How and when did you first get involved with horses? Do you have one now you want to tell us about? I always lived just a few miles from horses while I was growing up, but I never interacted with them. Since none of my friends were involved in horsemanship it never crossed my mind. My mom would talk about riding when she was younger and tell stories about an uncle of hers who caught and trained mustangs in New Mexico, but it didn’t seem like a world I could be a part of. Still, I think growing up in that environment and hearing those stories stayed with me.

A few years ago I moved from Seattle to Duvall, and seeing horses on a daily basis again sparked my interest. Plus, I knew I wanted to be around animals but I wasn’t in a good situation to adopt a pet. One day I saw a sign outside the local coffee shop seeking SAFE volunteers, and when I realized I had nothing to lose from giving it a try I decided to get involved.

What do you like most about volunteering with SAFE? I joke that I volunteer at SAFE instead of paying for CrossFit, but there’s so much more to it than that. I never feel out of place because we have volunteers at all skill levels and with all sorts of backgrounds, and I’m always learning little things about horsemanship and the community in general.

I’m a freelancer who works from home, and while I love the flexibility, it can be a bit isolating. It feels good to be a part of the Tuesday morning crew we call the Giddy Up and Go Gang, and meet new people when I fill in for other shifts or special events.

Do you have a favorite SAFE horse? If so, why? Piper is my current favorite because she has such a strong personality and she’s full of curiosity at her age. Sometimes I’ll photograph the horses if I have free time after a shift, and her expressive face and buckskin coat maker her very photogenic. It’s been exciting to watch her mature and see her skills develop.

What do you do when you are not horsing around with us? I like running, hiking, backpacking, and photography—pretty much anything that lets me get outside and set my own course. Someday, when I’m an experienced rider, I’d love to explore the Olympic Peninsula on horseback.

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?

David and Anderson, photo by Sundee Rickey

My parents Pete and Eva taught me the importance of volunteering and staying active. My dad assists with search and rescue missions and co-founded an organization that maintains trails and organizes races, and my mom has helped with youth programs through church and served as a court-appointed advocate for children through the CASA program.