When a horse leaves SAFE for its new home, we hope that there is a ‘forever’ tacked in front, but this is not always the case. But our commitment to a SAFE horse is lifelong, and when Artie needed to return to us, we welcomed him back with open arms.


Artie had left SAFE as a companion. This was not always our intent for him – an able bodied young gelding like Artie was more than capable of becoming a riding horse. But his years spent as a stallion, defending his band and himself in the veritable ‘wild’ he was rescued from had made him cautious, perpetually concerned with the threat of danger descending from overhead. This trait, while very useful for survival outside captivity, is not one very well suited to domestic life. When we first started Artie’s training under saddle and saw immediately how difficult it would be for him to unlearn his ways of self-preservation and be comfortable with a rider on his back. There comes a point in our assessment and work with a horse where we determine that what the horse would have to go through to be a safe riding horse would not be worth it to them, and we are fully under the belief that just because a horse is not a riding horse does not make them any less valuable. So when Artie found a home as a companion, we couldn’t have been happier for him.


And you already know what happens next. Artie returns to SAFE, and to greet him again as a domestic pony while his wild stallion days still remain fresh-ish in our minds is the best kind of shock. Here is an Artie who has learned how to wear a blanket, and who has stood for a fresh cut from a pair of clippers. Artie has grown since his days as a feral thing, confined to a round pen for fear he’d make a break for it. We took Artie’s return to SAFE as a new chapter in his life, to be filled with some new experiences.


After Terry’s initial assessment, Lexee N began groundwork with Artie. After hours in the round pen together, working their way through the Red Book, it was determined that becoming a saddle horse was perhaps not out of the question anymore. But they would have to take things slow, go at Artie’s pace, which was fine by all involved parties. Our horsemanship volunteers are nothing if not patient, and so Artie’s new journey began.


So far, things are going well for these two. There are many steps taken to prepare a horse for being saddled and eventually carrying a rider, but as Lexee assures Artie, they have all the time in the world.