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, 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.
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.
Richard Duncan is Senior Director of Systems Engineering for F5 Networks Inc., leading the Company’s Service Provider Systems Engineering and Solution Architects for the Americas. He has worked in the Information Technology field for more than 20 years, extensively in the areas of designing and implementing Data Center infrastructures.
His 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 Duncans 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.
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 on his honeymoon with Eileen, and has not looked back. After mastering the basics, he moved on to hunter/jumper riding and teamed up with his gray Dutch Warmblood, Kingston. Together they have ridden in many hunter/jumper events, as well as a foray into dressage with Half Trak Farm. The pair is currently training with Archway Equestrian Sports. He and his wife have fostered 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. (email)
Joe Schick brings a strong finance background to SAFE. Over a 30+ year career, he has held various senior and executive financial positions at large public and private companies. He has been a CFO for the last 10 years and is currently CFO at Branded Entertainment Network (BEN), an advertising company owned by Bill Gates. He is also a CPA.
He has worked with and been a member of boards throughout his career, including public company boards (Expedia as a SVP of Finance interacting with the Board and BioLife Solutions where he is an independent board member); private company boards (as CFO of Vertafore, Talyst, and BEN); and non-profit boards (Hollywood Hill PTA, Homeward Pet, the Archdiocese of Seattle, and now SAFE).
Joe and his wife Bernice have owned horses on their 3-acre farm in Woodinville for almost 30 years. They adopted Atticus from SAFE a few years ago and Atticus is enjoying his golden years under their care.
Maeve Harris is an American abstract painter. At the age of eight she started her life long love affair with all things equestrian — from riding horses and competing in her youth to developing a large collection of equine paintings in her oeuvre. Maeve first became involved with SAFE in 2009 in a fundraising capacity, and she co-founded the first Heart of the Horse auction. She also helped foster SAFE horses Jasmine and Lola and has been a supporter and fan of SAFE in recent years as the organization has grown. Maeve likes to say she was rescued by a former broodmare, a paint named Sugar, who has taught her the value of patience, persistence, and finding a way to enjoy the ride.(email)
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. Barb 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.
Her first horse was a Quarter Horse/Morgan cross named Bonfire who she had for 20 years. Some months after Bonfire passed, Barb started looking in earnest for a new horse, and found out about SAFE from her neighbor. While taking a long look at the website, she found her horse and set the wheels in motion to adopt Kai.
In 2015 another horse caught Barb’s eye for very different reasons: Anakin. He garnered a lot of attention because of the desperate condition he was found in, no one was certain that he’d make it. Local news picked up the story which brought attention to SAFE and the great work that they do. It was a long haul to recovery, but Anakin survived and thrived. Barb adopted him in 2016, giving him his forever home. She says it’s a humbling experience to care for a horse that has so much notoriety, and she is forever grateful to the people who helped make his recovery possible.
Jeannette grew up in San Diego County where she spent every possible moment at a horse rental stable down the road from her home, often trading trail guiding and chores for extra ride time. In her adult years she’s managed teams, projects & multi-departments in various industries while raising a family with her husband Les. In 2006 she met her Heart Horse, Coconut Macaroon, whom she rescued privately. They’ve spent their years together exploring local trails, in the show ring and just enjoying their life together. When the rest of Coconut’s herd was eventually seized by Animal Control authorities in a high profile case Jeannette searched for the surviving herd mates. She found them with SAFE, and immediately vowed to help them in any way she could. Since 2008, Jeannette has served SAFE in several capacities, including Volunteer Coordinator, Intake Manager, special events & the Executive Board of Directors. When not serving SAFE you can find her in the office at several local horse shows or assisting the office at Mt Rainier Equine Veterinary Services. While a Racing Fan & Owner, she is passionate about Thoroughbred Aftercare and makes it a point to stay connected to both the racing industry and aftercare communities. Making a difference in the lives of horses and serving the horse community is among her strongest passions.
Bio and photo to come
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
Jane Millar was lucky enough to have parents who nurtured her love of horses and riding. Throughout her childhood to college, Jane worked with hunter/jumpers in the show ring and (once even) riding to hounds.
Fast forward 35 years, a tiny article in the Woodinville Weekly mentioned horse rescue. Jane has been involved with SAFE ever since, both financially and with her time and energy. She started her SAFE career as most do: as a chore and feed volunteer. Over the years she’s worn several hats including making site visits to meet adopters and to be certain adopted horses, our alumni, are being cared for as promised. She helps handle our mini horses at special off site events; works at our annual horse show, open houses and work parties at our barn. And Jane orients new volunteers, introducing them to our horses, our property and our multiple volunteer opportunities.
Away from the barn, Jane enjoys spending time with her adult son, riding lessons (after so many years, she’s back in the saddle!!), promoting animal welfare, golfing with a women’s league, playing a bit of duplicate bridge, loving her senior pups, and talking up SAFE at any opening!
As Facilities Manager, Jeanne oversees the day-to-day maintenance needs of our stable, attends to the unique needs of our horses and coordinates special projects. She has a special interest in creating and maintaining an environment that is both safe and supportive for our volunteers and guests.
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.
Jolene moved to eastern Washington as a girl and has since considered it home. She always had a special place in her heart for animals. As a young girl she had two Arabians and enjoyed spending countless hours with them. She moved to Alaska a few years later and had to leave her horses behind but they never left her heart. When Jolene moved back to Washington she soon was able to pursue her life’s passion and her intense focus has allowed her to make up for lost time.She enjoys working with these soulful creatures and has made it her mission to provide all the horses she interacts with what they crave most, peace and understanding. Jolene balances her time between her own three horses and volunteering at SAFE, working with troubled horses, rebuilding trust, and ensuring they have a bright future through a solid foundation. She started volunteering at SAFE as a volunteer rider in April of 2015. Her passion for horsemanship has expanded to incorporate elements of cow work, rope work, trails riding and dressage to help build a solid foundation and well-rounded horse.
This year, Jolene is helping to create awareness of the outreach programs SAFE has to offer. She hopes to expand the impact that SAFE has already had, by helping horses in need outside of the rescue.
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.
Lisa Garr learned how to ride (and eventually groom, feed, doctor, and train) horses from a neighbor at the age of 8, whom she would follow around their field, incessantly asking questions about everything horse related until FINALLY the neighbor said, “hey, horse-crazy kid, why don’t you hop on one?”. Bareback, with a halter and lead rope, often in shorts and tennis shoes, with only the admonition of “if you fall off, you get back on”, a lifelong love was brought to fruition.
After almost 20 years of a horsey life, Lisa moved to Los Angeles to pursue an arts career and the ensuing 8-year hiatus from the horse world was 8 1/2 years too long. Upon returning to her beloved Pacific Northwest, Lisa quickly found a Horsey Fix at SAFE in February of 2014. She started as a 2-days-per-week chore volunteer, but soon wormed her way onto the riding and training team, became a Barn Manager Assistant, Resident Event Photographer, and Mini Costume Designer.
Outside of SAFE, Lisa tends bar, photographs people with their ponies, and continues to pursue her various arts (because she IS horse-crazy, but also art-crazy) and talks incessantly about SAFE and the SAFE horses to everyone she knows and meets.
Laura McCorkle has been learning from horses for 40 years, and hopes to someday know something about them. The last 3 years helping out at SAFE in various capacities has been one of the most rewarding of all her equine experiences. She started as a kid on the east coast with borrowed backyard ponies and lesson horses, 4-H, and hoarding-babysitting money to lease scrawny nutcase ponies at the local barn.
Then there were years of hunter-jumpers and show barns, a few fox hunts, lots of trails, much manure-slinging in all sorts of weather, schooling cranky lesson horses, working with therapeutic riding programs on the east coast and in WA, and a 7-year break from intensive riding when her now 17-year-old daughter was young.
Since living on the West Coast, Laura has tried a variety of “natural horsemanship” methods, learned (and enjoyed) some Liberty Work techniques and trick training, and dabbled in Western Pleasure and Reining. When not at SAFE, Laura enjoys sharing her horse addiction with friends and clients, using her poor old Quarter Horse Grady as a training-technique guinea pig, loving on her ancient Red Heeler dog, cooking, watching movies, and being with her awesome family.