Superstars in the outside world often lead flashy lives and are immediately identified by their flair or outspokenness. At our barn, being a superstar is a more modest gig. SAFE superstars are here every week, rain or shine. They blend in to the rhythm of life here, doing chores with a smile and not calling attention to themselves. This is why we try to shine the spotlight on our dedicated volunteers and thank them regularly. Beck Wren and Monique Goodrich are two of our chore shift superstars. We thank them for all they do for SAFE and congratulate them on being chosen as the June Volunteers of the Month for 2019!
How and when did you first get involved with horses? “Horse” was my very first word. When I was four years old, my mother thought that a summer of riding lessons would cure me of the horse-kid bug. Horses were large, scary animals, she reasoned, and surely, I, too, would realize that if I just spent a little more time around them. That plan backfired spectacularly. I rode dressage growing up and started learning to jump after college. Going forward, I am most interested in eventing. I am not interested in showing or competitive riding, just going out and having fun with my horse.
Do you currently have a horse? I am currently “between horses.” I had to put down my last horse, Mikey, due to a degenerative spinal defect. He was only four years old. It was a sad situation, and it took a few years of healing until I was ready to be with horses again. I am pretty sure my next horse will be a SAFE horse, but the right one hasn’t come along quite yet.
How did you find SAFE? I found SAFE in 2008, when I was looking for a horse to purchase. Although none of the SAFE horses at that time were right for me, I was impressed with SAFE’s commitment to rehabilitation and training–which has only deepened since then. In 2017, when I felt ready to get involved with horses again, I immediately thought of SAFE. I began volunteering shortly after SAFE moved to Redmond; I don’t drive a car, and riding my bike up the hill to the old Woodinville location was too brutal!
What do you like most about volunteering with SAFE? I love too much about volunteering to pick just one thing! I live in the heart of the city. My time at the barn every week gives me a connection to the rhythms of the natural world. I love watching the horses rebuild their trust in humans. I love the dedication of my fellow volunteers; we all work hard for the horses.
Do you have a favorite SAFE horse? My favorite SAFE horse was Nashville. I am so happy she has found her forever home, but I miss her already.
What do you do when you are not horsing around with us? I am a writer, and a big science fiction/fantasy nerd. I also knit and am learning to play mandolin.
Do you have family or special people in your life who support your volunteer work? My partners, Jonathan and Natalie, are both very supportive. They never complain when I show up late to events after my chores shift, smelling vaguely of horse.
“Hi, my name is Monique Goodrich and I live in Kirkland. I’ve been a massage therapist since 1993 and I love my job. It keeps me out of trouble. Before SAFE, I’d been feeling like something was missing. One day I was in PCC and saw the volunteer notice for SAFE on their bulletin board. Now, over a year and a half of SAFE volunteering later, I know what I missed: the smell of horse poop! Horse poop brings me a feeling of home. Horses started early in my life and it was the main connection to my mom. My mom is also named Monique, she was born and raised in Morocco. She was short, spoke with a French accent, cursed like a merchant marine, and would come after you like a Bantam hen. When I was younger we lived in Tucson, and my mother started a long friendship with Gerry and Ronald Searles, brothers and owners of a cattle ranch. Our life was full as the years and horses flowed by. We went on cattle drives, group rides, and we showed horses. My favorite memory is riding is side-by-side with mom. I remember loping long desert roads, the sun setting as the warm sage air whipped our hair.
“My first horse was a Mexican hat mustang with beautiful blue eyes. My next horse was Peanut, a palomino Arabian, one of the stinkers that my mom raised and trained for riding. Marta reminds me of him with that little jig when you take her out. Try riding that for a couple of hours!
“My mom passed in 2011 from cancer. She was diagnosed one minute and gone two months later. Having to give away her two last horses broke her heart. Believe it or not, the second day she was in hospice there happened to be a couple with a therapy horse and pony who visited her. She got to say her last goodbye to horses after all. Only in Tucson.
“I love all the horses at SAFE, I love the work and people, if they can stick around. Soon I hope to retire from massage and work some other days at SAFE. I want to know the horses better than a couple of minutes on turn out, but for now the smell of horse poop is good enough for me.”
Skye, Monique’s co-lead on Monday nights, had this to say about her being chosen as a June Volunteer of the Month: “Yay Monique!! She totally deserves it. She’s only missed one day in her almost two years of volunteering. Plus she is such a fun, positive person and a great co-lead.”