Category Archives: Announcement

And the nominees are…

2017 was an absolutely incredible year for SAFE. We moved our entire operation from 3 acres in Woodinville to 11 acres just down the road in Redmond. We also had a record setting year in terms of adoptions, new intakes, and new volunteers, but the story for 2017 is going to be “The Move” and “The New Home.” An extraordinary amount of work went into making this transition go as smoothly as possible, and making sure the changes had as little impact on the horses as possible. Once the move was completed, we began the huge undertaking of bringing our new home up to our standards and making the most of all the space now available to us. The amount of work that was accomplished in just 10 short months was astounding.

Which brings us to the subject of 2017 Volunteer of the Year.

Every year, we honor one individual whose hard work and dedication has made the biggest impact on the organization over the course of the year. The decision is never completely easy, but we’ve always managed to make a choice that feels right, one that is easy to celebrate. This year, however, after everything that happened in 2017, selecting a single person as Volunteer of the Year feels downright impossible! Such a wonderful problem to have, huh?

Here’s what we’re going to do: we’re going to POSTPONE making a decision by presenting four nominees for Volunteer of the Year, and announcing the ultimate winner at the Volunteer Appreciation Party in Feb/Mar!

So, without further ado, the nominees for 2017 Volunteer of the Year are…

Candi Kintzley

Candi has been part of SAFE for many years, but her involvement with the rescue grew tremendously following the move to the new property. Her accomplishments as a SAFE volunteer include a starring role in Heart of the Horse auction procurement; significant achievements in the field of mini horse wrangling, and a Best Supporting Volunteer Rider award for her work with Terry.  She was voted “Most Likely to Go the Extra Mile” by everyone who has witnessed her work on the Facilities team and her stellar attendance record at SAFE work parties and special projects. A self-described “‘get ‘er done’ kind of gal,” Candi won our hearts with her cheerful attitude and her natural inclination to help when help is needed. “Give me a project, assign me a task and I will make sure it gets done.” Candi made this bold claim earlier this year and has yet to let anyone down.

Jeanne Stine

Since being named Volunteer of the Year in 2015, Facilities Manager Jeanne Stine has not stopped to catch her breath. Jeanne has always regarded Safe Harbor as her very own hobby farm, and her pride of ownership shows through in all that she does. But our Redmond farm has become Jeanne’s magnum opus, her masterpiece, her…rock opera. Well-earned awards include Best Preliminary Farm Plan, Outstanding Creativity in the field of Wasted Hay, and a special Achievement Award in Shelter Building for MiniLand. Jeanne is a perpetual front runner for the title of “Volunteer We Couldn’t Bear to Live Without” and due to her incredible kindness and her awe-inspiring spirit, she would still hold this title even if she never lifted a hammer again.

Jackie Liles

Over the past six years, Jackie has taken on numerous roles at SAFE, to the point where we sometimes forget she is still a foster! One only has to see her root beer float VW bug cruising down the driveway to know that the day is saved and all of our worries will soon be gone. Jackie’s accomplishments as a SAFE volunteer are many. She is the current record holder in the 100 meter Mini Horse Haul & Hold, and she has taken home numerous trophies for her achievements in Mini Horse Sharing, the Mini Horse Meet & Greet, and of course, the individualized category of Sunny D Mood Monitoring. Jackie is internationally recognized for her excellence in the field of Competitive Thrift Store Shopping, and she has received multiple honors for Creative Problem Solving and Generosity. She is also renowned for her sense of humor, her strength, and her skills as a chain saw operator, in spite of being a woman.

Caren McMillen

Our final nominee for Volunteer of the Year will be attempting to become the first to achieve back-to-back victories in this category. Caren has been volunteering with SAFE since 2014, and since the day that she arrived, she has steadily made herself so invaluable that we would now be lost without her. A top achiever in the field of Excellence & Reliability, Caren has made a name for herself at SAFE in many areas. However her breakout performance was her portrayal of “Highly Paid Professional Barn Employee” in the acclaimed HBO series Hungry Horses/Thirsty Horses, a role for which she received no payment at all. She also delivered a critically acclaimed performance in the film White Christmas at the Barn, and her debut single from the film’s soundtrack album, “Hark the Herald Hoses Sing,” has remained at the top of the Billboard charts for a record 14 weeks. Caren’s devotion to the horses AND the volunteers has earned her the title “Most Beloved by Two or More Species.”

And there you have it! The winner of this year’s Volunteer of the Year will be announced at this year’s Volunteer Appreciation Party on Saturday February 24. Your input and comments are welcome, but as always, the final decision is mine. Thank you!!

Welcoming Melinda!

Melinda and Stormy

SAFE is overjoyed to introduce you to a new staff member who will be joining us in early January. Melinda Merryman is a veterinary technician who has accepted a position with SAFE to oversee the health and well-being of our horses.

Melinda has been volunteering with SAFE since 2013 and has held a position on our Operations Council for the past two years as our Herd Health Manager. As a volunteer, Melinda has done much to improve the level of care our horses receive. She established an in-house fecal testing program, which allows us to determine the best and safest deworming plans for all of our horses, saving time and money by doing the testing ourselves. She also established important quarantine procedures to prevent the spread of disease or illness within our herd. Her input and oversight has resulted in fewer vet calls and more happy, healthy horses.

Melinda has done all this while working full time as a vet tech at a small animal shelter, which understandably put a limit on the amount of time she was able to devote to SAFE. As a result, many veterinary-related tasks and responsibilities fell to our Operations Director, our Barn Managers, and our volunteers. These individuals have all done a terrific job, but we’ve always known that taking care of the vet needs of 28 horses is a full time job. Happily, SAFE has grown to a point where we can justify adding a new staff member to fully handle these responsibilities.

Melinda obtained her vet tech license in 2008. She started her career at an equine hospital in California, but became homesick and moved back to Washington where she worked in an ambulatory practice and also as an equine surgical technician at a large referral hospital. Several years later, she was offered a position at a small animal shelter, and moved away from equine practice. She is very excited about moving back into the equine field as a staff member at SAFE. Her responsibilities will include the management of all vet and farrier needs, including setting appointments, performing on site care, making treatment decisions, and record keeping. She will also be working on developing a comprehensive feeding program for all horses, and conducting training sessions for volunteers wishing to learn more about horse care.

Welcome on board, Melinda!!!

Happy Help A Horse Day!

April 26 is officially ASPCA Help a Horse Day! SAFE officially celebrated last Sunday with a huge Open House Celebration at our new home in Redmond.

Huge thanks to the over 400 people who joined us on Sunday for the End Hunger Games at SAFE. Our volunteer team walked guests through 13 Districts where they learned about each step in the horse rescue process – from rescue and rehabilitation, feeding and care, through to adoption and a new forever home!  Each district even had 2 horse tributes from our herd, but the tour started with a rousing greeting from the wondrous Effie Trinket (aka SAFE Executive Director Bonnie Hammond) to explain the day. This event was important in so many ways…it was an opportunity to show off our new Redmond home, meet some of our new neighbors, and have a fun and educational day as we compete for part of $100k in grant money from the ASPCA for Help a Horse Day 2017. We even had participation from our friends at Little Bit, Rainland Farm, Olympic Forge, Snohomish Search & Rescue and King County Animal Control, each explaining what they do in their work with horses.

There was lots of interest in volunteering, which we just love, and over $3000 donated during this three-hour event. Eleven kind supporters even signed up to become new SAFEkeepers as part of SAFE’s monthly horse sponsorship program. You can join them by making a donation, becoming a SAFEkeeper sponsor, or joining us a volunteer. Just visit and click on 8 Easy Ways to Help for all the links.

If you weren’t able to visit, our next open house in Sunday June 25th from 12-3, so mark your calendar. Until then, enjoy a few photos from the event (photo credits to Jessica Farren Photography) and wish us luck as we prepare our submission to hopefully win the $25,000 grand prize! Any additional donations or horse sponsorships made by April 30th do count towards this event.  As always, thanks so much for all of your support!


Announcement: SAFE is Moving to a New Home in Redmond!

After nearly 5 years in our current Woodinville home, SAFE is going to be moving to a new location. On Feb 1, we will begin packing our belongings and moving our horses to a fabulous equestrian center located in Redmond WA. This facility has 30 stalls, an indoor arena, a covered arena, a covered round pen, and an outdoor arena, all on 11 usable acres with plenty of turnouts and grass pastures for the SAFE horses. The location simply cannot be beat: we’ll be right next door to Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center and directly adjacent to Farrel-McWhirter Farm Park with its miles of horse riding trails. Yes, we can ride our horses straight off the property and straight into the park. Dream come true, am I right?

As we prepare to move on, we get ready to bid a very fond farewell to Safe Harbor Stables in Woodinville. We are deeply indebted to Anne C., the owner of this property, for everything she has done for SAFE over the last five years. In early 2012, when SAFE suddenly found itself homeless, we approached Anne with a proposal to take over her facility, which at the time was a self-care boarding stable. Anne took a chance on this fledgling horse rescue operation, and allowed us to lease her horse property. It has been an amazing home for us. We grew so much while we’ve been here…expanding our volunteer program to as many as 8-15 individuals working in three shifts every day of the week…developing our training program and our volunteer rider program…hosting Open Houses and educational seminars and opening our doors to our supporters in Woodinville and beyond…and all of this growth was made possible in part by the beautiful equestrian facility we called home. Throughout it all, Anne has been much more than just our landlady, she’s been a supporter, a cheerleader, and a friend. We are so grateful to Anne for giving us this amazing opportunity and making it such a joy to be here.

Aerial View (click to enlarge)
The month of February is going to be a bit chaotic for us, but we are so excited to get started. We plan to move the horses mid-month — which will give us time to get their stalls fluffed and ready — and our offices will likely be moved toward the end of the month. We’re planning our first Open House for late April and we hope that everyone will stop by and say hello.

Nothing that SAFE does would be possible without the support of our donors and our volunteers. As we take this big step towards an exciting tomorrow, that is a fact that becomes even more clear to all of us. Just as these horses are your horses, this new home is your home too. Can’t wait for you to see it!! Thank you so very much for being a part of SAFE.

SAFE Holiday Card Sets Available Now!

SAFE is thrilled to offer this great holiday card set featuring Sunny D and Shasta playing in the snow. This set of 15 greeting cards with envelopes is just $20, which supports the horses in SAFE’s care. Quantities are limited and you must act quickly! Pre-order before the end of the day on Sunday Nov 19th. Save shipping costs by picking up your order at SAFE’s Holiday Open House on Sunday December 3rd in Redmond.

SAFE Receives a Training Grant from the ASPCA

We are proud to announce that SAFE has been awarded a $5,000 Training Grant from the ASPCA Equine Fund. This grant was given in recognition of SAFE’s commitment to producing good equine citizens who are ready to succeed, through the use of professional training and the development of our Volunteer Riding Program.

The APSCA Equine Fund’s Training Grant was created to improve adoption rates through training for established equine rescues.

A well-trained and well-behaved horse stands a much better chance of finding and keeping a good home for life. Unfortunately, the majority of the unwanted horses that SAFE takes in lack training or even basic handling when they arrive. So it is up to us to give them the foundation that they need to be successful.

SAFE is extremely fortunate to have the support of professional horseman Joel Conner. Not only does Joel start or restart SAFE horses, using natural horsemanship techniques passed down to him from icons like Buck Brannaman and Ray Hunt, Joel is also personally committed to helping develop the skills of SAFE’s volunteer riders. To do this, Joel travels to SAFE four times per year to conduct educational clinics in groundwork and riding. The end result of this hard work is consistent and fair handling and training for the SAFE horses, giving them the best chance of success in the future.

We are very excited for the opportunities that this year’s Training Grant presents to the horses in our training program. And we are extremely grateful to the ASPCA Equine Fund for its ongoing support of equine rescue organizations like SAFE.

Day of Caring 2016 — Thank you, Allytics!

Thanks to United Way of King County, September 23rd, 2016 witnessed excellent changes at Save a Forgotten Equine (SAFE) in Woodinville. As part of the nonprofit’s annual Day of Caring event, 50 volunteers from the Redmond-based company Allytics ventured out of their office for a day of team building hard work at SAFE’s farm on Hollywood Hill in Woodinville. Under gray and drizzly skies, the group from Allytics divided into teams to tackle major construction projects.

With the help of core SAFE volunteers acting as project leads, the Allytics team — including their executive staff — dug out an area to be used as a wash rack for the horses. installing drainage pipes, covering the area with secure footing, and tamping down new gravel. Another team moved hundreds of yards of earth and rock to sculpt a garden out of an unused area in the pasture. Many strong backs worked an auger to dig holes for approximately 50 fence posts and install over 200 feet of pasture fencing. Two more Allytics teams erected shelters in the pasture to protect the horses from the elements. Other teams successfully completed smaller projects like painting fences, moving bark, and moving our round pen to the covered arena for the winter.

SAFE staff and volunteers were grateful to be part of Day of Caring 2016. The work the Allytics team provided moved SAFE facilities projects far ahead of what could have been done with our regular core of volunteers. Thank you, Allytics! We hope to see you back again next year.

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The Passing of the Pants

13166132_878096275645956_8666354573957117044_nIf you’ve had a chance to cheer jockey Joey Steiner to victory at Emerald Downs this season, you might have noticed a familiar logo and name on his white racing pants…SAFEHORSES.ORG.

Joey and his wife, artist Dagmar Galleithner Steiner, have been supporting the SAFE horses for many years in many ways. They are regular visitors to Safe Harbor Stables, bringing their infant son Jonah to say hello to his mom’s favorite horses while Dad talks Thoroughbreds with SAFE staff. The Steiners are always looking for ways to not only give back but to raise awareness about Thoroughbred aftercare and retraining. This is why Joey has proudly worn the SAFE logo in so many of his races, to bring attention to this rescue and our mission to help horses in need.

After 35 years of racing, Joey hung up his silks for good this past weekend, retiring sound and healthy at the age of 52. He and his family are moving back to California where Joey will pursue a career in sports psychology, helping jockeys and other athletes deal with the trials and tribulations of life. (more about Joey’s career and retirement here:

Joey Steiner and Rocco BowenBut before he left, there was the question of the SAFEHORSES racing pants. At first, Joey thought he’d return them to SAFE in a shadow box…but something about that didn’t feel quite right. The pants were meant to be seen by the racing public, to bring attention to the plight of racehorses once they leave the racetrack. So Joey decided instead to pass the torch to a young rider whom he’d supported and mentored during his time at EMD…and who just happens to be the leading rider at the meet right now: Rocco Bowen. Rocco will carry on the tradition that Joey so generously started. Needless to say we are thrilled to have him on our team!

To Joey, Dagmar, and Jonah, we wish you the very best in your new adventure, and we hope that when you visit family up here in the PNW, you’ll have time to stop by and see your friends at SAFE. It’s been an honor working with you!!

Cheers to our Show Volunteers!

There are not enough words to say how extremely grateful we are to all the magnificent volunteers, sponsors and judges who helped make this years SAFE Benefit Horse Show possible. So much energy and love was given in preparation and execution to make this show a success. Here are a few words of thanks from our Executive Director, Bonnie Hammond:

“My dear friends — my heart is filled with so much joy and gratitude for each and every one of you. Never have I seen so many people work SO HARD together! The effort and energy that you put into this horse show this past weekend was absolutely astounding. This was a team effort to end all team efforts, and you should be extremely proud of the horse show that you put on! I can’t thank you enough.”

From the bottom of our hearts THANK YOU for everything you did in support of the SAFE horses and our shared mission!

Meet the SAFE Operations Council

Operations Council at Heart of the Horse 2016
Operations Council at Heart of the Horse 2016

What is the Operations Council you ask? Only the glue that holds everything together here at Safe Harbor! From a broken faucet to a horse with hives, these volunteers are the ones we call to ensure things run smoothly and are here supporting our horses behind the scenes day and night. This core group of volunteers is always the first to stand up and say “yes” when help is needed. They are a smart, creative, caring and loving group of people who hold vital roles in our day-to-day operations. They have become a strong inner circle to lean on in the hard times, rejoice in the accomplishments and share in friendships that have grown around our common mission. We don’t get a chance to say it enough but THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts; SAFE and the horses are so grateful for all you do!

Melinda Merryman
Melinda Merryman

Herd Health Manager – Melinda Merryman

Melinda has been a horse fanatic since the moment she learned what a horse was. She convinced her parents to buy her one when she was 9, and spent her formative years immersed in the Snohomish County 4-H horse program. In her early 20s she fell in love with animal rescue and became involved with a no-kill dog and cat shelter. That eventually led her to the realization that her calling in life was to be a veterinary technician, and she obtained her technician license in 2008.

Her goal as a vet tech was to become involved in either equine medicine or shelter medicine. She started her career at an equine hospital in California, and then became homesick and moved back to Washington where she worked in an ambulatory practice and also as an equine surgical technician at a large referral hospital. Several years later she was offered a position at an animal shelter, and moved away from equine practice. In an effort to remain connected to equine medicine, Melinda approached SAFE in September 2013 to volunteer her services as a tech and also took on a weekly feeding shift. In July of 2015 she stepped into the position of herd health manager and is now responsible for overseeing the herd health committee in making decisions about the medical care of the SAFE horses as well as performing necessary treatments on the horses at Safe Harbor.

Most of Melinda’s spare time is taken up by a spunky quarter horse mare and a hyperactive cattle dog. She tries to spend as much time as she can outdoors camping, hiking, and photographing our beautiful state, but she can also found at home doing “nerdier” activities, such as reading textbooks on veterinary anesthesia.

Jolene Duncan with Khianna

Outreach Coordinator – Jolene Duncan

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.

Tiffany Lindan_06_08_2016
Tiffany Lindan

Events and Community Engagement – Tiffany Lindan

Tiffany has always loved being around horses and began riding ponies at camps in New York as a child. Over the years, she’s continued to take trail rides while on vacations, and now loves seeing the SAFE horses on a regular basis.

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 (SAFE’s annual dinner and auction) 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 Program Manager, Tiffany enjoys watching baseball and football, traveling with her husband or friends, and yes, spending time at the barn with the horses.

Laura McCorkle
Laura McCorkle

Foster Coordinator – Laura McCorkle

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.

Lisa Garr with Sunny & Shasta
Lisa Garr with Sunny & Shasta

Lisa Garr – Barn Manager

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.

Now, ecstatic to be on the team as Barn Manager, Lisa will also be responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the barn at SAFE, working with the Operations Director and Executive Director to continue building the future of this incredible organization. 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.

Jeanne Stine with Skittles
Jeanne Stine with Skittles

Jeanne Stine – Facilities Manager

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”!



Jane Millar with Scarlet
Jane Millar with Scarlet

Volunteer Development – Jane Millar

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 meeting adopters and to be certain adopted horses, our alumni, are being cared for as promised. She creates special off-site events and helps handle our mini horses at those events; works at our annual horse shows, open houses and work parties at our barn. Her most recent responsibility is working alongside our volunteer coordinator to increase our volunteer base through special events off-site, increasing awareness of SAFE and the opportunities we offer. 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 young 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!

Kit Topaz with Cameo
Kit Topaz with Cameo

Volunteer Coordinator – Kit Topaz

Kit fell in love with horses on a kindergarten field trip to a farm outside the Portland suburb where she grew up. A coal black pony raced around his paddock, tail flagging in the Oregon spring rain. From that moment on, she read every horse book or magazine she could get her hands on. Kit pestered her parents into letting her go to horse summer camp at age 8, and she spent 10 glorious summers at Bar 41 Ranch in Wilbur, WA, learning to ride bareback. At age 11, the family moved to a rural area outside of Eugene, and she convinced her non horse parents to let her get her first horse, a half Arabian named Exiefix. She was fortunate to live near BLM land and would spend entire days with her equine best friend, barefoot and bareback 10-20 miles from home.

College was a horse dry spell, but Kit got back into horses with a splash after graduation by adopting a Mustang from the Elko, NV, range. The small, grey gelding was the best horsemanship teacher she could ever hope to have. Kit’s other horse adventures include cleaning stalls in more barns and towns than she can possibly remember, being an assistant in an Arabian breeding barn, working one summer as a trail guide on a dude string, working for a horse magazine as an admin/ then assistant editor, being an emergency animal rescue assistant in a flood, and volunteering for many horse rescues.

Kit has worked for SAFE as a chore volunteer since April 2015. She enjoyed her volunteering so much, she worked toward becoming a shift lead. Kit has a background in non-profit work, being a 10 year veteran of PTA, and was eager to apply her skills to the organizational side of SAFE. Kit helped pull together volunteers and logistics for the SAFE Open Houses starting March of 2016, and recently took on the role of Volunteer Coordinator.

When not horsing around, Kit works medical front office at a naturopathic doctor’s office. She is also a household manager and mom. Kit lives in Woodinville, WA with her 15 year old son, Davis, 13 year old daughter, Nadia, and non-horsey, but supportive husband, Greg. The household also includes Collies Jenna and May, kitty Sam, and 4 very spoiled chickens.

Shar Conner
Shar Conner

Alumni Program Manager – Shar Conner

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.



Nicole Brandenburg with Annie
Nicole with Annie

Outreach Coordinator – Nicole Brandenburg 


We receive many requests for assistance from members of the horse community here in Washington. Nicole serves as a point of contact for the community to request assistance and information on the services we provide at SAFE.

Nicole has been an avid follower of SAFE since 2008 when the lovely chestnut Saddlebred mare named Annie first came to the rescue. She followed her story for years until she was finally able to adopt Annie in 2012.  Nicole was asked to be the Outreach Coordinator in February 2015 and jumped at the opportunity to be a part of SAFE and help in our mission.

Nicole started cleaning stalls in exchange for lessons when she was 13 years old and continued through high school. She guided the trail and beach rides in Ocean Shores during the summers. In 2008 she first saw Annie when she came to SAFE. I wasn’t able to own a horse until 2012 when I adopted her. They clicked immediately and Annie became her once-in-a-lifetime horse. Nicole also has a Tennessee Walking horse named Harley that she uses in Competitive Mounted Orienteering. She work at a Freightliner Dealership and is going to school for a degree in Supply Chain Management.