For the past 19 years, SAFE has helped hundreds of horses and their owners through our Community Outreach Program. This safety net program was created to provide short-term assistance to horse owners struggling to care for their animals, with the ultimate goal of keeping these horses out of the rescue pipeline. Over the years, we’ve paid for hay & grain, veterinary care, gelding surgeries, humane euthanasia, training, and more. We’ve fielded thousands of phone calls and emails. We’ve helped rehome horses for struggling owners. We’ve also taken in nearly 200 owner surrendered horses who needed much more than just temporary assistance, and assumed full responsibility for these equines.

As you can imagine, a program like this is an enormous undertaking. The demand for assistance gets overwhelming at times, but that’s nothing compared to the emotional toll that comes along with it. Compassion fatigue is real, and we are vulnerable to it, especially when faced with situations we can’t fix. Sometimes we feel very alone, like we’re the last and only hope for these horses. There are times that we’ve felt less like horse rescuers and more like social workers. We’ve been pulled into situations involving elderly horse owners, family disputes, domestic violence, and divorce. We’ve been asked to try to convince people that they’re not fit for horse ownership anymore. We’ve been expected to solve problems that go far beyond the scope of what we’re offering. And we’ve had to say no to people, and bear the brunt of their disappointment, and sometimes their anger.

The budget for Community Outreach at SAFE has grown from less than $2,000 per year in 2006 to $40,000 per year in 2024. And still there’s never enough money to fulfill all the demand. We’ve started partnering with organizations like the Marion & Richard Graham Foundation and the Tulalip Tribes Charitable Fund to increase the amount of money available for outreach cases, and we will continue to pursue grants to assist in this area.

As part of our efforts to seek out grant funding for outreach, we’ve tried to streamline the program and add clarity to what we are able to do. This has led to the rebranding of Community Outreach to a program we call “Safe at Home.”

The premise of Safe at Home Community Assistance is simple: we want to keep horses out of the rescue pipeline by keeping them safe in their homes. To this end, we are partnering with horse owners in our community who are in need of short term assistance. We’ve taken the funds we’ve budgeted for Outreach and allocated them to a voucher program divided between the following areas:

  1. $100 Hay Bank Vouchers
  2. $500 Gelding Vouchers
  3. $250 Vet Care Vouchers
  4. Serenity Fund Humane Euthanasia Vouchers

Safe at Home is meant to help responsible horse owners who just need a helping hand due to temporary personal or financial set backs. Therefore, there are restrictions as to who is eligible apply. First and foremost, this program provides assistance to individual horse owners only. It is not intended to assist rescue organizations, therapy programs, horse trainers, or similar groups. Individuals who own more than four equines are not eligible for this program, because, in our experience, most people in need of help who own more than four horses have more serious problems than this program is meant for. And finally, because funds are limited, we can only help horses and horse owners who live in Washington state.

Horse owners who meet these criteria and can demonstrate need can submit an application to be considered for a voucher. Submitting an application does not guarantee approval, and SAFE reserves the right to turn down applicants as we see fit.

Learn more about Safe at Home Community Assistance at SAFE at Home