Congratulations to our July Volunteer of the Month, Carrie Sjaarda!! We are unbelievably lucky to have Carrie’s positive and “jump in and help with whatever” attitude. She hit the ground running as soon as she started. Quickly changing from one chore shift, to helping out all day. Thank you Carrie for working so hard to help our horses, we couldn’t do it without you. Learn more about Carrie below.

How and when did you first get involved with horses?

I started riding around 6 years old. My grandpa had a gentle old buckskin that he’d toss me up on bareback and let me ride around the property. I got my first horse, Roman, when I was 10 years old. He was my best friend and patient with my lack of skills and experience. We did 4‑H and competed in trail classes. I started riding hunter/jumper at 11 and got an off the track thoroughbred named Tommy who thoroughly tested every single nerve I have. I think the absolute best part of my childhood was having those two guys in the pasture out back and being able to spend long days exploring all over the county. On especially hot days we would go swimming in the lake. I even took Roman through the drive-thru at Jack-in-the-Box! He was partial to milk shakes

Do you have one now you want to tell us about?

I don’t have one of my own now, although my sister insists one of her horses in Texas is mine. She’s a sweet mare who is quick on her feet and quite sensitive, so she’s a joy to ride. I seem to gravitate to highly sensitive horses. They’re really engaging.

What do you like most about volunteering with SAFE?

Gosh, how much space do I have? The list is long. First and foremost, what keeps me coming back each week is the people. The staff is incredible! The volunteers are so much fun to be with. I’ve volunteered at a lot of non-profits and have never experienced one as special as SAFE. The level of organization and oodles of appreciation are amazing. And of course, the horses!!! I love watching the transformation these precious creatures go through from intake to adoption. It truly fills my heart to be able to assist with that in any way I can.

Do you have a favorite SAFE horse? If so, why?

I think it would be Owen. Boy does that horse keep me honest and present when I interact with him. One of the most precious times with him was the Masterson Method clinic. He was the demo horse for two days and I got to see a side of him that filled my heart. I love watching Bonnie work with him and the special bond they have. Plus those curls!!!

What do you do when you are not horsing around with us?

I get to help people change their lives. I develop and teach simple practical tools that help people grow both their human side and their spiritual side. I love kayaking. I love biking with my husband. We have two cats who think it’s their job to bring mice into the house to play with. And I try to go to Hawaii as often as I can.

Do you have family or special people in your life who support your volunteer work that you would want us to mention in your write up?

My amazing husband, Don Beaty. He loves that I get to be of service and come home all filled up with joy and contentment. He even came out and helped on Christmas day during the ice and snow and thought it would be a fine new Christmas tradition to start. He is my rock and the love of my life.