Foster a SAFE Horse

Most of the SAFE horses reside at Safe Harbor Stables, an 11 acre leased horse facility in Redmond WA. Prior to moving here in February 2017, we worked from a considerably smaller farm, so a number of our horses were housed at foster homes. We have less need for foster homes now but we still use a small number of foster homes for our non-rideable companion horses or unstarted youngsters. Our rideable horses live at Safe Harbor so they can enjoy the full benefits of our Training Program and our volunteer riders.

We still have an interest in connecting with potential fosters to partner with in case of unusual circumstances or emergencies.

Here are our basic requirements for foster homes:

  • Located within 1 hour of Redmond WA, on the west side of the Cascades
  • Each horse on the property must have adequate shelter and turnout
  • Horses must be fed 2–3 times a day and monitored for good health and weight
  • There must be no barbed wire fencing on the property that is accessible to horses
  • Fencing must be in good repair, all t‑posts must be capped for safety
  • Good mud management must be in place so horses are not forced to stand in mud
  • Willingness to show horse to potential adopters (who will be pre-screened prior to their visit)

SAFE will cover vet and farrier expenses for horses in foster care, and can also help with feeding costs if needed.

If you are interested in becoming a foster parent for SAFE, please fill out the Foster Application (located to the right) so we can get some information about you and your property. SAFE’s Foster Home coordinator is Laura McCorkle. She can be reached via email at

Frequently Asked Questions about the SAFE Foster Program

1. Where are you located?

SAFE is located northeast of Seattle in Redmond, WA. We prefer to keep all of our foster homes within a one hour drive of our facility and they need to be on a property that’s easily accessible year round by a truck with a horse trailer. We are unable to use foster homes east of the Cascades since seasonal weather conditions may create difficulties if we need to retrieve a horse due to emergencies or changes in circumstance.

2. What are you looking for on a foster property?

The safety and treatment of our horses is paramount to us even at our foster properties. That means that all foster properties need to have fences in good repair, with any t‑posts capped and no accessibility to barbed wire. Horses must have access to shelters that are in good and safe condition. Manure should be picked on a daily basis and the property needs to have a good mud management plan in place. Horses must have access to fresh water in clean troughs or buckets. Hay and grain needs to be stored in a clean dry space where rodents do not have access to it. Pastures need to be free of any debris that could be injurious. SAFE will conduct a site visit prior to approving a new foster home.

3. What length of commitment do you ask/require?

We request a minimum three month commitment to foster one of our horses.

4. Can I foster a horse to ride?

As a general policy, we do not foster out rideable horses. The majority of our foster horses are non-rideable companion horses or unstarted youngsters. For liability reasons, we prefer to keep our rideable horses on our property. It also gives us the ability to continue their training and to have them convenient for showing to possible adopters.

5. How do you decide on which horse I will foster? Can I choose a horse to foster?

While we are always open to listening to your preferences, usually the foster is matched by need, the property, and your ability. Some of our horses require a greater level of care and some require more expertise in handling. We do our best to match our horses to homes that can offer them the greatest growth. We also consider gender and age preferences and will work to find a good match to your existing horses.

6. Can I use my vet and farrier? Will you pay for it?

We prefer to use our own vet and farrier, since they already know the horses and they offer us a rescue discount. In some cases, we may approve using a different vet or farrier. In all cases, vet care must be pre-arranged with SAFE. And yes, SAFE will continue to pay for the horse’s vet and farrier care while in foster.

7. How do you help with feeding costs?

You can choose to pay for feed yourself and claim your expenses as a donation to SAFE. Or you can choose to receive a monthly stipend from SAFE to offset the cost of hay and grain for the horses. The amount of that stipend is dependent upon the needs of the particular horse and is judged on an individual basis.

8. Can I claim this on my taxes?

You may be eligible for a tax deduction for horse care expenses that are not reimbursed by SAFE. We recommend that you track your expenses and keep receipts. We can provide you with a letter at the end of the year that states you’ve been fostering on our behalf and designating the date range. As always, please consult your tax preparer before claiming any deductions.

9. What if it doesn’t work out?

While we hope that everybody can offer at least a three month commitment, we understand that circumstances do change. In the event that you can no longer foster for SAFE, we ask for 30 day notice to arrange to move the horse. If a stipend has been paid, we will need to be reimbursed for the days that the horse is not on the property.

If the foster isn’t working out because of specific problems with the horse, we work with you to rectify the situation as quickly as possible.