she is now ready for the weight of a rider. Volunteer rider Lindsay was excited to help Cameo take this next step and helped her have a happy and easy ride. Here is a video of her first ride back:


Jewel getting some body work

The cold weather has been hard on all of us. The horses and volunteers had to endure a few weeks of abnormally low temperatures for our area and we are all looking forward to warmer spring and summer months! One of the biggest problems is the very hard ground in our dry lot for turnout. Unfortunately, Jewel went out there and jumped around and came in sore. To help release some of the tight muscles in her neck and hind, Lori spent some time massaging her. She really liked the work and we took this funny video of the great releases she was getting and all the BIG yawns! Jewel is feeling better now and back to work. We are going to make sure that Lori gets to her on a regular basis and have the chiropractor come out again soon. All good things to help her feel her best and like all of us… make it through the cold weather!

Health Update: Gracie

We are so happy to report that Miss Gracie is feeling happy and healthy! When the winter weather hit and turnout became limited, the amount of time outside or grazing for the horses was drastically shortened. While we work very hard to rotate all of the horses out into the arena or dry lot, there just is not enough space or time to equal what it was in the summer.

Gracie unfortunately had two very mild colics about 2 weeks apart when this transition to limited turnout occurred. She felt better each time with just a dose of bananime and the vet did not need to come out to see her but we new something needed to change. After talking to Dr. Fleck we suggested that we transition her over to a 3/4 senior complete feed mash and 1/4 hay diet. This made a world of difference and Gracie seems happier than she has ever been at Safe Harbor. Her eyes are bright and her personality and energy levels are very good.

One of the cutest part of our day is preparing and bringing her her mash. She LOVES it and LOVES you for bringing it to her. There is a lot of nickering and yummy yummy messy lips to show you how happy she is for the food. It is our hope that when she finds her forever home, they might have more turnout and grazing pastures for her to live on. She could then transition over to more of the traditional hay and grain as vitamin type of diet but for now she is really thriving on what we are doing for her.

Here are a few photos of Gracie and volunteer Melissa:

Training update and Video: Vida

Here is an update of Vida’s progress from her volunteer rider, Jolene:

Vida got her first lesson in tying yesterday. She did really good. Only pulled once and though she meant it, she came off it and was really good. While she was tied I worked on taming that wild mane of hers. She will need to work on standing for some time since she starts to be come impatient and paws the ground. She was good for the spray conditioner too.

Below is a video of their 3rd ride together and photos:

Training Update: King

King is working through the groundwork phases to becoming a riding horse. Last week Jolene began having him come up to her along the fence, to get him used to her swinging her leg over him and weight of her on his back. As you can see from the video, he took all of this very well and was happy and content. Our goal with a sensitive horse like this is to allow him the time and patience to progress without making things a huge ordeal. Days like this are building a strong foundation of trust and partnership that will follow him for the rest of his life.This will teach him to trust people so that when situations arise where he needs to make choices, he will remember that people made him feel peace and safe around them even when new presented with new things. He can look to people for how to react or guidance in what to do. King has changed dramatically from that horse that showed up at SAFE just 3 months ago, who was afraid of everything and had no idea how to reach around people. By concentrating on basic manners and a solid foundation SAFE is truly making a difference in this horse’s life. And let me tell you it is going to be a great life! He is going to be a very nice riding horse and a wonderful partner to his future family!

Here is a short video of King getting to feel the weight of a rider for the first time:

Here are some beautiful photos Jessica Farren took of Jolene working with King in the round pen:

Welcome Barb Ferderer and Richard Duncan to the SAFE Board!

We have two new members joining the SAFE Board of Directors for 2017: Barbara Ferderer and Richard Duncan. Here’s some information about each of them to help you get to know them better!

Barbara Ferderer

An accomplished Graphic Designer, Barb followed her heart and the man who would become her husband to western Washington over 22 years ago, never looking back. While relatively new to SAFE, she is no stranger to horses. She wanted a horse from the moment she saw one, always hopeful that this dream would come true. While waiting, she rode with friends as often as the opportunity presented itself, most memorably on a paint pony named Bucky. Over time she became an accomplished rider, taking on “naughty” horses who in her mind were just misunderstood. Long before she’d heard of Buck Brannaman, Barb tried communicating with horses by mimicking their behaviors, this changed everything.

Fast forward to 1994 when Barb and her husband bought a house on some property in Buckley. There was a horse there whose owner was leasing pasture. She stopped by once, intending to move him, that was the last time anyone saw her. She abandoned him, effectively making him Barb’s first rescue. She knew he was in bad shape based on how overweight he was. The vet and a farrier both gave her a grim report: he had laminitis and needed to lose at least 200 lbs. Undeterred, Barb asked what needed to be done and she got to work. It was a winter of putting pads on his feet and carefully monitoring his diet, making headway a few steps at a time. By mid-summer of the following year Bonfire was a new horse, he’d been given a clean bill of health and cleared to ride, which he and Barb did for the next 20 years.

After Bonfire, Barb started looking in earnest for a new horse, finding out about SAFE from her neighbor Michel. While taking a long look at the website, Barb found her horse, and set the wheels in motion to adopt Kai. In December of 2015 another horse captivated Barb, it was Anakin. He was on the news and after taking one look at him even in his desperate state, she could tell he wanted to live. When she found out that SAFE was taking him on, she called to let them know that she wanted him. Nobody was sure he would live, but he did. Throughout his recovery, Barb visited Anakin several times, clearly making sure that everyone knew she was going to give this horse a home, which she did in August of 2016.

Richard Duncan

Richard Duncan is Director of Systems Engineering for F5 Networks Inc., leading the company’s Service Provider Systems Engineering team for the Americas.

Richard’s first real encounter with a horse was in early 2014 when his wife announced that she intended to buy one. Being a business professional, Richard naturally approached getting a horse from a business perspective. What was the capital cost of the horse? Could they maintain the operational cost of this horse for the next 15 years? His wife’s view? “I love that horse.” Over time, the Duncan’s added two more horses to their family; a very flashy Palomino show horse and a regal and majestic Friesian/Arabian cross. Richard enjoys watching the three horses play in the field, and finds it very peaceful and entertaining. Richard says that over the last 2½ years, his wife Jolene has taught him to better understand horses. Most importantly, he now understands that when their Palomino pins back her ears, it’s not cute. She is pissed off.

So why SAFE? Richard believes that the employees and volunteers at SAFE give a voice to the world for beautiful creatures that don’t have one of their own…unless you have the gift of being able to understand them. He says that Anakin is a good example of a horse who had a voice and made himself understood. He would like those voice to be able to speak louder and reach further, so more people can experience the love of horses.

Introducing the 2017 SAFE Board of Directors:

Sheridan Jones, President
Richard Duncan, Vice President
Lara Lutz, Treasurer
W. Andy Carrel, Secretary
Eileen Carrel
Barbara Ferderer
Maeve Harris

December Volunteer of the Month: Megan Wilson

Megan with her mom and her mom’s horse, Atlanta

December’s Volunteer of the Month, Megan Wilson,started volunteering at SAFE in 2013 and now leads the Saturday morning chores team. Megan was nominated for this recognition by her peers and is admired for her upbeat, positive attitude that embodies the spirit of volunteerism.

Originally from Virginia, Megan and her husband Carlton (who also fills in at SAFE when needed) now call West Seattle home. She grew up riding horses and competed in hunter/jumpers and eventing during high school and college. She also volunteered with a therapeutic riding program while a college student.

Megan was looking for a way to get involved with horses after settling in Seattle when she came across the SAFE website. “SAFE has become such a special part of my life,” she says. “I feel so lucky to be part of such a dedicated, wonderful, supportive, caring group of volunteers!”

Since losing her mare Julep to colic last year, Megan is part-leasing a mare from a good friend. She enjoys the SAFE horses, and while she doesn’t admit to a favorite, she likes working with Cameo because “she challenges me to be better. She’s so sweet, but also sensitive, and even just hand-walking her is an opportunity for me to improve my communication with her. I can’t wait for her to find her forever home so she can really bond with her person.”

Megan is a family medicine physician at the UW Family Medicine residency program. “When I’m not working or at a barn, I’m usually hanging out with my wonderful and very supportive husband.”

Announcement: SAFE is Moving to a New Home in Redmond!

Announcement: SAFE is Moving to a New Home in Redmond!

After nearly 5 years in our current Woodinville home, SAFE is going to be moving to a new location. On Feb 1, we will begin packing our belongings and moving our horses to a fabulous equestrian center located in Redmond WA. This facility has 30 stalls, an indoor arena, a covered arena, a covered round pen, and an outdoor arena, all on 11 usable acres with plenty of turnouts and grass pastures for the SAFE horses. The location simply cannot be beat: we’ll be right next door to Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center and directly adjacent to Ferrill-McWhirter Farm Park with its miles of horse riding trails. Yes, we can ride our horses straight off the property and straight into the park. Dream come true, am I right?

As we prepare to move on, we get ready to bid a very fond farewell to Safe Harbor Stables in Woodinville. We are deeply indebted to Anne C., the owner of this property, for everything she has done for SAFE over the last five years. In early 2012, when SAFE suddenly found itself homeless, we approached Anne with a proposal to take over her facility, which at the time was a self-care boarding stable. Anne took a chance on this fledgling horse rescue operation, and allowed us to lease her horse property. It has been an amazing home for us. We grew so much while we’ve been here…expanding our volunteer program to as many as 8-15 individuals working in three shifts every day of the week…developing our training program and our volunteer rider program…hosting Open Houses and educational seminars and opening our doors to our supporters in Woodinville and beyond…and all of this growth was made possible in part by the beautiful equestrian facility we called home. Throughout it all, Anne has been much more than just our landlady, she’s been a supporter, a cheerleader, and a friend. We are so grateful to Anne for giving us this amazing opportunity and making it such a joy to be here.

Aerial View (click to enlarge)
The month of February is going to be a bit chaotic for us, but we are so excited to get started. We plan to move the horses mid-month — which will give us time to get their stalls fluffed and ready — and our offices will likely be moved toward the end of the month. We’re planning our first Open House for late April and we hope that everyone will stop by and say hello.

Nothing that SAFE does would be possible without the support of our donors and our volunteers. As we take this big step towards an exciting tomorrow, that is a fact that becomes even more clear to all of us. Just as these horses are your horses, this new home is your home too. Can’t wait for you to see it!! Thank you so very much for being a part of SAFE.