What an amazing year Zoe is having. She had her first rides, 30 days of professional training with Nick Donohue, her first trail rides, and two amazing clinics with Buck Brannaman! She is gentle, endearing, and a solid citizen all around. The two areas we are still working on are tightness when being saddled after time off and acceptance of the snaffle bit in the lope/canter. Other than those two things, Zoe has no issues holding her back from being a great riding partner.

I am always thankful to help a SAFE horse move through the basic foundation riding work to the beginning some of the more advanced movements. Zoe is very willing to learn new lateral movements such as leg yields and haunches in. We are also working on transitions within the paces of gaits, such as extended, working and collected walk and trot. Her lope/canter has really improved over the last months. She has a lovely forward rolling rhythm. Her frame into the soft feel is very light and with the right amount of forward impulsion, she carries her poll nicely and is steady in the bridle.

She is very comfortable now that her front hooves have grown out. I still use trail boots in the arena. An adopter could use these or put front shoes on her. Either way she will do great. We keep her on a daily dose of Equioxx to keep her comfortable and she looks good and feels great to ride. Her gaits are smooth and easy on my sore back. For her trail ride experiences she has been brave and willing. She worked up to being able to cross the bridges in the lead and even helped a more season horse pass a scary stump that was going to eat him!

This year I made it a personal goal to ride with Buck Brannaman at his Ellensburg and Spanaway clinics. I am very thankful SAFE let me take Zoe. While these clinics were a great opportunity for Zoe, I felt that using rescue funds for this was not something I wanted to do. Luckily my husband is very supportive and I was able to cover the costs of these clinics myself. I mention this because I think it is important that our supporters know we all are very mindful of how donations are used. The experience that Zoe had will help her in the future to adjust to new situations and be more connected with her rider. The knowledge I gained will help all the horses I touch at SAFE. Many people in the audience had lovely things to say about Zoe and words of encouragement for me. These clinics are great venues for people to see that SAFE does rescue differently, and that the level of training and education the horses are getting is setting them up for a better life.

After both clinics Zoe’s work was brought up to a new level. While still green and in the first year of her riding work, she is on a great path! She was a star for trailering, preparing and riding in the class. The first days we worked on keeping a connection. I really loved all the life that the presence of the other horses built in her. It was fun to work on directing that in a way that made her softer and more responsive. She is a very cool mare!

Zoe’s ideal adopter at this point would have experience with riding green horses. We have no concerns about her ground manners and she is safe around beginners and kids on the ground. She will need some more experience on the trails, so going out with an experienced trail rider and other good steady horses will make this successful.