Most Volunteers of the Month spend their time onsite at SAFE in some capacity. However, this month we recognize a member of the behind-the-scenes SAFE Community Outreach Team who shoulders the responsibility of reviewing all the Community Outreach Applications submitted online by horse owners across WA state and sometimes beyond. These applicants are seeking help with rehoming their horses, covering the expense of feeding them and/or caring for their vet/farrier needs.
The number of applications that SAFE receives is many and never ending, especially since Covid, and the situations are often heart wrenching. The unfortunate reality is SAFE does not have the funds to fulfill every Community Outreach request. As a result, difficult discussions often have to be had with applicants regarding the number of horses they have and what their sustainable care plan is (or is not), along with alternatives. This is especially true if a horse is older and ill, injured or battling behavior issues which make rehoming more difficult. To have those discussions, it is best to have actual horse ownership experience and lifelong horse knowledge, along with the emotional strength and maturity to remain objective and the ability to research and ask some probing questions in a kind and caring manner while determining if the applicants are legitimate or attempting a scam.
Fortunately for SAFE, Kellie Larsen agreed to serve on its Operations Council and to take on the responsibility of improving its Community Outreach process, while balancing her other life commitments. Those commitments include dressage trainer, horse show judge, wife, mom to cats, dogs and horses, and parental caregiver. Her background in investigative reporting also has proven helpful! As a SAFE volunteer teammate of Kellie’s commented … “Kellie is a delight to work with and learn from given her horse and life experiences, kindness, no-nonsense attitude and sense of humor. She is a true Super Star and one of the most genuine, caring people I have met at SAFE!”
Learn a little more about Kellie below:
How and when did you first get involved with horses?
I have been involved with, and around horses since a young girl. I rode in Oregon every summer when we visited my grandparents. When my parents moved from Alaska to Washington, I got my first pony named Debbie. I was 12 years old. Since then I have ridden, trained, and shown a lot of horses! My husband is Danish and also rides. We currently have 4 horses.
What do you like most about volunteering with SAFE?
I love volunteering for SAFE in Outreach and working with Debbie, Terry, Ann, Danielle and Carrie. It is a great opportunity to help horse owners through Outreach at SAFE.
Do you have a favorite SAFE horse? If so, why?
I don’t have a favorite SAFE “horse”, but, because Debbie loves the two minis, Shasta and Sunny, I feel like I know them the best!
What do you do when you are not horsing around with us?
I am pretty much always “horsing” around as I also teach dressage and judge local schooling shows as a L graduate.