We are extremely thankful Trela found SAFE. Her hard work, dedication, positivity and “up for any task” attitude is priceless and we couldn’t do it without volunteers like her. Learn a little more about Trela below.
HOW AND WHEN DID YOU FIRST GET INVOLVED WITH HORSES?
As a child, I grew up in Indiana and my family had a few horses, cows and chickens (but I was so young, that I don’t think that counts).
After I decided to leave the corporate environment a few years ago, I began to think about “what was next for me” – finding something to get involved with – to give my time, energy and heart to.
While watching the Netflix series “Heartland,” it definitely sparked my interest in working with horses. So I Googled “Volunteering with Horses” and found SAFE. After being on a waitlist for a month, I started out on the Tues AM chore team, and two weeks later started working with the Wed and Thurs facilities teams. After my shifts, I would spend time walking around the farm and watching and observing all of the horses, getting to know each of them and their personalities and watching them interact with each other. I knew at that point that I totally loved being around horses and fully immersed myself in learning about them and spending time watching them. I have also taken every opportunity to watch the staff handle and train them and have attended almost every Joel Conner Clinic to watch and learn.
In addition to volunteering at SAFE, I also spent time volunteering at two other horse rescues, and a horse therapy ranch to gain more experience and get more hands-on horse time. I also enrolled in horsemanship lessons, where I was able to get instruction and experience with handling horses and doing groundwork. I am so grateful for the experience that I have gained so far, and what I have learned through the time and effort that I have put into my passion of spending time with and learning about horses. Today, I am only volunteering and spending my “horse time” exclusively at SAFE (three days a week, sometimes more) and have recently become part of SAFE’s Horsemanship program.
DO YOU HAVE ONE NOW, THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO TELL US ABOUT?
No, I don’t have a horse of my own…. (I don’t think the crocheted horses that I made count….haha)
WHAT DO YOU LIKE THE MOST ABOUT VOLUNTEERING WITH SAFE?
Being part of an amazing organization that puts the health, care, safety and training of all horses first, and foremost. In addition to that, I enjoy volunteering with so many amazing people who also have a like-minded passion for horses and are so much fun to be around. I also totally respect and enjoy spending time with the staff, leadership team and team at the top – they are so talented, knowledgeable, tireless, compassionate and dedicated – and are always so friendly and positive!! A great environment to be a part of!! And last, but not least, I truly appreciate being recognized for my hard work and time invested and being given opportunities to spend time with the horses and start my life-long learning and horsemanship journey.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE SAFE HORSE? IF SO, WHY?
I did not really have a ‘favorite’ horse until recently – until a very special gelding let me know that I am a person that he recognizes, connects with, and wants to be with. It is Domino “Dom” – who I started spending time with by grooming him one day a week since last October. He always recognized me at the gate and thoroughly enjoyed his grooming sessions and was even close to falling asleep a number of times. We also spent some good time together when he was one of the SAFE horses that participated in a Leadership with Horses workshop that was held at SAFE — and I was Domino’s horse handler. The two of us definitely bonded and connected with each other that day, as he did have some moments of fear and reacted (not during the workshop, thankfully – he was awesome and did very well), and I was able to help him calm down and let him know that he was ok.
Since then, on a number of occasions, (especially when he has been in the grass turnout paddock and a good distance away), he has stopped eating grass to look up at me, and walked all the way down through the paddock to the gate to come see me — he has even come running to me when I entered the gate to take him back to his paddock, and a few times after I entered the paddock and called his name, he would look up and walk all the way down to me.
I can’t even tell you how much it warms my heart every time he recognizes my presence and comes to me all on his own. A very special guy indeed, and he has won my heart as “my favorite SAFE horse.”
WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU ARE NOT HORSING AROUND WITH US?
Going on weekend boating adventures with my husband (Kurt) – cruising and mooring at the many Puget Sound marinas, or just spending time and anchoring on Lake Washington. Some of our favorite destinations are Eagle Harbor, Gig Harbor, Poulsbo, Friday Harbor, Deer Harbor and Roche (really anywhere in the San Juans). I also enjoy fitness activities, craft projects and spending time outdoors.
DO YOU HAVE FAMILY OR SPECIAL PEOPLE IN YOUR LIFE WHO SUPPORT YOUR VOLUNTEER WORK THAT YOU WOULD WANT TO MENTION IN YOUR WRITE UP?
Kurt (my amazing husband) – He knows how much horses mean to me and totally supports the number of hours I spend at SAFE volunteering, attending horsemanship sessions and spending time with great people and friends.