Ben vs the Cows!

Photos courtesy of Jami Davis

Here is what volunteer rider Lisa had to share about her time spent with Ben at a Horsemanship and Ranch Riding clinic October 6th:

This past weekend, Ben and I attended the Ricky Quinn clinic in Ellensburg and, yet again, this horse has blown me away. We started each of the 3 days in a Horsemanship class, improving the finesse of some seemingly-basic skills; balance, flexion, collection, and transitions. By the third morning, Ben was moving calmly and punctually off of my seat and leg on even circles and figure-eights, and up and down through transitions. Before the clinic, he was doing all of this, but it was just a little late, and just a little sloppy… what a huge change!

The afternoon sessions were a ranch roping & cow working clinic. On day one we worked on roping some dummies, including one that was drug around. Ben did just fine, following the dragged dummy and having a rope (poorly) swung over and off of him … despite the occasional flick on his ears! Day 2 was a whole new world- Ben saw real live cows for, as far as we know, the first time in his life! He did alright at first, following the herd around the round pen, until we were asked to come around the front of the herd and turn them. Ben was, at first, afraid of them, backing and spinning away, even nearly unseating me a couple of times. With Ricky constantly reminding me that I needed to have confidence so that Ben could have confidence, and that I had to support him to help him through his fear, we slowly closed in on the herd and (with a lot of me yelling at the cows) turned them. Ben became very focused and attentive, and we moved them back and forth several times, Ben getting quieter and less afraid with every pass. By the end of the clinic he even got to a point where he WANTED to approach the cows, and would even stomp a foot at them, just rarin’ ter go!

Thank you Jami Davis for capturing a few photos of Ben and Lisa working! You can find more about Jami’s work on her website:

A New Chance for Nora

We are so happy to announce that Nora has been welcomed into the loving home of SAFE volunteer Sarah R.

Sarah had been volunteering at SAFE for some time and offered to do some liberty work with our companions. When she met Nora, there was an instant connection. Soon Sarah discovered what a special mare Nora is and how genuinely kind she is to be around. Her personality fit perfectly with Sarah’s future goal of working with therapy horses to help people in need. While this goal is still a few years out, Sarah knows that Nora will be perfect in this role.

Nora has settled in brilliantly at her new home and even has a boyfriend to share her paddock with during the days. Sarah is a diligent horse owner and is taking great care of all her needs. Nora now goes by the name of Mercy. “When I was a child,” Sarah explains, “my mom read to me a book with a character named Mercy who took in broken and hurting people and nurtured them back to health. I think it’s fitting for a future therapy horse.”

Bringing Nora back into the SAFE herd earlier this year was difficult, but we are so blessed that Sarah has opened her heart to her and will love her for the rest of her life!

October Volunteer of the Month: Brandee Warren

Brandee and Ruger

Facilities crew member and chore volunteer Brandee Warren is October Volunteer of the Month for Save a Forgotten Equine. Among the special projects she has helped with, fellow volunteers may recall seeing her geared up and pressure washing stalls at the Woodinville property before the move last February.

The Issaquah resident first learned about SAFE when she joined a Day of Caring event in 2015, and began volunteering a month later. “SAFE has been my ‘go-to happy place’ for two years now,” she says.

Brandee’s grandmother, herself an avid horsewoman in her youth, helped inspire her early love for horses. “She and my parents provided me the opportunity to ride when I was younger,” she says. While she has never owned a horse, she finds many horses to love at SAFE and acknowledges a soft spot for Ruger and Stormy, and a lasting love for alumni Phoenix and Anakin.

Asked what she likes best about volunteering with SAFE, Brandee says, “Besides the obvious of getting a weekly horse fix, it is truly the people at SAFE that are so fantastic. I have never met a more welcoming, supportive and dedicated group of people. I have made many great friends and had awesome experiences with my friends at SAFE!”

When not helping out at the barn, she said she is focused on work and on building her own farm and stable in Issaquah as her retirement landing spot.

Ru and Valencia enjoy the sunshine

2nd Annual Paint and Sip Fundraiser, Dec 9, 2017

Join us on Saturday December 9th from 2-5pm at The Painted Palace at Redmond Town Center for a Paint and Sip fundraiser benefiting SAFE! In addition to a fun afternoon painting your version of “Winter Solstice” with guidance from The Painted Palace’s talented instructors, hear an update from SAFE on some of the new horses, adoptions, and recent activity at the barn.

Entry fee of $45 includes a glass of wine (additional glasses for purchase, non-alcoholic beverages available as well), complimentary snacks, and all supplies needed to create your masterpiece.

SAFE will receive a generous donation from The Painted Palace for each ticket sold, so come have some fun and help us help the horses. Capacity is 40 people – sign up now to reserve your spot! Event is for ages 16 and up, 21+ to purchase/consume alcohol.

Click Here to Register Now! 

If you have any questions, contact

Meet Ru and Valencia!

We welcomed two new horses to SAFE this week. Ru and Valencia are a pair of Thoroughbreds who belonged to an elderly man who was facing severe medical problems and was no longer able to care for them.

Ru is a 20 year old TB who raced briefly as a 3 year old at Portland Meadows. He is a tall, nearly black gelding who is very gentle and friendly. His registered name is Ruach, which is the Hebrew word for “spirit” or “wind.” He appears to be sound, and has a lovely floating trot.

Valencia is a 14 year old mare who is also believed to be a Thoroughbred but never raced. She is a very pretty mare, tall and nicely built. Valencia is currently lame on her front end, but will be seen by our vet and farrier, and hopefully we can get her right again. She is reportedly well started under saddle although we don’t know how long it’s been since she’s been ridden.

As with all new horses, Ru and Valencia are being held in quarantine until we are sure they are healthy. They are quite bonded to one another, so they are sharing a paddock with a Noble shelter and seem quite happy.

Belle and Aurora Join the Herd

SAFE welcomed two new horses to our herd today. Belle is a 19 year old Thoroughbred mare, and her daughter Aurora is 11 years old. The two girls are sharing a quarantine space at Safe Harbor for the time being, and seem very interested in all the goings on around them. We’ll give them time to acclimate and settle in before we start evaluating them to see what they know and what they need to learn. First impression is that they are nice girls who haven’t gotten a great deal of handling lately so they need to be reminded about paying attention to their handlers and respecting personal space. We’re pretty sure they’ll do well once training starts. They are both big-bodied, gorgeous mares with a lot of potential!


Adoption Announcement: Cameo!

It may take some time but when the right fit comes into one of our horses lives the adoption process seems to have always been meant to be. This is exactly how it was when Cameo’s adopter Lindsay realized that she couldn’t see her life without this mare in it! We all could see this pair had a special bond so once the decision was made it was with pure joy we matched Cameo with her PERFECT home! She has moved north to a lovely dressage training barn where Lindsay works full time. She has lots of room to run and play and the constant love and devotion of a wonderful owner. We are all so excited to finalize this adoption and send Cameo and Lindsay lots of well wishes for their life together!

Cameo at her new home. Still wearing her breakfast hay!

Adoption Announcment: Vida!

We are so pleased to announce the placement of our sweet companion mare Vida. She is now loving her new life with JoElla!

A few months ago JoElla came to us, interested in getting a horse. She has never owned a horse before and while she did have family to help her take on this responsibility, she still needed to get more comfortable around horses. So we recommended that she come to SAFE and volunteer, to gain some valuable horse experience. While volunteering at SAFE, JoElla fell in love with Vida, a very independent mare with a VERY loving and tender heart.

Vida has settled in perfectly to her new home and routine. She has a boyfriend named Murphy and lots of loving people to care for her.

JoElla said this about adopting from SAFE: “This is the best thing I could have done. I love being with Vida, she is so sweet to me!”


September Volunteer of the Month: Debbie Meyer

In recognition of her outstanding efforts to obtain sponsorships for the 2017 SAFE Benefit Horse Show, Save a Forgotten Equine (SAFE) is pleased to honor Debbie Meyer as Volunteer of the Month.

Our September honoree had not been around horses before joining SAFE, “but always referred to my beloved, rescued, Italian mastiff, Guido, as my ‘pony’ because he was the biggest of the four mastiffs I have had over the last 25 years.

“After Guido went to doggy heaven, I reluctantly accepted that he will be my last giant breed dog. However, I still wanted to be around big animals and was looking for another animal non-profit organization with which to volunteer.” SAFE came highly recommended by Guido’s care team, and after attending an open house and meeting Sunny D and Shasta, Debbie signed on to work a chore shift.

“Volunteering at SAFE is helping me to emotionally heal from a number of significant losses over the past year,” she says. “I lost Guido after a 15- month battle with cancer, the last six of which we also fought a heart condition often found in horses. I then unexpectedly lost my dear mother to a brain aneurysm; and three months later, I lost my adored Rocco whom I always affectionately referred to as my little mastiff in a cat suit because Rocco had the biggest head of any cat I had ever met!

“I’m learning so many new things about horses and their care from the kind, patient, dedicated SAFE staff and volunteers who are more horse savvy than I can ever dream of becoming; and that has proven to be very stimulating for me.”

Debbie is especially fond of Shasta, Sunny and Ben. “Ben is the biggest horse I have ever met, so I consider him to be the mastiff of horses; and I find it adorable that he and Sunny are best friends! I was thrilled when Lori asked me to be a ‘buddy’ to Shasta and Sunny and cannot tell you how heart- warming it is to me when they whinny at the sound of my voice when I arrive for the Thursday AM chores shift and when they trot to their pasture fence to greet me when I stop in during the week to check on them. I also have a soft spot for Owen because I know Owen knows I am not a horse person and, as a result, initially kept his distance, not letting me pet him but observing me from afar, as if wondering how long I was going to last. He evidently concluded my being an ‘animal person’ was OK, too; and the day he greeted me at his pasture fence and allowed me to pet him, I felt accepted.”

When not spending time at SAFE, Debbie stays busy with bowling, gardening, learning foreign languages, occasional travel, spending time with family and friends, volunteering with the Friends of Big Finn Hill Park, walking and watching professional football.