Introducing some of the many people who make SAFE happen. Without them, we could not do the work that we do. The only individuals on this page who are paid for their services are our full time Executive and Operation Directors, our Herd Health Manager, our Development Manager, and our two Barn Mangers. The rest of the team volunteers their time, their talents, and their passion to make a huge difference for horses in need. Our Board of Directors and Operation Council members work in support of the 120+ SAFE volunteers who make this organization strong. There are many opportunities to get involved and join our team! If you’re interested, please visit our Volunteer Information page to learn more!
Since the founding of SAFE in 2005, Bonnie has focused on creating an organization that is open and accessible to its supporters, from its transparent financials to the wealth of information available about the horses on our website. Bonnie has worked locally as a graphic designer for the past 18 years, and she lends her skills to the public face of SAFE through its website and other communications. Bonnie is responsible for finding continual sources of funding for SAFE’s operation. She is devoted to the stewardship of our valued donors and acts as the primary point of contact for donors and other members of the public. She loves meeting new people and introducing them to SAFE. A relative newcomer to the horse world, Bonnie started riding at the age of 37, but quickly made up for lost time. In addition to co-founding SAFE, she also competed on the local Hunter/Jumper circuit. In January 2015, she adopted SAFE horse Owen, a formerly unhandled untouchable Curly Horse stallion that she gentled and helped train, and the two are building a bond through dressage and trail riding. (email)
Terry Phelps-Peddy has a long history of riding and working with horses. She spent two years in Calgary, Alberta, Canada working for Olympic dressage rider Bonny Bonnello, managing a training facility with over 45 horses in residence. Terry is an accomplished dressage rider, having competed in dressage through Intermediare I and schooled up to Grand Prix. As SAFE’s Operations Director, Terry is responsible for the day to day operations of the rescue, including caring for the horses at Safe Harbor Stables and overseeing adoptions, foster homes, the volunteer program, and much more. Terry is also responsible for the training program at Safe Harbor Stables and beyond. She has developed a robust network of local trainers and volunteer riders, who provide the SAFE horses with the education and exercise they need to prepare for their forever homes. Terry loves each of the SAFE horses as if they were her own. She shares her home with her husband Marcus and their dogs Maya and Bella.
Melinda has been a horse fanatic from the very beginning. She convinced her parents to buy her a Morgan gelding when she was 9, and spent her formative years immersed in the Snohomish County 4‑H horse program. In 2003, she started a job at a dog and cat shelter and consequently fell in love with animal rescue. That job eventually led her to realize that her calling in life was to be a veterinary technician, and she obtained her license in 2008. Her goal as a vet tech was to become involved in equine medicine and small animal shelter medicine, and she has built her career around both of those passions. She started out at an equine hospital in California, then became homesick and moved back to Washington where she worked in an ambulatory practice and as an equine surgical technician at a large referral hospital. Several years later she moved away from a career with horses after being offered a position at an animal shelter.
In an effort to remain connected to equine medicine, she approached SAFE in September 2013 to volunteer her time as a vet tech to help with whatever medical care was needed. She also took on a weekly feeding shift and then started working with the horses as a volunteer rider. She stepped into the role of Herd Health Manager in 2015. Melinda is responsible for overseeing the day to day medical care of all horses under SAFE’s care. She works closely with our veterinarians, coordinating all routine and emergency care. On any given day you can find her doing such tasks as devising feeding plans, treating a wound, or out in a field taking vital signs.
In her spare time, Melinda enjoys being in the great outdoors with her husband, Chris, daughter Natalie, and their cattle dog, Karma. She also volunteers as a vet tech at the same animal shelter where it all began.
Kit Topaz is a Pacific Northwest native who adores animals and children. She is a life-long horse lover. She has had many adventures in horse ownership and rescue work. As a young adult she volunteered for animal rescues in California, Oregon, and Washington. In 1997 Kit was a member of the United Animal Nations- Emergency Animal Rescue Service and provided rescue assistance during a major flood in Sacramento, CA.
Kit got her start in nonprofit management when her children were young serving as vice president of fundraising for local preschools and PTAs. The PTA provided nonprofit management training and planted a seed which grew into a passion for helping nonprofits. Kit started spending time at SAFE in 2015 because she missed horses and wanted to give back. Kit spent about a year working on a chore shift before she joined the SAFE Operations Council for a stint as Volunteer Coordinator. Kit has served as a shift lead and has filled in for our barn managers. Thanks to her experience in the barn as well as on the Operations Council, Kit has an in-depth understanding of what is at the heart of SAFE. Kit is well connected with our volunteers and our horses. She joins the administrative team as our Development Manager to assist with our major fundraising campaigns. Kit is thrilled to be part of the SAFE family full time.
Kit shares her Woodinville home with her husband of 19 years, Greg Meyer, and their teenage children Davis and Nadia. The Topaz-Meyer family is currently owned by two Collie dogs and one large tabby cat.
After moving to Seattle to pursue a coffee career in 2017, Kaya realized there was a horse shaped (and sized) hole in her new life. She stumbled upon SAFE online and immediately started volunteering. Kaya soon learned of the horsemanship program and was so impressed, she decided to learn all she could about this method of working with horses. While pursuing this knowledge and skill set, Kaya worked as the Retail Manager for a nonprofit coffee company that trains young adults who are experiencing homelessness to be baristas. Through this experience Kaya learned a lot about working with people from all backgrounds and honed her teaching skills. At SAFE, Kaya assists Terry as the Operations Manager, working with adoptions, outreach and horsemanship.
One of the organizations that Dan has been proud to be a member of is the Washington Civil War Association (WCWA) Cavalry Unit. He has served in a variety of different capacities with the WCWA since 1997, from starting his own Calvary Unit to standing as WCWA President for the State of Washington with over 1,000 members. Currently Dan is serving as the Equestrian Safety Advisor for the organization.
Dan is a natural leader and mentor with the ability to guide, inspire, and problem solve. He officially joined the SAFE Board of Directors in 2020, but he’s been an advocate and support of the organization for the past four years. He graciously accepted the role of Board President in April 2020, bringing his strong leadership abilities to the Board as it works to build an exciting future for SAFE.
Dan has been a leader in the real estate industry for over 30 years. In Dan’s downtime, he enjoys a good cigar, time with his family, vacationing, and cheering on the the Seahawks.
As a lifelong resident of western Washington, William has always cared a great deal about animals and nature. He learned to ride in his early twenties in preparation for a horse trekking excursion Ireland. He has ridden in hunter/jumper events, as well as dressage together with his gray Dutch Warmblood, Kingston. He’s helped foster SAFE horses including Sinatra, Marta, and Shay. William works as a Site Reliability Engineer for Google in their Seattle offices with Meta, a rescued German Shepherd, at his side.
Wendy grew up in Southern Oregon on a home with just enough acreage for a couple horses. She was a longtime 4‑H member, riding through the hills and along the rivers of the Umpqua Valley near Roseburg. She practiced equitation, trail, and gymkhana, hoping that–if she tried really hard–she might someday be half as talented as her horses were.
She now lives with her husband and twin teenage boys in University Place. For fun, they like skiing, baseball, hiking and watching Pac-12 football. Wendy enjoys her time in Redmond at SAFE, witnessing the horses’ growth and improvements under the guidance of SAFE’s talented and energetic staff and volunteers.
She has a global career that spans both the private and non-profit sectors, including global finance, marketing and operational leadership roles at GE Healthcare, Russell Investments, and PATH. Wendy is a Lean and Six Sigma Master Black Belt, with an MBA from the University of Washington and a BS in Journalism/PR from the University in Oregon. She is also on the Board of the Pierce County Library Foundation.
Ani O’Hara has always had a connection to animals — she says she’s never met an animal she didn’t love! During her teenage years, she spent summers on her Aunt Mary’s farm in Cordoba, Argentina, tending to the farm and riding horses. These are Ani’s best childhood memories. Fast forward to 2019, when an awakening that told her she had to reconnect with horses. She found SAFE, and began volunteering on a morning chore shift. She says that the extraordinary work SAFE does for so many beautiful beings who deserve their best life is one of a kind. She also found truly kind people, an instant sense of peace doing chores, and a tremendous interest in one of the best run organizations she’s ever seen. A position on the SAFE Board of Directors offered her an opportunity to contribute in an additional way.
After 20 years in the healthcare industry, Ani started O’Hara Consulting and Coaching which specializes in culture building, employee engagement, and leadership. She has dedicated herself to helping people take their talent to the next level. In her work with organizations, she facilitates a process to align vision and values with behavior and performance. Ani shares her professional talents and skills with SAFE’s staff and volunteers, helping build stronger and more effective teams together.
For fun, Ani loves reading, writing and anything outdoors — especially near a body of water.
Jennifer was introduced to SAFE with an invitation to be a guest to our annual Heart of the Horse auction four years ago. She was so taken and inspired by SAFE’s mission and work with the horses that she has been an advocate for the organization ever since. Jennifer joined as a member of our Board of Directors in 2020.
Jennifer is experienced working with non-profits in a variety of capacities and is excited to be on the board to help SAFE grow to support our mission to rescue, rehabilitate, retrain horses and place them into forever homes.
Jennifer is in the real estate industry with over 18 years of experience. Jennifer resides in Stanwood and enjoys hosting gatherings for her large family, time with her precious grandkids, gardening, wine tasting, and travel.
SAFE Founding Board of Directors
Past Members of the Board of Directors
Debi Shatos, Past President
Kyle Putnam, Past President
Eileen Carrel, Past President
Sheridan Jones, Past President
Richard Duncan, Past President
Carrie loves horses and marketing! She first volunteered at SAFE in 2013 as barn help, and later became a serial SAFE horse foster and adopter with Finn, Banjo, and Gunnar. Besides being very skilled with a muck rake, Carrie has loads of experience in loyalty, email, and social media marketing that she can bring to bear for SAFE’s amazing horses. When she’s not updating adoption posts, Carrie is probably chasing her toddler or (hopefully) riding.
As our Special Projects Facilities volunteer, Jeanne coordinates special projects here at Safe Harbor Stables and attends to the unique needs of our horses. She has a special interest in creating and maintaining an environment that is both safe and supportive for our volunteers and guests, and she takes great pride in the beauty and safety of our horses’ home.
Jeanne started volunteering at SAFE in 2014 after retiring from a long nursing career. Not being a lifelong horse person, she discovered our organization after reading a feature in the Woodinville Weekly! The compassion expressed in that little article sparked her curiosity and began what she calls “the best retirement ever”!
Volunteering at SAFE since 2013, Tiffany’s primary focus is helping to raise funds and drive awareness for SAFE. She originally joined to help with procurement for Heart of the Horse and then expanded her role to assist with the quarterly open house events and annual benefit horse show. She partners with the many teams at SAFE to help plan and execute events for our supporters, and generate partnership opportunities and awareness with businesses and the public – the Fred Meyer Community Rewards program, the annual “SAFE Day at the Safe” fundraiser with the Mariners, holiday wrapping events partnering with the Microsoft Store at Bellevue Square, and much more.
When not working at her day job as a Microsoft Program Manager, Tiffany enjoys watching baseball and football, traveling with her husband or friends, and yes, spending time at the barn with the horses.
When SAFE rescues a horse, it makes a commitment to that horse for its entire life – once a SAFE horse, always a SAFE horse! As SAFE’s Alumni Program Manager, Shar is responsible for following up with every horse that has “graduated” from SAFE’s program. She maintains contact with people who have adopted from SAFE and coordinates regular follow up visits with each adopter and his or her horse.
Shar has been a part of the SAFE family since 2012. She served on the SAFE Board of Directors from 2013 to 2014. When Shar is not volunteering at SAFE or working at Seattle Children’s Hospital, she enjoys hiking with her husband and dog and doing crafty things like scrapbooking and making greeting cards to send to friends and family.
When Lexee’s family moved next door to an equestrian center, she knew at age 5 that she wanted to learn how to ride and care for horses. On the brink of turning 7, Lexee finally got her wish and began taking horseback riding lessons at a local riding center. She fell head over heels in love with horses and over the next 11 years of her life, she became a farm hand, camp counselor, and trainer at the facility.
Lexee first became involved with horse rescue about six years ago, when SAFE moved their operations to the farm next door to where she lived! She and her mother started off as Night Check volunteers, as well as participating in Work Parties, and helping out at the barn when bad weather kept other volunteers away. When SAFE moved to Redmond, Lexee couldn’t volunteer on a weekly basis anymore but happily took over the position of Open House Manager. When the position of Weekend Barn Manager opened up, she was encouraged to apply for the position and ended up landing the job.
When Lexee isn’t at SAFE, she’s working towards her bachelor’s degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering. After she graduates in 2019, her plan is to continue to get a Master’s in Structural Engineering. Lexee also volunteers with a local riding club where she runs horse shows and works on the facilities team where she spends a great deal of time on a big green tractor. Lexee loves the outdoors; she enjoys camping, hiking, running, and exploring local trails with her horses and dogs.