Bandit

SEX:
mare
BREED:
Quarter Horse
REGISTERED NAME:
none
INTAKE DATE:
10/1/21
COLOR: bay MARKINGS:  For Novice Handler  
YOB: 1997 AGE: 24 yrs old HEIGHT: 14.2 HH WEIGHT: 988 lbs
LOCATION: Redmond, WA ADOPTION FEE: $300
Online Adoption Application  

Bandit is a 24 year old Quarter Horse type mare who arrived at SAFE with two other herd mates, Brandy and Topper. Sadly, their owner was in hospice and needed for a place for their horses. Bandit is a friendly mare and she’ll be offered for adoption as a companion.

All SAFE horses are adopted with a no-breeding clause, no exceptions.

Update on Otto

Update on Otto

This little cutie is feeling much better after packing on a few more pounds! He has proven to be fairly even mannered and willing to try what is asked of him. Pretty much ground ties like a champ for grooming sessions unless its food time and then all the attention is getting to his yummy hay! He was a bit of a stinker to pick up his hooves but that is getting better with constancy.  

He had a dental recheck a few weeks ago to see when and how they can best manage the removal the broken teeth he had on arrival at SAFE and clean up the area damaged by the infection.

Dr. Hanson evaluated Otto’s progress a few weeks ago. Some more teeth have ruptured and emerged out of the gum line. The ulcerations have all healed. The infected tooth still has not emerged enough to get a good handle on it for an in-mouth extraction. There is a tool that could screw into the tooth and help pull out but there is concern that the tooth may fall apart during this procedure. The third option is to open a hole on the side of his mouth and remove the tooth by pushing it from the top. The concern here is that these holes may not close up and there can be complications.
For now, we wait, give him more time to push the tooth into a better position for extraction, and for Otto to be healthier for general anesthesia. He will remain on the 8 SMZ and 8 metronidazole 2x/day indefinitely. He has been a champ for his antibiotics and happily continues to munch away at his hay and mashes without issue. 
Overall Dr. Hanson was impressed with Otto’s overall progress over the last month both in gaining weight, his appearance, and his pleasant disposition. We will follow up in one month with another recheck exam.
We are looking forward to his full recovery and in the months to come being able to really start working and teaching this little fellow more. Due to the neglect he has faced and malnourishment in his early years, it may take some time for him to fully recover. We will take things at his pace, but so far see a very bright and happy future for Otto!  
Topper is Adopted!

Topper is Adopted!

Topper has found a wonderful new family! Not only does he get a four legged best friend, but also a 9 year old, Hank, to love on him. Jo and Marcus were looking for a companion for their retiring 23 year old show mare, Cisco. The two horses met in 2 feet of snow! The family made a nice trail in the paddock and the two horses followed each other around hitting it off perfectly! Topper is a 26 year old pony who came to SAFE with two other sweet senior ladies, when their owner was in hospice care and wanted to safely rehome them. We are so happy for this for little guy and his new retired life filled with love.

SAFE is Now Accredited by GFAS

SAFE is Now Accredited by GFAS

We have some exciting news to share! SAFE is now an Accredited member of the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries! There are just 209 GFAS organizations worldwide, and SAFE is one of them.

Obtaining this status has been a goal of ours for years. SAFE achieved Verified status in 2018, and that in itself was an achievement. But the requirements for Accredited status are VAST, to say the least, because GFAS scrutinized every aspect of our rescue. Not just our farm and our animal care practices, but also how we operate as a nonprofit. The standards set by GFAS are very high, and we are proud to say that SAFE has met and even exceeded those standards.

Why go to all this trouble? Why subject ourselves to being put under a microscope, to have every inch of our farm inspected, to have to produce reams of documents, including standard operating procedures for every single aspect of this operation?

Because GFAS Accreditation means that SAFE is rescuing horses at the highest level. It means we do things right, even when there might be an easier way. It means that we are unquestionably devoted to the well being of the horses that we take in. And it means that when you make a donation to support the SAFE horses, you can be sure that your gift will be used to change horses’ lives.

To all SAFE supporters, whether you’re a donor or a volunteer or an advocate (or all three!) you made this possible. THANK YOU! Let’s make 2022 another great year for horses!

More about GFAS: https://www.sanctuaryfederation.org/

Read the press release here: https://www.safehorses.org/press-release-save-a-forgotten-equine-safe-in-redmond-washington-is-now-accredited-by-the-global-federation-of-animal-sanctuaries/

Press Release: Save a Forgotten Equine (SAFE) in Redmond, Washington is Now Accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries

Press Release: Save a Forgotten Equine (SAFE) in Redmond, Washington is Now Accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries

Save a Forgotten Equine (SAFE) in Redmond, Washington is Now Accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries 

January 24, 2022 (Redmond, WA) — The Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS), the only globally recognized organization providing standards for identifying legitimate animal sanctuaries, awarded Accredited status to Save a Forgotten Equine as of January 12, 2022.

Accreditation signifies that Save a Forgotten Equine (SAFE) meets GFAS’s rigorous and peer-reviewed equine care standards which are confirmed by a comprehensive site visit. Accreditation also signifies adherence to standards addressing the sustainability of the organization, ethical principles, finances, staffing, education outreach, security and safety and other operational aspects. The Accreditation status also provides a clear and trusted means for the public, donors, and grantors to recognize Save a Forgotten Equine as an exceptional organization.

We are very proud to announce the transition from Verified to Accredited status for Save a Forgotten Equine,” said Daryl Tropea, Ph.D., GFAS Program Director-Equine. “As most of their equines come from cruelty and neglect situations, SAFE is dedicated to providing a healing and nurturing environment so these equines can find refuge in preparation for new and lasting homes. When at capacity, SAFE offers several community outreach options including a hay bank that has assisted many horse owners during these difficult years. While providing excellent care, SAFE also implements the full range of non-profit management best practices ensuring the sustainability of this organization for years to come. In a perfect world, there would be no need for equine rescues but until that time, we are fortunate to have dedicated and committed organizations such as Save a Forgotten Equine.”

SAFE is very proud to have achieved Accreditation from GFAS,” said Bonnie Hammond, Executive Director for SAFE. “We hold ourselves to a very high standard of equine care and nonprofit governance, and it is gratifying to have those standards validated by an organization like GFAS.”

The GFAS Equine Accreditation Program is made possible by a generous grant from The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals® and the Kenneth Scott Charitable Trust.

About Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries 
Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS) is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization dedicated to the sole purpose of strengthening and supporting the work of animal sanctuaries, rescues, and rehabilitation centers worldwide. The goal of GFAS in working with and assisting these animal care facilities is to ensure they are supported, honored, recognized and rewarded for meeting important criteria in providing care to the animals in residence. GFAS was founded in 2007 by animal protection leaders from a number of different organizations in response to virtually unchecked and often hidden exploitation of animals for human entertainment and financial profit. The GFAS Board of Directors guides the organization’s work in a collaborative manner. While the board includes those in top leadership at
The Humane Society of the United States, International Fund for Animal Welfare, and American Anti-Vivisection Society, all board members serve as individuals dedicated to animal sanctuaries. www.sanctuaryfederation.org

About Save a Forgotten Equine
Since 2005, Save a Forgotten Equine (SAFE) has been rescuing and rehabilitating horses that have been starved, neglected, abused or are unwanted. We have formal agreements in place with Animal Control agencies in King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties to support their fight to protect horses in this region. SAFE also provides assistance to horse owners struggling to care for their animals in the current economy.

SAFE is deeply committed to its rescued horses. We have extensive experience in equine rehabilitation and have successfully brought many neglected horses back from the brink of starvation. All of our horses are provided with routine vet care, dental care, vaccinations, and farrier care. Once a horse has been successfully rehabilitated, we carefully evaluate them to discover their strengths and suitability, and we provide many of these horses with professional training to help ensure them a safe and productive future. While at SAFE, horses receive a lot of personal attention and handling. Our rideable horses are worked on a regular basis by our on-staff trainer and by qualified volunteer riders under her supervision.

Once a horse is ready for a permanent home, SAFE undertakes a rigorous screening process to find the ideal placement. We carefully review applications, check references, and conduct site visits, with the goal of finding a long-term home that will benefit both horse and adopter. After a horse is placed into its forever home, annual follow-up visits are conducted to ensure the animal’s continued well-being and SAFE will take a horse back if its adopter can’t continue to care for it.

Despite our years of success helping horses in the local area, SAFE remains a small, modest organization that operates on a shoestring budget and works hard to make every penny count. We rely on public donations to pay the majority of our operating expenses. The funds we raise are used to feed, house, care for and train our horses…essentially paying for everything needed to ensure them a safe and productive future. We have minimal management expenses, and only five paid full time employees. The heart of SAFE is our volunteers — from our Board of Directors to the more than 150 volunteers who handle the day to day care of the horses — an incredible group of people who believe in SAFE’s mission and give the best of their talents and energy to make it succeed.

For more information, please visit: Save a Forgotten Equine (SAFE) | Rescuing, rehabilitating, and retraining horses facing neglect or abuse and provide them with the best opportunity for a permanent home and a lifetime of safety. (safehorses.org)

Download press release here: SAFE, WA Press Release 1–12–22

Montana’s Progress

Montana’s Progress

We have made some progress with gentling Montana to the halter. He is still very shy about the first touch and had learned from his previous life that he can keep his head just out of reach from the halter by holding it far to the other side. He will allow us to walk up and pet his shoulders and at time his head. To continue to make progress and change the behavior, we easily can throw and rope over his neck (he stands and has no worry about this) then work on him giving his head to the halter. 

We’ve done a lot of work getting him comfortable with things coming under his jaw and to the opposite side. We also had to work some on getting his feet free. When he feels free and not braced, he is more comfortable and willing to stand to be haltered. Otherwise he is like a ticking time bomb and if he felt stuck enough, he may out of fear bite or kick out. Luckily, we have been successful in helping him release his braces and have kept both him and those working with him safe.  

During the last Horsemanship clinic with Joel Conner, we were able to quietly walk Montana with his friend Darla to the indoor arena. There we were able to spend more time on groundwork. He has carried over change with new things such as introduction of the flag or moving his hind and front quarters. However, the evasions to the first touch and haltering still persist. It is pretty cute when — once the halter is around his neck now and we are practicing taking it on and off — he will stick his nose down into the halter. He knows what we want him to do, but is just cheeky about accepting it at the beginning. On a good note, he is a bright and willing horse, everything new he experiences will be with a good foundation so it is our hope that the work to saddle will be fairly straight forward. However, we are aware that as a young horse he was ridden for a short time. Maybe 30 days of training, so we hope we don’t uncover old trouble due to any bad experiences long ago. 

Mac In Search of a Perfect Home

Mac In Search of a Perfect Home

Terry had this to say our big Mac:

I think a lot about what Mac’s perfect home would be. It is hard to find because the person handling has to have good horse sense. They need to understand good timing for pressure and release. Too much pressure without a timely release and he would easily scramble backwards and sit down or flip backwards. Our great horsemanship volunteer and friend, Lexee, has dedicated a ton of time helping him with this issue and has made terrific changes. That said, in the wrong hands, he will go right back to the troubled spot. When he moves to a new home, he will need support in the transition and will need to experience everything again with his new owner. They will have to know how to work through it with him or there will be a big wreck. This is by no means impossible but very difficult. Most adopters are looking for an easy to get along with horse. Those that have horses like Mac understand their horse’s behavior and manage it. No one goes out looking for a horse with trouble. So, the question is how does SAFE help Mac find a home willing to take him in and love him “just the way he is”, understanding that he is frightened and needs support to successfully manage things that upset him? 

We are honest about everything we experience with our horses and (maybe to a fault) lay out all the good and bad for adopters to hear. There are some truly amazing things about Mac that hopefully will help him find a home. He is easy to be around, submissive and never fights with others, he is not herd bound, he walks pleasantly to and from turnout, and he has no health or medical issues that are difficult to manage. He requires extra senior feed in the winter months and has a normal amount of age-related arthritis to monitor as he continues to age. One of the best things about Mac: his heart. He is a very dear gelding that wants to connect and feel peace with those around him. You can see this in his soft expression and clearly enjoys one on one time with people he trusts.  

Mac shares a paddock with Domino

Mac has a few volunteer buddies now who spend time with him and Domino. Giving them extra TCL, grooming and attention. He has been wonderful for them and they are enjoying spending time with him. When the right home presents itself, Mac is ready. Until then, he is very much loved and enjoyed here at SAFE.

Lacey Loves Freya

Lacey Loves Freya

Lacey has taken a real liking to her fence line buddy, Freya. It was very cute when we first turned Freya out with the mare herd next to Lacey, the two of them spent a ton of time talking to each other through the fence. Then for days Freya would be found next to Lacey along the fence line just hanging out. The two mares are also stalled next to each other in the barn. When the better weather comes, and if both mares are still here, we may look for a nice big area for them to get acquainted and turned out (at non-feeding times) together. Lacey can be turned out with other horses but they just have to be the right temperament. She must be the boss and they have to be very submissive. Something about Freya’s old wisdom must interest Lacey because it is clear they are already showing us they are friends.  

New Horses: Cramer and Otto

New Horses: Cramer and Otto

Cramer and Otto arrived last month, like many horses at SAFE, in rough shape. They were part of a 3 horse seizue by Snohomish Animal Control. Our herd count was pretty high at the time, so our friends at SAIN (Skagit Animals in Need) took the third horse.
Cramer is a huge guy, who is believed to have been used as a bucking horse in rodeos and is unhandled at 15 years old. The staff got right to work getting this big bay used to people with scratches in his favorite spot. They’ve also been working on getting Cramer up to a healthier weight and he’s already looking better.
A few days later, Otto arrived. Cramer was excited to see his familiar face after being alone in our quarantine paddock. Otto is only 3 years old and is in need of a ton of groceries and will be on antibiotics twice a day for a dental infection. As you can see in the photos, there is a bump on his nose. This is the site of a broken tooth which happened when one of his adult teeth ruptured through and broke the baby tooth in place. Now, with infection making its way into the bone, this is a horrific situation. There was discharge from the right nostril, a foul odor, and could abscess through the sinus passage. The vet said this might be a good sign and help the surgeon. We are hopeful after putting on some pounds he will be strong enough to have surgery with the NW Veterinarian Clinic in Mount Vernon. This little man’s journey is just beginning, but he is in the right place now!
George Wants Out

George Wants Out

SAFE staff have the always eventful task of walking George during his stall restWhile he is often quiet in his stall, outside of his stall can get more challenging. It is hard to help such a young, playful boy keep all his feet on the ground and not jumping around during his rehab walks. Luckily, we are nearing the end of the stall confinement this month, and will start turning him out in a very small rehab paddock. We can also start saddling him and walking him under saddle. These are big steps for his recovery and we are looking forward to his recheck in early February and getting the clear bill of health to return to work! This boy wants some action! 

Playful Frosting

Playful Frosting

Frosting’s foster mom, Casey, wrote an update on Frosting and here’s what she had to say about her:

Frosting is a great companion on the farm! Right now, we’re just giving her time to grow up and learn the basics. She is pretty fearless and has no trouble with blanketing, mane and tail spray, hosing, grooming, leading, etc.  Even when Frosting’s paddock mate is away for a ride, Frosting remains unconcerned. 

Frosting is also as entertaining as ever!  She is constantly getting into shenanigans, and paddock buddy Fancy certainly thinks she’s a pesky little sister. She loves to pull tarps into their paddock and run around with them as if on a victory lap. I once left Fancy’s rain sheet too close to the fence, and that got dragged around. Luckily no damage done, just a soggy blanket. She was given a Jolly Ball (horse toy) for entertainment, and it does work, but much like a cat, the free old tarp is much more appealing. She also likes to be as dirty as possible, so it was a relief when a new rain sheet was delivered! Rolling in the snow is her new favorite thing, which is a welcome reprieve. 

Night check is my favorite. The girls are usually in the same stall, and one or the other is laying down taking a snooze. As much as Fancy thinks Frosting is pesky, she appreciates her company, too.”

Saddling Esme

Saddling Esme

Esme did well at our colt starting workshop in November. She was able to be saddled every day and became more and more comfortable with carrying the saddle. As with Jacob and Edward, we are going to spend the winter months getting her more comfortable and better prepared for the first rides. No use in causing trouble that isn’t there with a ride done too early in haste to get it done. A set-back with a sensitive horse could be a lasting issue we don’t need to cause.  

The biggest issue facing Esme is her comfort level with things touching her in her blind spots. She is very quick to kick out at anything touching her hind legs. Work on this issue is important to help insure a lifetime of safety ahead. Not only will her comfort with this help the gentling process and her becoming a riding horse, but it will also help her accept pressure. If she were ever to get caught in fencing, we hope that lessons to give to pressure on her legs would help prevent her from panicking and hurting herself kicking at whatever she is entangled in. Seems like a simple thing, but can be a lesson that save her from serious injury or loss of life.  

Esme has had a few successful farrier visits and is now fully vaccinated. We continue to monitor her fecal content, worm, and recheck her to eliminate the heavy parasite load she had upon arrival at SAFE. She has been treated with Ivermectin and the double five-day dose of Panacur. With a small load still present, we will be worming her for a third time. She is getting fecal checks regularly and hopeful we will soon have all the parasites eliminated. Years of going untreated without regular checks and treatment can create incessant parasites that take time and multiple treatments to get under control.  

Cam, My Man

Cam, My Man

A Horse of Many Names …

Cameron, Cam, Cam My Man … these are all the names by which he is lovingly referred. As you may recall from an earlier update, Cameron has been participating in the SAFE Handwalking Program since last October. The program was developed to accommodate the need for the SAFE horses to stay active, especially those recovering from some mishap or those companion horses who do not get regular stimulation through the SAFE Horsemanship Program as they are readied to become adoptable riding horses. As a result, Cameron has a harem of SAFE volunteers (aka Admirers) who met the criteria for the SAFE Handwalking Program, wanted to practice their horse leading and handling skills and committed to walk him for 30-minute intervals during their assigned day and scheduled slot each week. Following is what one of those Admirers, Debbie M, has to say about her time with Cam …

What a special boy Cam is and smart, too! While he would prefer to take the lead as evidenced by his tendency to forward walk if being led on his left side, he usually will back up on his own when I stop to first ask him to do so and always if a second ask is needed or on the rare occasion when he needs to be asked a third time. He obviously is more accustomed to being walked on this left side and seems to be more comfortable with his handler being on that side. However, he is adapting quite nicely to being led on his right side, too, so we spend time doing both on our walks for more mental stimulation. For variety, we walk the main loop between the barn and around the outdoor covered arena; traverse the open arena in multiple directions; spend time in the covered arena; and on occasion, meander to the back paddocks so we can say “Howdy!” to all the horses who come to their fence lines to observe us enjoying our walk. As with most horses, grass is quite tempting; but he accepts the fact with minimal resistance that he is not allowed to munch on any during our walks. It is as if he knows munching on grass may not be good for his tummy … or at least I would like to think so! Always the gentleman, Cameron will lower his head and guide his nose into the halter for the start of our walk and patiently wait for his halter to be removed at the end of the walk … unless the SAFE “food truck” is delivering a meal to his neighbors and he knows his paddock soon will be visited! Cam is My Man on our weekly walks. I sincerely appreciate his patience with me and what he is teaching me and thoroughly enjoy spending time with him. On behalf of all of his Admirers … Thank you to SAFE Management for giving us this opportunity.

Edward Making Strides

Edward Making Strides

Edward is a silly monkey! He is both a joy and a troublemaker all wrapped up in a handsome package. We’re approaching 60 days of nebulizing treatments for Edward. He manages these exceptionally well, given how green and untrained he was just a few months ago. We have slowly decreased the amount of medication and now do treatments a few times a week. If all goes well, he will be able to maintain effective respiration on a few times a week or just for “flare-ups”. This will be a big relief for our staff who have been standing with him for these 45-minute sessions daily. Edward is hesitant about anyone other than his primary trainer, Terry, haltering or handling him, and he can be intimidating and quick moving. However, we are introducing him to being haltered by others so that he can be safely handled by more people. Edward has a trouble spot when asked to do things he doesn’t want to do or is unsure about. In his life before SAFE, he likely was able to either bully his way to get people to leave him alone or they simply never asked him to do anything that wasn’t his idea. He is the more herd bound member of the trio that all came to SAFE together. He is fine leaving the other horses as long as he is with Terry but if he is left alone in his paddock he will call and run around until his paddock buddies return, particularly little Esme. 

Terry was able to saddle Edward three times prior to his first colt starting clinic at SAFE and only in the very first saddling did he feel the need to buck. Terry was able to keep him on the halter during the bucking and helped talk him through the bucking without letting him sort it out on his own. Once Edward settled, he remained in the round pen and found the walk, trot, and canter without much issue. By the time the clinic days came he was pretty easy to saddle and move out. During the colt starting clinic at SAFE we were able to work every day with saddling and moving out wearing the saddle. However, given his touchiness, the winter months ahead, and a three-month period until our next clinic with Joel Conner, we decided not to put the first rides on him. There is a great deal of helpful groundwork that can happen between now and the clinic that will make the first ride experience easy and successful for everyone. A set-back on a sensitive horse isn’t worth experiencing. Time and more groundwork can help mitigate any trouble in those important first rides.

A few weeks ago Edward had a little head bobbing and tender steps when weighting his right front. Much to our surprise, he allowed us to soak his foot in warm water and Epson salts then dry and cover the bottom of his hoof in an Epson salt paste with duct tape boot wrap. Amazing! Luckily the next day the abscess popped and he was back to moving without any pain. He even let us cut off the boot without TOO much trouble.

Domino Likes His Buddies

Domino Likes His Buddies

What a sweet boy Domino is! He has been a gentleman for everything we have asked of him at SAFE. His only troubled spot is that he is very herd bound to his paddock friends, and calls continuously to them until they return to be with him in the paddock. Even if he is calling out for his buddy, Domino remains mindful of the people around him and does not become ill-mannered. He and Mac are the best of friends. When brought into their stalls at night, Domino demands that his window be opened immediately to see his friend in the stall next door. It is actually very sweet, even if it is a bit noisy when Mac is getting some one-on-one time with volunteers in the arena. It is endearing that Domino wants to keep an eye on his buddy. Coming from a home where he was the only horse for many years, it must be very comforting to him to have such a good friend at SAFE.  

Domino’s best home would be as the constant companion to another gentle mare or gelding that tends to be on the submissive side in a herd dynamic. After introducing him to a few horses, it is clear that Domino likes to be the leader and as long as the buddy doesn’t mind, they are best of friends.  

Darling Daisy

Darling Daisy

Daisy has been doing well with the transition into winter and continues on her daily 10 pounds of senior feed and free choice alfalfa. Her weight is excellent and she seems to enjoy the other horses near her pen. As we move into spring it will be nice to get her out on our grass pastures and introduce her to some friends. She is a very social girl and we think she will enjoy the companionship of other horses. Winter is difficult for group turnouts, but soon enough the sunny days will return. Until then, Daisy is enjoying grooming sessions with volunteers and is a herd favorite.   

Darla on the Mend

Darla on the Mend

Poor, sweet Darla has been suffering from a bad hoof abscess over the holidays at SAFE. Despite starting treatment (soaking and Epson salt poultices), her pain level became more severe. We called our veterinarian, Dr. Renner, for a visit. X‑rays showed a significant hematoma had formed in her front left hoof, putting a significant amount of pressure on her coffin bone. We don’t know what caused this injury or when it happened, but the hoof had experienced some traumatic event.  

Kaya checks on Darla’s foot

Darla was started on SMZ (antibiotics) and Bute for pain. We continued soaking and wrapping in an Epson salt poultice. After a few days the pain increased and we added Tramadol for more pain management.  She was kept in a deeply bedded stall with a camera monitoring her for 24-hour surveillance. While she has been a fairly willing patient, she did not like being given oral medications so we will have to work on that.  

Abscess opens finally!

Finally, during the first week of January the abscess opened and started to drain. There is at least one port at the front of her coronet band and possibly another on her medial heel bulb. She is MUCH more comfortable now and is able to put some weight on the hoof. We will continue soaking the hoof with Epson salts with a splash of iodine as an antiseptic for the open area. We are also using Animalintex poultices (these were donated and we’re very grateful for them because they are pricey) to cover the port area to help encourage more drainage. We will keep the hoof wrapped, clean and dry as the area finishes flushing out and heals. We are so grateful that she is on the road to recovery and we will have our sweet Darla healthy and happy very soon! 

Brandy + Bandit = Brandit for Short

Brandy + Bandit = Brandit for Short

We’ve spent quite some time getting to know these two mares since their arrival at SAFE in October, 2021. We’ve observed that both have a “been there, done that” wisdom about them. They seem like two old ladies chuckling to themselves about days gone by and all the mischief they had gotten into together. Brandi is definitely the herd leader and Bandit is completely happy to follow her lead. They are both gentle to groom and handle. After being at SAFE for some time now, Bandit is easy to halter and enjoys her grooming and neck scratching sessions. The two are sweet enough to participate in volunteer grooming sessions and are no trouble when haltered and groomed. Both of them seem to enjoy the human companionship and are becoming favorites among the volunteers. 

When Bandit came to SAFE, previous caretakers reported she was difficult for the farrier and needed veterinarian sedation for trims. She has now successfully been trimmed twice with our farrier, without sedation, and each time she became more relaxed. During the most recent trim, our farrier was impressed with Bandit’s progress and commented that Bandit seemed very relaxed and well-mannered. The farrier’s initial concern that it might be difficult for Bandit to get past her anxiety with hind leg trims faded after this session with Bandit’s good behavior.  

Both mares’ teeth have been examined by our veterinarian. They have very little tooth available to be filed down and both were stressed by the equipment needed to perform the procedures. Because the exam indicated that not a huge amount of work could be done, we decided best to not cause them too much anxiety and did not do dentals. Going forward we will watch their weights and, due to the lack of grinding surface remaining on their teeth, supplement both with senior complete feed as needed to maintain good weights. Both mares have exhibited reluctance to be separate stalls, particularly Bandit. For the future, they will do best in a living situation that allow them 24-hour access in and out of shelters and where they can keep an eye on each other. They are currently content living as SAFE, sharing a run through shed and large paddock.  

We are currently looking for an ideal foster home that will keep both mares living their best lives together. They are advanced in age but not in spirit, and we look forward to giving them a lovely retirement together. 

Goodbye Arigato

Goodbye Arigato

Some of these are just harder to talk about than others. I’m so sorry to let you all know we had to let Arigato go. She was diagnosed with severe degeneration of her right hind coffin joint and navicular bone resulting in ongoing lameness issues. She was euthanized due to a grave prognosis for life without significant pain. The disease was likely the result of a previous infection before she arrived at SAFE.

We are unclear when the trauma to her hind foot occurred but evidences of this were present from the day she arrived at SAFE. However not being gentle, we could not safely sedate her and x‑ray. She managed well and the work we did to gentle her never seemed to cause too much discomfort. She was always slight lame but happily living and getting more and more peaceful around humans.

Last week she presented with signs of colic, within a few days started to become tender on her hind and the last 2 days not bearing weigh. Her pain was severe the last 2 days and we greatly appreciate our vets getting to her as soon as possible. She was not afraid or frightened, she took comfort in human touch and love, and was peaceful about everything we needed to do to help her this past week. She found a forever home with SAFE and had found love with our family. She was surrounded by love and friendship when she was peacefully laid to rest and like all things she did this with grace.

You will be dearly missed sweet teddy bear mare. Thank you for trusting and loving us as much as we loved you.

January Volunteer of the Month: Jill Marcell

January Volunteer of the Month: Jill Marcell

Congratulations to Jill Marcell! Since starting on a PM shift in August 2019, Jill has been a kind, reliable team member, working hard to take care of our horses. Even recovering from a surgery couldn’t keep her away from SAFE. Within a few weeks she picked up a shift prepping the horse’s grain baggies until she can return to her original team on Wednesdays. We are very lucky to have Jill Marcell as part of the SAFE family. Get to know a little more about Jill below.

How and when did you first get involved with horses?
I have always been a horse lover since a young girl.  Birthdays always involved pony rides or horse back riding as a kid.

Do you have one now you want to tell us about?
I do not have a horse of my own, but so happy to love on all of the SAFE horses as much as possible.

What do you like most about volunteering with SAFE?
The staff and volunteers at SAFE are so dedicated to the horses and their wellbeing and it shows.  I love the relationships and camaraderie with fellow volunteers.

Do you have a favorite SAFE horse? If so, why?
My favorite horse at SAFE is Domino.  We have a special bond as I cared for him as much as I could for last 6 years in his prior situation.  I have a soft spot for the older horses at SAFE, like Beauty and Daisy.  I know that they might not have had a great prior situation but at least in their golden years they are loved and cared for and hopefully they find a new home with someone to love them.

What do you do when you are not horsing around with us?
My husband and I spend most weekends in Cle Elum and like to travel as much as possible.  It makes it hard to have a horse of my own because we are out of town a lot, which is why I am happy to be a SAFE volunteer.

Cold Weather is Coming!

Cold Weather is Coming!

Our Alumni’s get the best treatment! With the cold temperatures going into winter, we’ve had some cute photos sent to us with horses all snug in their mid weight blankets. In their previous lives, many of these horses had to fend for themselves during harsh weather conditions. Now they have wonderful families who add a little coziness to their lives which not only keeps them warm, but warms our hearts.

 

Sundae left on Sunday

Sundae left on Sunday

But not necessarily forever. Sundae headed to a foster home where she will providing comfort to another
horse and loving family. The family had to make the hard decision to euthanize their companion pony and wanted to have another four legged friend to help their other horse, Lawrence, through the sad transition. We’ve already heard that Lawrence is smitten with Sundae and how could you not with those blue eyes and long flowing mane?

Barb at the Joel Connor Clinic

Barb at the Joel Connor Clinic

Candi, a volunteer rider, recently worked with Barb in the Groundwork Clinic in November. Here is what she had to say about her.

Barb is not a Barbie Doll! Barb might be small, but she is smart and strong. She may be a ranch horse in the making with her quick moves. Barb and I worked together for the first time in the groundwork session of the November Joel Conner clinic. It would be an understatement to say we learned something from each other. We learned A LOT!

Beyond a doubt, Barb has an opinion. Out of all the horses I have done groundwork with she is by far the most difficult. Challenge accepted. Going back to the very basics of unified circles with a soft feel yielding the hindquarters made all the difference in the world. Over the course of three days, we worked on backing up with a soft feel. By the end of the clinic, I did not even need to put my hand on the base of the halter to back her up. When I asked her she could feel me and backed up on her own. We also worked on what I like to call the “front quarters dance” up and down the arena. This is a great exercise for changing eyes. We were not the best dance partners to begin with. I needed to move her feet out of my space to create rhythm. By the end of the clinic, we were not stepping on each other’s toes.

Barb is a spitfire and willing to work. She will be a good partner for someone who can ensure her success through continued horsemanship training. She needs a solid partner who will set boundaries yet reward her for her accomplishments. Giddy up and gather the cows little girl!”

Echo at the Joel Connor Clinic

Echo at the Joel Connor Clinic

One of our volunteer riders, Candi, recently rode Echo on the last day of the Joel Connor Clinic. Here is what she said about Echo.

Kaya on Echo

One look into Echo’s eyes and you see a sweet mare who is finding her groove once again. In the last month she has been introduced into the horsemanship program by Kaya. In November, Echo participated in the Joel Conner clinic. On the third day of clinic, I was able to ride Echo for the first time. We worked on bending, hindquarters, unified circles and a soft feel. The soft feel means the rider uses their body language to help horse follow them just like they are leading a dance and the horse is following. Along with teaching Echo to move her feet while maintaining a soft feel she is finding comfort. She was calm and relaxed throughout the entire session even with several horses and riders moving around her.

Echo is wonderful mare who wants to connect with her rider. She will benefit with continued training in horsemanship even well after adoption. This will help her not only in the arena but on the trails as well.”

Sad News

Sad News

Last Saturday, Aubrey slipped on a wet stall mat at her foster home. When she got back up, she was not putting weight on her right hind leg. Dr. Fleck examined her and found that she was very sensitive in her pelvic area. He was fairly certain that she has sustained a fracture to her pelvic bone but could not confirm with x‑ray due to the thickness of this area on a horse. 

At the guidance of Dr. Fleck, we decided to put her on pain medications to see if there would be any improvement over the next few days. She was set up in a deeply bedded stall with hay and water within easy reach. Over the next two days, her vitals, heart rate, and respiration remained elevated but did show a slight improvement after medication was given. Aubrey did not move around very much in her stall, but would, at times, set her injured right hind down. She continued to have a good appetite, bowel movements, and was somewhat tolerant of her confinement. 

Dr. Fleck visited her yesterday morning to do another evaluation. He had been very realistic with us on Saturday, so we know that without marked improvement in the next few days, the kindest choice for her would be to euthanize. Sadly, she was still not bearing weight on that limb and any movement to put weight on it seemed very painful. We all felt that giving her a few days, as long as she was comfortable, was fair and would help us know we were making the right decision. Yesterday, we are comforted knowing that we were able to give her one last act of kindness and end her pain. 

Aubrey’s foster mom Jackie spent the last days carefully watching over Aubrey. She kept her hay raised up so she could easily and happily munch away at it. Jackie took Aubrey’s blanket off and gave her a nice long grooming, braided her hair, “did girl things.” She also did some light energy work to comfort her. While Aubrey was not the most affectionate mare, she clearly enjoyed the attention. She became very relaxed, started to fall asleep, and her heart rate even dropped a bit more. SAFE is forever grateful for Jackie’s love and care of Aubrey. 

Aubrey had beautiful last days. She was loved, fed, and her every need was attended to. Horses force us to live in the moment with them, and we are thankful that in the moments that Aubrey had with us, she was never mistreated, alone, or forgotten.

December Volunteer of the Month: Paulette Green

December Volunteer of the Month: Paulette Green

Paulette joined the Thursday PM team in January 2020. It wasn’t much later she shared with me that she lived close and could fill in on shorthanded shifts. Everyone knows that is my dream come true! Paulette has a horse of her own, Gyspy, and has access to that “horse time” so many of the volunteers and staff are looking for at SAFE. Even though she takes care of her own horse everyday, that does not prevent Paulette from saying “Yes I can fill in!” Her dedication to mucking paddocks in the dark, heat and downpour does not stop. We are very lucky to have her as part of the SAFE family. Find out a little more about Paulette below.

How and when did you first get involved with horses?

I can remember so clearly. June 1969! 5 years old. I was born loving everything horsey and grew up in Arizona where horses are a part of life. At that time, we did not have horses of our own. My mom took me to a rental stables for my 5th birthday. A dream come true! I Still remember the horse I rode. His name was Chocolate Drop. In my very young years, we spent many weekends and many miles in the desert with our trusty, rental dude ranch horses. As a teenager, I worked on the big Arabian Farms in Scottsdale, AZ and eventually purchased my first horse when I was 22. Have had horses ever since.

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

Yes! Her name is Gypsy. She is a 17 year old Red Dun Tobiano Paint. She is such a sweetie and I enjoy trail riding with her or just hanging in the barn for long groom sessions. She does play an important role in keeping my life balanced.

What do you like most about volunteering with SAFE?

Doing my part to make sure the horses are now truly safe, comfortable and loved. I really enjoy helping with the feeding and barn chores because we get to be right there with the horses and they are always glad to see us. My team members are awesome too!

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

Sienna. She reminds me of my own horse. Very sweet with a touch of stubborn just to let you know she is thinking for herself. Sienna will always respond to me when she is in her turn out paddock. When I talk to her, she will always come right to me and say hello. We connect.

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

I am a Classified Substitute for the Northshore School District, I enjoy traveling in our motorhome with my husband and dog, Harley and love horsing around with my horse, Gypsy.

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 husband, Dave who has supported my horse obsession for 37 years. When we got married, he understood it was for Better, for Worse and for Horses! He has been very hands on with our own horses through the years and is very supportive of me lending a hand at SAFE.

Three New Horses

Three New Horses

Brandy, Bandit and Topper all arrived at the beginning of October. Sadly, their owner had terminal cancer and was in hospice care. One of their last wishes was to ensure that her horses were safe and taken care of. Their friends helped them locate SAFE, we were able to help so we headed to Port Orchard to pick them up. Brandy is a little shy about being haltered so we set up a little shoot to load her in the trailer. Once Brandy was in, Bandit and Topper quickly followed. They traveled like champs and no one broke a sweat on the way over.

Topper is a fluffy little guy who came in about 100 pounds overweight. We set him up next door to Brandy and Bandit in his own paddock so we could help him lose weight. He now is getting his hay soaked for 30 minutes to help remove the sugars and is already looking better. Brandy seems to be the top dog and Bandit is a very good listener and moves out of her way so she can have first pick over her eating spot. All three horses need a dental and in preparation for coming into the barn we did a trial run. Each one got to practice walking into a stall and as long as they still knew where their friends were, they all walked in like champs. They must be familiar with barn life. The three have settled into the routine at SAFE, looking forward to morning and evening grain time with eager nickers.

Pepper at the Joel Conner Clinic

Pepper at the Joel Conner Clinic

Pepper was quite busy during Joel’s last visit to SAFE, for not only was she my companion in the groundwork portion of the clinic, but she was also present in the colt start. Because she’d worked so hard in the days prior to our groundwork sessions, she was a little bit sore on her right side, but throughout the weekend we still managed to get quite a bit done tracking mostly to her left. 

Last clinic, we worked a lot on front quarters — me on keeping my angle, and Pep on being able to ‘make it’ in the movement. There are some horses who are able to fill in the gaps for people, and at this point, Pepper is not one of them. If I stopped my feet (which I am prone to do) or changed my angle even the slightest bit when asking for front quarters, whatever front quarters she did have would fall apart. However, we made some great strides (literally!) over the weekend, and she was able to successfully execute front quarters on more than one occasion. Her lack of balance in her feet means that she is also prone to falling forward, so backing her up after front quarters is important to ensure she rocks back on her hind, but by the end of the weekend she was anticipating being asked to back and rocking back on her own. 

We also worked on developing life, and we did reach a point where she was very responsive to what I was asking her. More often than not, I was able to ask her to move out with just my ‘good deal,’ meaning I did not have to pick up the pressure before she took me up on my offer. It is really delightful to have moments of feeling in sync with a horse, and I appreciate Pepper’s enduring patience with me as I develop my feel. 

I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to get to work with the same horse two clinics in a row, for it offered me a broader picture of not only the areas both of us needed to work on, but also where we had improved. It is always a joy to get to learn and grow alongside Pepper, and I look forward to our continued partnership! 

 

Kellie Larsen, Outreach Manager

Kellie has had a love for horses (and dogs and cats) her whole life, starting at a young age, riding with her cousins in Oregon every summer at her grandparents’ place.  Every summer her grandparents had a new pony for her to ride. When her parents moved back from Alaska to the Pacific Northwest in the early 70’s she got her very own pony, despite her dad’s resistance to both a pony for her and a motorcycle for her brother.

That led to lessons on her mom’s horse, starting out Western and ending up doing Hunters and Jumpers with her newly relocated (East coast) trainer at Washington Zone shows. She “took time off” from horses to go to the University of Washington, and as soon as she graduated she bought herself a horse! BJ was supposed to be an eventer, but he seriously didn’t like to jump and he became a dressage horse instead.

Although he was not the world’s greatest mover, they managed to show at National level shows through 4th level and school all the FEI movements. She learned so much on him and apprenticed with a local trainer to learn even more. She studied with Henrik Johansen who founded the Positive Riding System, a system that applies the classical theories and philosophies of dressage to accommodate the conformation, instincts and behaviors of all types of horses. She’s a graduate of all the instructor modules through FEI, and the USDF L program, and judges dressage schooling shows locally in Washington state. Previously, Kellie volunteered as Dressage Director for Equestrian’s Institute, and ran National Level and local schooling shows for E.I. for several years.

She and her and husband Peter both ride dressage, and own a small horse farm in Duvall. She teaches dressage locally and occasionally clinics out of the area. She has worked with SAFE in the past to foster a couple of SAFE horses, including Rocky and Misty.

Kellie recently retired after over 25 years in the Dental world. She plans on a few new horses, volunteering with SAFE and some travels as she and Peter find the time to escape!

Trish Markey

Trish Markey feels that horses are a daily passion that brings joy, accomplishment, and accountability. She was introduced to Joel Conner in 2018 and started participating in his horsemanship clinics at SAFE with her gelding Sampson. After learning more about SAFE, she began volunteering with SAFE’s Alumni Program and working on Heart of the Horse. Trish worked in the medical field her whole life and has been very active with nonprofit work for more than twenty years. She’s held leading roles for a number of high profile local gala events, including Woodland Park Zoo’s Jungle Party, the Seattle Aquarium’s Splash Gala, and Virginia Mason’s Dreambuilders Ball. She’s also served on Boards and Development committees for the Seattle Aquarium, Benaroya Research Institute, and the Virginia Mason Foundation. As a member of SAFE’s Board of Directors, Trish would like to help the Board grow its ability to raise money and build strong donor relationships. She would also like to achieve greater communications between SAFE and the board. 

Joel Conner

In Joel Conner’s life, horses are his work and his play. Professionally, Joel starts colts and teaches horsemanship using the techniques of the masters: Tom Dorrance, Ray Hunt, and Buck Brannaman. He started riding horses for SAFE back in 2015, and had been involved with SAFE’s horsemanship program ever since. Joel is deeply committed to developing a horsemanship program at SAFE to help staff and volunteers learn solid and consistent skills for working with the horses. He began coming to SAFE multiple times each year, putting on clinics to teach groundwork and riding. In 2018, he began starting young horses under saddle for SAFE as well as teaching colt starting skills to staff members and volunteers. He also began donating his time to teach basic horse handling skills to SAFE volunteers, allowing those with little to no horse experience get safe, hands-on practice. As a member of SAFE’s Board of Directors, Joel wants to use his ability to build relationships with depth and breadth for the benefit of the SAFE horses.

Sheila Otter

Sheila Otter has been passionate about animals since she was a child. She loved horses, but did not start into a riding program until she was 29. She bought her first horse at 32, and says that being at the barn and in a saddle are definitely her happy places. Sheila has been involved with SAFE for the past three years, procuring items for the auction at Heart of the Horse and attending work parties and SAFE Open Houses. She works as an Account Director for a full-service marketing/branding agency. She’s done a mix of volunteer stints over the years, including an executive co-chair position for Woodland Park Zoo’s annual fundraiser, helping Friends of the Children with event theme and invitation design for their annual fundraiser, and serving two years on the board for the Seattle Women’s Hockey Club. As a member of SAFE’s Board of Directors, Sheila would like to contribute to a strong strategic plan for the organization, increase funding to expand programs, and to develop programs to increase awareness in the community of the great work SAFE does. Sheila is looking forward to a successful year and is honored to be involved with an organization that truly lives its mission.

Questions from Kindergartners

Questions from Kindergartners

Recently a teacher from a near by elementary school reached out because she had a few students who wanted to learn more about horses. Terry was happy to help educate our little budding horse lovers. Check out their questions and Terry’s answers and see if you also can learn a little about SAFE!

What do horses do in the summer when it’s hot?

They generally look for shade under trees and here at SAFE each paddock has a shelter to provide some shade. They will sweat when hot to help them cool down. Their nostrils will extend as they take in more air to cool but do not pant like a dog.

Here at SAFE we provide the horses with water all the time. In the fields sometimes the horses will paw and “play” in the water troughs to get water on themselves and cool down. We also give them water with a handful of senior feed and electrolytes. They really like this treat and it helps us know that they are drinking well. We add a little salt in their daily vitamins to help encourage them to drink more. If we are worried they are not eating the vet has told us to try a feeding tube with a salt paste in it. This makes them want to drink but doesn’t sound very fun to get a mouth full of salt so I generally don’t try this unless I cant get them to drink another way.

Do you train horses? If so, how?

Yes, a big part of our work at SAFE is to help the horses that come here become “good citizens”. In order to be safe for the rest of their lives, they need to be well behaved for domestic life. They need to be gentle for a farrier to trim their hooves every 6–8 weeks and any veterinarian exams, vaccinations, and emergency care if they should ever get hurt and need something such as stitches.

We are training horses any time we are with them. Whenever we are in contact they are learning and we are teaching them how to interact safely with us. Many of the horses who come to SAFE have little to no handling when they arrive or sadly have been mistreated or abused in their past. It is actually a lot easier to teach a horse who has never been touched by other humans than ones who have had bed experiences with people in their past and mistrust us. A lot of the work we do with horses at SAFE is establishing trust and giving them good experiences.

What do horses need to have a safe shelter?

Horse like to see what’s going on around them so often you will see them never going into a shelter they can’t see out of and around them. At SAFE we build shelters with 3 sides for wind breaks but also leave a window around the top so they can see out when they lift their heads.

Average size horses are most comfortable in a stall that is 12’x12’. This way they have enough room to circle around and lay down without getting cast or stuck along the wall. In the summer our herd lives outside 24 hours a day. In the fall and winter we bring most of them into stalls and out of the rain for a nice warm dry stall.

How do you help the horses to feel at home? Are they ever scared when they first come to you?

We like to help support them though the horsemanship training. Helping them feel free to move their feet in balance and find peace and relaxation. When I bring a horse to a new place I will do what we call “groundwork” to help them feel relaxed and connect with me. We slowly help them connect with us through “feel” teaching them to “feel of me”, that is if I say “let’s go” they go with life and energy, if I say “let’s slow down” they slow down. Once they are with me and feeling with me, I can help support them when they feel upset. I say “I am relaxed you can be too” and because of the work we have done to show them how to increase and decrease energy, they start to look to the humans around them for how to feel about something. This is how they work together in a herd and our training is helping them see humans as part of their herd and a kind trustworthy leader that helps them feel supported.

What do horses do when they are super-hot?

Good question. I think other than the signs I explained in question #1, I would say that at extreme unhealthy heat levels, including if they ever had a fever, they would not want to eat, act lethargic and may lay down prostrate (lying flat). Keeping them well hydrated is a very important way we can help them and why we do so much to make sure they keep drinking in both the hot and cold weather.

What do horses do when it’s cold?

They can shiver if they are very cold. In the fall, as the daylight hours start to change, horses naturally begin to grow a very thick insulated coat. The ends of their hair follicle have the ability to stand up and puff up to create a natural fluffy coat and insulate them from the wind and cold. Putting blankets on them can actually stop this natural expansion of the hair. However if they are older, unable to grow a thick coat due to their breeding (some horses just don’t naturally grow a good coat) or if they are skinny and need to save calories to refeed, we will put blankets on them.

We provide them with a shelter with a wind break to help as well. In nature they would group together with the herd to get a break from the wind. You will all see them turn their backs to the wind and shield their own heads from the rain and wind.

We also give them the same 5‑gallon water bucked with a handful of senior feed like we do in the hot summer, to encourage them to drink water. They love their sweet tea!

How do horses stay warm?

See answers in question #6. Also as a horse digests hay they create an inner heat. Kind of like their own personal heaters. In colder weather, we will throw them more hay to help them stay warm.

Is there anything that we can do to help your horses? 

There is a TON of things to help SAFE horses. Here are a few ways people get involved:

    • Volunteering:
      • Chore volunteers are generally 16 years or older. Younger volunteers around 12–16 years old can come work alongside an adult like a family member or friend. 
    • Come to Open House events: 
      • We have quarterly open houses for the public to come take tours at SAFE.
      • Our next open house is December 5th from 12–3pm. We will have crafts for sale, tours of the property to meet the horses and photos available for a $20 donation with our minis, Sunny and Shasta, dressed up for the holidays. Find out more about the Holiday Open House here!
    • Donations:
      • Throughout the year we have different fundraising events. We help horses with the public’s help.
      • Currently we have our Fall into Winter Hay drive and hope to raise $40,000 to cover the hay and grain needs for our herd of horses for the year. You can find this on our public Facebook page here or make a onetime donation on our website here!
      • Become a monthly sponsor of one of our horses: SAFEkeepers Club
      • Give a gift in someone’s name and we will send them a card letting them know about your gift. We do this for birthdays, anniversaries, holidays and in memory: Make a Gift Donation
    • SHARE about SAFE! 
        • Word of mouth is one of the best ways people can help the SAFE horses! Telling everyone who you can about the horses and the work being done to help them is a great way to help spread the word. Someone may not be able to adopt a horse, have just a little to donate or not able to come volunteer but if they tell 100 other people about SAFE … those 100 people may be able to adopt, donate, or volunteer. By telling others, they have helped SAFE 100x more than what they could do by themselves.

What do you feed horses? Do they eat hay?

They eat hay from Eastern Washington. We feed either Timothy or Orchard grass. Most of the horses get a little Alfalfa hay as well, but it is generally always mixed with the other two kinds. They all get vitamins and make sure it has selenium that our hay in Washington does not have enough of for them. For the general herd we feed something called CA Trace that has great vitamins for their hoof growth.

For older horses they get senior feed. Since they are older they can’t utilize all the nutrition from the hay. Senior feed is easier for them to digest and give them the nutrition they need as older horses. Some of the horses don’t have great teeth and can’t chew hay. They get all senior feed around 12–14 lbs per day. We don’t feed more than 4 lbs at a time so some of them get fed up to 6x a day! We add water to this as well to make it into a mash to reduce the chances that they could choke on the hard pellet feed.

Horses need to eat 1.5 to 2% of their body weight in hay or complete pellet feed like senior. Our average horses weigh around 800‑1000 lbs. This means on average we are feeding them 12- 15lbs of feed per day. They have clean water provided to them at all times and generally drink 5–10 gallons of water a day.

Do you help the horses by finding new homes for them?

Yes! All of our horses are available for adoption once they are healthy, had a chance to be seen by our veterinarian and farrier for updates and have been evaluated for their basic foundation training.

Horses that are not ridable, retired due to age, injury or behavior, are available as companion animals. They are matched with homes where they can be the herd mate to other horses the family owns and live out their happy retirements.

Riding horses are started under saddle and ridden at SAFE before becoming available for adoption. We want to make sure they are sound for riding and well behaved. Once they are doing well as riding horses, they meet potential adopters and if everyone gets along well they can go home with that adopter.

With all our horses we have a 30-day trial period. This allows the family to take the horse home and if for any reason it does not work out, they can return the horse to SAFE. We check in annually with the adopters to see how the alumni horses are doing and if they ever need our help again, SAFE is there. This allows us to know that all the horses that come into our herd have a lifetime of safety.

Belinda Jensen

A Seattle transplant, Belinda Jensen will tell you she grew up on the back of a horse! Belinda’s best friend growing up was her trusty horse, Choctaw, and they would venture through the hills of Orange County, California for hours. With the duties and obligations of “real life” she fell away from the horse world while pursuing her education and career. In 2009, Belinda realized she needed horses back in her life and found a small horse rescue called Cowgirl Spirit, where she eagerly volunteered to fill the void. She quickly rose to the ranks of Vice President for Cowgirl Spirit. Not long after, she fell in love with a rescue horse there and adopted him in 2010. The rescue organization retired in 2017 and Belinda will always be grateful for the time she served there, and the wonderful horses she was able to help. Belinda is excited for the opportunity to serve on the Board for SAFE and continue her passion for helping horses in need. 

Belinda lives in Carnation with her fiancée, Tom, as well as her horse Casanova, and two rescue dogs Cheyenne and Kai. In her spare time, she can be found at the barn with Casanova – her home away from home! 

Alumni Update: Remy

Alumni Update: Remy

Here are some great photos of Remy sent to us by his adopter, Jessica. Remy loves to play with other horses and teach them about toys. Here he is with his best friend, Soldier.

 

Jill at the Joel Conner Clinic

Jill at the Joel Conner Clinic

One of our volunteers, Sue Coulter, worked with Jill in the clinic a few weekends ago. This is what she had to say:

I was fortunate to work with Jill during two days of the groundwork portion of the Joel Conner Clinic, November 2021.  Jill is a young mare, very soft, and well trained in groundwork, so all in all a pleasure to handle. I was able to work on and improve the angle to achieve hind quarters, and also on getting more life in her responses.  Joel talked about being with her in all actions, and focusing on this really helped to improve our interaction, and also her expression.  I also felt like I achieved a good change in her responsiveness when asking her to move forward or back quickly, and stop on a dime, regardless of direction she was traveling.

There is always more to improve on. I look forward to working more with Jill on integrating the flag into our work. I also want to work more on the hind quarter, front quarter sequence while traveling forward on a line.  Happily, I have my homework until the next clinic. Thanks to SAFE for providing me the opportunity, and to Joel and Jill.”

Lisa Pascualy, Advisory Council Member

Lisa Pascualy has had some type of animal as a companion at pretty much every moment in her life. Right now, her small dog Oscar is her sidekick. Horses are a bigger commitment and one of the things she appreciates about SAFE is the opportunity to enjoy horses without the very big responsibility of actually owning and caring for one on a daily basis. Lisa started volunteering at SAFE in February 2018 as an afternoon Chore Shift member. Eventually she became a Shift Lead and was named Volunteer of the Month in February 2020. These days, you’ll see Lisa at the barn prepping grain baggies for the horses, and of course, serving as an Advisory Council Member. Lisa is an attorney, currently working in real estate management and investment. As a member of the Advisory Council, Lisa hopes her legal background and business experience can provide advice and counsel to SAFE when needed.

Daisy Gets a Massage

Daisy Gets a Massage

Recently we had someone donate a massage to Daisy and this is what she had to say:

At first, Daisy felt like she was tolerating me for a bit, but then something shifted and she relaxed into it. Par for course being I was totally new to her and she was eating lunch etc. After releasing her, I hung around so I could observe any movement while charting. She wandered off, seemed to think about it/digest experience and then wandered back inserting herself directly in front of me for some more. I complied. Then as I turned for the gate she blocked it and put her rear directly in my path.  I complied once again. Sweet and very smart girl. She catches on quickly. There is nothing like the feeling of making a connection of free will. I let her know how much I appreciated it by showering her with praise.

My goal for session with Daisy was just to listen and observe her body and story it was telling and see if we could enter into a trusting relationship where she let me assist in her body’s needs utilizing a traditional Swedish approach to massage. The tone of the first session is always building trust and a safe place for them to release. Since I’m still enrolled at NWSAM and this was under my case study requirement, I adhered to their traditional Swedish approach, but when finished I hope to fully incorporate the knowledge from my 30 yrs of Hawaiian Healing Arts past into my equine work. Always learning.

The premise of Lomilomi is taking something congested, stagnant etc and breaking it up into small pieces and remove toxicity from the body from a holistic standpoint. Lomi also has components that extend beyond physical and are addressed as energy, mental/emotional & spiritual. Perhaps closer to Eastern philosophy than Western structure & function. However, structure and function play an important role and a common language so that information gained can be shared, so it is important to be able to address both.”

Taking A Walk On The (not so wild) Side

Taking A Walk On The (not so wild) Side

When many imagine an active horse, they envision great feats of athleticism: horses cavorting around courses and launching themselves over jumps taller than children, horses dancing around arenas with grace and finesse, horses racing around barrels with speeds reaching mach 1. They might not picture a horse on a leisurely stroll, with no saddle, bridle, or rider, merely a human friend to walk side-by-side with. 

But this very image is the reality for some of our horses here at SAFE, who have been enjoying guided tours around the property. The idea was born from a need for our horses to stay active, especially as we head into the cold rainy season. It also provides an opportunity for interested volunteers to practice their leading and handling skills. 

Spearheading the program are Mac, Domino, and Cameron. It just happens that the three are gentlemen of a certain age, which makes them the ideal candidates for some gentle walking. Keeping horses, especially older ones, mobile by hand walking them helps ensure they retain muscle without putting them through strenuous exercise. It also provides a little break in the routine of their days, and the three do seem to enjoy their outings.

Cameron is quite the gentleman when it comes to being haltered, lowering his head and doing his very best to help guide his own nose into the halter. It’s pretty apparent that this is not his first (or second, or third..) rodeo. For an older guy, he is still quite forward at the walk, but this is really his only vice, if you can even call it that. There is a focused determination to his strides, and it really feels like he is taking it all in, but never in a nervous way, merely an interested one. On occasion he will try to dive for a bite of grass or a bit of dropped hay, and while this is quite a mischievous move, it’s one that speaks to how chipper he’s feeling. Gone is the thin shell of a horse who arrived, replaced with a robust (and much more filled-out) gelding. Occasionally, a stop on Cameron’s walks involves a trip to the round pen, where his blanket is removed and he is turned loose for a period. Within seconds of being released, he goes down for a roll, and occasionally even kicks up his heels, running and bucking around like a colt. But when it is time to come in, he is always easy to catch back up, and stands patiently as he is re-dressed in his blanket. The only time he ever shows impatience is when there is food waiting for him, but even then he merely expresses his impatience with a slight tug towards his dish — excuse me human, I believe my lunch is here. 

Domino is always waiting at the gate when you walk up, his velveteen head just begging for a pet. While he does make a slight beeline towards the barn as he comes down the hill (a man on a bit of a mission towards food), he is rather easily course corrected. He is a very pleasant walking companion, and will even allow you to lead him over the little pallet bridge we have set up in the outdoor arena. He definitely prefers a leisurely pace, but is a responsive participant, and is a friend to all who meet him. 

Mac’s leg is healing nicely, and certainly not preventing him from enjoying the (sometimes) beautiful outdoors. Because of his pull back risk, he is a staff only horse to lead, which means that Mac and I have spent a lot of time together walking alongside his buddy Domino. Mac is a wonderful walking companion, always very responsive to what I’m asking of him, and quite good at acting as a model for demonstrating. 

With fall in full force now, the weather lives in a state of constant unpredictability, but these three boys take it all in stride. Wind, rain, sun — they remain unfazed. They really are the very definition of a pleasure to have in class.

SAFE Holiday Cards are now available!

Front of card

This festive holiday card set features
SAFE horse Bowie
in the snow.

Bowie was rescued
in 2018 and lived at SAFE
for eight months before being
adopted into his forever home in 2019.

Each card set is $28, packed in a clear box (great for gifting) and includes fifteen cards, fifteen envelopes and FREE SHIPPING! 

With a folded size of 5″ x 7″, this card mails at standard first class postage.

Quantities are limited so act quickly! Cards will be available December 4th and will ship via USPS Priority Mail or via pickup from SAFE’s Redmond location.

For orders after Dec 4th, please allow 2 business days from your order for processing and then shipping via USPS Priority Mail or confirmed pickup availability.

Order at SAFE Holiday Cards

Inside of card

Back of card

Alumni Update: Pyrrah and Farley

Check out the photos sent to us by Pyrrah and Farley (now Zelda) adopters. Those are some fancy braids!

Lovable Freya

Lovable Freya

Freya is a sweet and lovable Morgan type mare, and for a gal in her 30’s, she is very healthy! When our vet got a first look at her teeth they were impressed! That means she still gets most of her nutrients from the hay we feed her and doesn’t need to live off of grain like a many senior horses. We do give her a little seniorfeed, just for the nutrients, but overall, this lady is on no medications. Freya takes life in stride, loves other horses and looks out for her buddies. When turned out with other horses she is very respectful if the other horse is the boss. She says “Ok, no biggie, I’ll move out of your way.”

Her gentle nature gave us the chance to give our volunteers the opportunity to learn how to properly lead and groom a horse. With Freya as the model, we know everyone will be safe and taken care of. At this point in her life, she wouldn’t be good for saddling and going on long rides, but we would be open if a family occasionally wanted to put a kid on her bareback and take short walks. Her ideal home could be someone looking for a horse to teach their kids the responsibility of caring for a horse or maybe someone who needs a companion pet that they can groom and love on. Freya loves attention and stands enjoying each moment of her scratches and massages.

Freya is worth her weight in gold for how gentle she is and her sweet nature. Here at SAFE we are more accustomed to horses with behavior issues due to neglect and mistreatment, so it has been a delight having a gentle, wise mare like Freya. She just goes with the flow. Trailering, vet vistis, farrier, coming into a stall after many years, that is no big deal for Freya! In her short time here she has already helped our volunteers expand their education and is a joy to be around. We are excited to find Freya the perfect home to live out her golden years.

Freya was recently interviewed by The Limelight Pet Project to be featured on Fox 13. Check out their full interview here:

Coco is Weaned

Coco is Weaned

Coco blew out the candles on her 6 month cake at the end of last month, ushering in a new era of her young adulthood. Coco: the baby, is still visible — those high-pitched whinnies and acrobatic feats that come especially easy to young things remain front and center — but there is also Coco: the pony, who has stood to have her feet trimmed and has been haltered to have her mane (no longer just a wisp) brushed. It is becoming increasingly apparent that while Coco will always be our baby, one day soon she will no longer be a baby. 

Right around the time of Coco’s 6‑month, Teddi’s Daycare opened its gates to its newest student. It was time for Coco to be weaned. 

The process was gradual. On a Tuesday afternoon, Sundae was temporarily relieved of her responsibilities as a mother, which is just a fancy way of saying that we haltered her and let her graze outside of the paddock. Coco was left ‘home alone’ with snacks (a pile of alfalfa) for only about 10 minutes, and still within eyesight of her mother. This experiment with independence went extremely well — when we brought Sundae back, Coco barely lifted her head from her meal. Wednesday we made official introductions between Coco and her neighbors, who had previously only been able to interact through the safety of the fence. Minnie was first up to shake hooves with Coco, and the two broke bread (again, just two piles of alfalfa) without much incident. Minnie showed that she is also still a young creature, performing several floppy displays of dominance in Coco’s general direction, but never with any mal intent. Then, it was Teddi’s turn to meet with Coco. 

If you were anticipating anything dramatic, snorts and kicks and stomps, then I’m afraid you will be disappointed. It was a wholly mellow affair — Teddi was drawn immediately in by an unexpected happy hour (that same alfalfa the kids were munching on), and Coco, given free reign of her next door neighbor’s place, was drawn by the thrill of exploration. It was actually quite a few minutes that passed before the two were even properly introduced, and that too was without incident. Coco, who had been accustomed to being a pushy young lady around her mother, was a quick study when it came to taking cues from both Teddi and Minnie — at the slightest tilt of their hindquarters or flattening of their ears, Coco zipped away. The three spent an hour together, and after a fair bit of zooming around their new expanded space (with a highlight being Coco and Minnie using Teddi as a kind of maypole, running circles around her), settled right into what would soon become their herd dynamic. 

The next day, Thursday, was when Coco officially flew the coop. Sundae was taken to her child-free paddock, and the panels that once separated Coco from her neighbors were removed. An ubershelter was created, giving all three enough room to comfortably be under cover, and Coco: the weanling, was born. 

Since then, the three have settled into an easy routine with each other. They all eat side-by-side like nesting dolls, big to smaller to smallest. Both Minnie and Teddi even allow Coco to scrounge for hay scraps, a true kindness. Coco and Minnie oftentimes kick up their heels together as mother hen Teddi observes from the sidelines, and sightings of Teddi grooming Coco have even been reported. All-in-all, everyone seems quite content with the new living situation, and in the days and weeks to come, we fully expect to see Teddi, Minnie, and Coco grow into a little family.

Montana Progress Report

Montana Progress Report

We have started the gentling process with Montana. He is friendly but gets very worried about hands coming near the top of his neck where we need to tie off the halter. He has obviously had interactions with people in his past that did not go well. He is very stuck in his feet so his fear is exhibited in a “bottled up” expression, ready to blow at any moment. He was good to be roped and not spooked or afraid to be caught by the rope. Surprisingly he is also easily led forward which considering hiw troubled as he is, is a little bright spot. We hope that he is going to make it and change quickly. 

It’s frustrating to see the problems left behind by poor halter starting in a horse like Montana. This has caused him to be very afraid and dangerous for people to be around him. As we help him free up his feet, he may even get a bit more expressive and appear to be a bit more troubled as he goes from stuck to unstuck. But once his feet are free and he knows he is not trapped and can move, his comfort with people will increase. We’re already seeing some small changes each time we work with him. 

We are appreciative of the outpouring of interest in this handsome fellow. SAFE is committed to helping Montana learn to be a good citizen and then helping him find his ideal home. It will take time but that is our responsibility. We will not send him “down the road” to be at risk of not making it. We promise that when he is ready to meet adopters, we will shout it from the roof tops, but until then, please consider adopting one of the horses that are ready now. They have a lot to offer, and we promise that the training they’ve received here at SAFE is worth far more than just a pretty face. 

Sweet Arigato

Sweet Arigato

What great changes we have seen in this young mare over the last weeks. She is easily haltered now and able to safely walk out of her paddock and into the arena to work. Changing eyes remains a challenge for her so it is very important we keep working to help her free up and move across the front without panicking as she changes eyes. 

Ari is now fully vaccinated and has had a number of very successful farrier trims. We still see a mild lameness in her right hind and we have to continue her gentling so we can have her fully evaluated by our vets in the coming months. Luckily the work only seems to improve her movement and she does not become sore or more uncomfortable after being worked. It’s still a mystery why she had the bulge on her hoof…it may be a very traumatic injury that resulted in a big abscess that took a long time to surface? The crack and bulge are moving down the hoof as new foot grows and the crack is now practically gone. There are still some visual differences in the size and shape of the coronet band on that right hind but overall, she appears fairly comfortable weighting it now. Once the vets can x‑ray and we can have a few more answers, we will feel a whole lot more secure about her future. She is a very sweet mare and has soulful expressions. She loves to cuddle and her eyes are soft and sweet when we are working with her. 

Veronica’s Training Continues

Veronica’s Training Continues

Our major goal for Veronica is to help her to be responsive instead of reactive. Over the next weeks we will work to get her feeling 100% confident with the saddle before anyone needs to ride her. She is working on relaxing into a one rein stop from the ground and doing so without a brace. She needs to accept people walking up to her and her feeling like she’s grandma’s horse rather than tiptoeing around her. She needs work on changing eyes in her front quarters. We are doing this by getting the flag transferred from one side to the other while she frees up her feet. We are bumping her up to the fence and will get her used to flags and ropes thrown over her while she stays calm and relaxed at the fence. We can also start standing up in the stirrup from the ground and throwing a leg over her while she is bumped up to the fence. Since she is more of a reactionary mare, we will help prepare her and only when she is comfortable we will put the first rides on her. There is no point rushing her to be a riding horse and having panic in her with a rider. She will have some trouble with a rider but we hope to prepare her so that it is a minimal as possible. 

Veronica still needs to look more to the person for support than running off in a panic. She needs to feel of the person and realize that no one is driving her to run. We can support her through this but she also needs us to allow her to find peace on her own. We’re working with Joel Conner on helping her change eyes by drawing her off the panels and making a full circle in front of the person, changing eyes, and heading back to the rail without panicking. This seemed to be a great way of helping her find more peace and relaxation. 

New Adventures for Barb

New Adventures for Barb

An update on Barb’s training progress from Kaya:

Barb has been gaining new experiences on the ground and in the saddle. We took a hand walk out on the trails and have been ground working on different parts of the property. While Barb initially has many opinions and doesn’t believe me that she can rely on me to look out for her, we eventually get to a place where she understands that she doesn’t have to be on guard all the time. Barb doesn’t surrender her leadership easily, but when she finally gets with me and settles in, she does huge releases of blowing air, sighing and relaxing and it’s very rewarding. Every time we work together, it takes less and less time for Barb to realize that she’s better off going with me rather than trying to fend for herself.

November Volunteer of the Month: Joan Yankis

November Volunteer of the Month: Joan Yankis

Joan started volunteering last September on the Saturday PM team. It wasn’t long before she reached out to me and asked if it would be helpful if instead of being on a regular schedule, she could just fill in on shorthanded shifts. What?! How could this be? It is every Volunteer Manager’s dream come true!! And so my dreams were answered and now Joan fills in at least 1–2 times a week. It is such a comfort knowing I have her to send a panicked text to when a team is struggling.

Knowing all of this, you might not be surprised to learn she is also a very kind person. Seeing her at the barn makes  my day. I am very thankful to have Joan and SAFE is lucky to have her dedication to not only our horses, but also to helping our volunteers. Find out a little more about Joan below.

How and when did you first get involved with horses?
I started riding horses when I was about 8 years old. I’ve always been fascinated by Dressage and bought a Thoroughbred to train in this sport in my early 20’s. I was able to train and compete in dressage for many years with a number of different horses and breeds even including a Lipizzan! (And yes, we did have a few ‘airs above the ground’).

Do you have one now you want to tell us about?
I don’t own a horse now, but enjoy going to SAFE to be around these magnificent animals.

Joan gives Daisy much appreciated scratches

What do you like most about volunteering with SAFE?
I love to see the transformation that takes place as the horses are able to get a ‘restart’ in life.

Do you have a favorite SAFE horse? If so, why?
It is hard to have a favorite horse at SAFE as they are all special and my heart goes out to each one.

What do you do when you are not horsing around with us?
I also manage a Commercial Real Estate Co. I enjoy bird watching and love to train my two Cavalier Spaniels in Rally.

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?
Thank goodness for a patient husband that puts up with all my animal activities!

Finding Peace Under Saddle for Nyx

Finding Peace Under Saddle for Nyx

As expected, we’ve discovered some trouble in Nyx as we’ve started transitioning him back into a riding horse. It appears he may have had some “liberty” type training in his past that has left him with some resentment toward humans. This is evident in working with him and the poor expressions that appear when asked to move freely. Our goals are to help him make a change and find immediate release for better expressions. Nyx also has issues changng eyes, so we are working on different ways to help him gain more comfort seeing things from both sides. Since these exercises are new to him, it is great opportunity for us to build a new foundation for riding. When riding, we are working on getting his braces to come all the way out and not allow him to tighten his neck against the rider. We are able to set him up to have him run himself into the halter so he gives to it rather than a rider pulling on him. We are also working to help him find better balance. When he can distribute more of his weight onto his hind quarters he will feel freedom in his feet and much of his resentment and any feeling of being trapped will go away and result in a peaceful and pleasant expression. 

Edward, Esme, and Jacob Updates

Edward, Esme, and Jacob Updates

We are moving at a fairly good pace with Edward despite his continued breathing issues. He is still very wary about people approaching him to be caught but each time he is quickly haltered and doesn’t have the opportunity to get away, he finds the event less and less stressful. Part of the problem with horses that have had some halter work in the past is that they have learned where the “outs” are from getting caught. They have been rewarded time and time again, for evasion when people have tried to halter them and failed. That is a learned behavior and a very hard foundation to change. 

At this time, I am building trust with Edward and he understands that my patience will outlast his maneuvers to get around the issue of getting caught. Sadly, the poor haltering in the past also taught him to pull a bit of a nasty expression and he has tried a few times to take control and move my feet. Luckily when he charged me, I was able to get a change that has carried over in the days that have followed. Simply put, I rewarded the smallest of tries, made the wrong thing difficult (not impossible) and the right thing easy. Horses naturally are going to move away and don’t try to aggressively come towards a person’s space unless they feel trapped and are given no other options. Those who have learned that pushing into a person makes person back off will try this as a way to get people to leave them alone. Edward is at a crossroads in his life, and we are thankful he made it to SAFE. Here can help him bring about the changes needed so he can have a safe and happier life with people. 

He still needs a lot of work. We are helping him search for the right things by making them always the easiest and rewarding his try. He is rewarded when his feet are free and he finds balance with all four feet reaching equally. He tends to push and become heavy on his inside shoulder. Once he finds balance he will be move more comfortably and won’t be heavy or stuck in his feet. Right now, we continue with clear short amounts of work that help to “get life”, energy and freedom in his feet. 

Health-wise, he is now at a great weight. He’s seen the farrier for trims on all four hooves. He’s also been vaccinated and is scheduled for a dental next month. We have introduced him to a nebulizer to administer medication to help with his breathing. Training for that has gone well and he has begun a course of twelve days of medication. If that improves his breathing, we will wean him off the prednisolone we’re currently giving him. If all goes well we will be able to lower the nebulizer treatments to a few times a week as maintenance, which he may or may not need for the rest of his life. 


Esme has been great to halter and was well prepared and well behaved for her first farrier visit. Since she has been easy to catch, she has not gotten as much attention in the groundwork as the other more difficult new intakes. Well that stops now! Time for this little one to get busy. She was poorly halter broke coming into SAFE and needs to relearn the foundations of haltering. Like Edward, she had learned through her previous experiences with people where her outs are and that she can run over the top of her handlers. Our first goal is for her to learn that she can move freely without pushing on the halter. Just plain better halter starting work. Learning to back and to freely bring her front across, being consistent with the freedom all four feet while backing and moving them equally will continue to help this cute little mare improve.

Esme has a very sweet personality, but can get a panicked expression since she was never taught to freely move around on the halter. The work we’ve done has already shown us a more relaxed and peaceful mare that should make changes quickly and move towards becoming a riding horse in the next few months. 


Overall Jacob has been a gentleman to work with and is very kind-hearted. He is not over reactive and has accepted the work very well. He has been vaccinated, wormed, seen the farrier (was prepared and had absolutely no issues picking up all four feet), and is scheduled for a dental next month. He is a big handsome dude horse and will move through the training program quickly. His main goals currently are to bring up his energy, and give him a big reward for his try. Overall he looks relatively sound but has some muscle atrophy along his left hind side. We will work to help him strengthen his hind quarters and if needed, have his soundness evaluated by our vets. These three horses were living in very poor conditions for many years so the process to full health and recovery will take time. We have a very good feeling he will make a great riding partner and we will give him all the support needed to make that a successful endeavour. 

Good Girl Darla

Good Girl Darla

Darla is a pleasure to get to know and very rewarding to work with so far. She has a huge heart and a ton of try. She was very shy and afraid coming into SAFE. Now after just a few weeks, she is more comfortable with haltering and has been walking nicely into the arena for her groundwork sessions. As her feet are getting freed up and her weight distributed onto her hinds, her expression softens and she is not in a panic. The volunteers have also noticed the changes in her while cleaning her paddock. She is no longer standing “on point” with her head high and eye intense on everyone or any noises around her. She is truly “letting down” and finding peace and relaxation in her life here at SAFE. 

This week, after a fair amount of preparation, we were able to have Joel Conner’s help saddling her. She accepted the saddle very well and was not panicked when wearing it around the round pen. We hope to continue to prepare her for a rider and put the first rides her at SAFE on during Joel’s visit next month. 

Darla has been wormed and seen our farrier, however she was only comfortable having her fronts trimmed at that time. She will be vaccinated in the coming weeks and scheduled for a dental before we put a snaffle in her mouth. 

Riding Rae

Riding Rae

Rae is coming up on her 3‑year-old birthday next week, November 1. How fast does time fly! She is just transitioning from being ridden by Joel to Terry as we come into the winter months. Over the past year, she has been worked each month in which Joel visited and ridden a max of 2–5 times each visit. Coming into winter, we will work her lightly her 2–3 days a week with some time off during the holidays. She made the transition to a new rider very easily. These days Rae is much easier to ride than she is to handle on the ground, which is kind of funny. It also demonstrates how skilled Joel is working with young horses under saddle, compared to how easy it is for those of us who are still learning to perfect this horsemanship can leave braces behind and not recognize them. Rae has a bright future and we are looking forward to confirming her has a riding horse and offering her for adoption in the months ahead.

 

George on the DL

George on the DL

George is a young and rambunctious gelding. From time to time, he thinks he should show off his smooth moves. Unfortunately, a few weeks ago, his less-than-stellar aerobatic performance ended with him slipping and totally biffing it into the dirt. He got up shook it off and looked no worse for the wear. But the next day it was clear he had really hurt himself. There was a small amount of heat and swelling in his right front fetlock area and he was off at the trot. He was put on stall rest and staff began cold hosing him twice a day. 

Our vets came out a few days later and confirmed out suspicions. Dr Eric Renner from Rainland Farm Equine Clinic explains:

George has tendonitis of his superficial digital flexor tendon on the right front leg. The injury is significant enough to benefit from platelet rich plasma (PRP) and Shock-Wave therapy to enhance healing and reduce the risk of re-injury. The injury is located along the back of the fetlock, which at times can result in constriction of the tendon due to the annular ligament that can require surgery. The surgical procedure involves cutting the annular ligament to release constriction of the tendon; similar to carpal canal in humans. Fortunately for George there does not appear to be significant enough constriction with this injury to warrant surgery.”

So starts the fun process of stall rest and rehab for a young four-year-old. Luckily, George is handling the confinement and rehab walks well, apart from a few, quickly managed antics. We will begin the PRP this week followed by a few rounds of Shock-Wave in the weeks to follow. The injury was caught early and we are hopeful for a full recovery. He will have around 6 months of stall rest and begin increased exercise in the spring of 2022. We hope to have him in shape and riding again by next summer at which time he will again be made available for adoption.

Kayla is Adopted!

Kayla is Adopted!

Kayla wasn’t at SAFE long before she had interested adopters coming to meet her. After only a few months in our training program, we were looking for a skilled rider who could support her and continue a lifelong journey. Kayla came to SAFE as a trade with Hooved Animal Rescue of Thurston County. She had been in foster with a trainer when sadly they suddenly passed away. The rescue didn’t have another foster for Kayla as she took an advanced rider. Since we were at full capacity, we worked out a trade and they found a home for one of our companions, Hazel. We knew we could offer the training program Kayla needed to find a forever home.

Fast forward a hand full of months later and Sam ended up being the perfect match. Once at home, Sam told us she settled in right away, enjoying some grass turnout, a little grooming session and some ground work. Now she even has taken a shining to another horse, Gilby. They get to be turn out buddies and love each other. We are so happy Sam came to SAFE and decided to adopt our beautiful Kayla.

Watching Miss Daisy

Watching Miss Daisy

Daisy’s continued elevated heart rate has us all pretty concerned. All her other vitals remain normal and she is acting happy and content. We’ve been monitoring how much water she drinks since this is something her previous owner said was always high. We will continue to work closely with our vets in caring for Daisy and are thankful for their support. She is a sweet gal who really enjoys brushing and spending time with people. 

Doolin is Adopted!

Doolin is Adopted!

We are so happy to announce Doolin, now named Finn, has been adopted by Shannon! After arriving to his new home Shannon texted “I think we are in love!!” That is what we love to hear! Once turned out in his new home, he strutted and zoomed around his coral all afternoon, but also impressed everyone with his sweet lovely manners. Including their mare who may have a crush on him, while the gelding was less than impressed, at least for now.

Doolin found himself at SAFE after a large animal control seizure of several ponies and a horse. They all suffered from overgrown hooves, lice, malnutrition, enormous worm loads, and lack of dental care, causing painful ulcerations in their mouths. Sadly as is the case with many AC seizures, it took another pony dying on the property to save them. Doolin arrived at SAFE as a stallion and we quickly got to work gentling him so we could geld him. Geldings get to live a happy life turned out with horse buddies. The surgery went well and after a few months of groundwork, Doolin’s manners were excellent.

On the exciting day Terry announced Doolin’s adoption she said “What a transformation! From screaming stallion to cuddly little dude! Love this guy and what SAFE’s program did for him. We need a certificate of graduation of this good equine citizen.” SAFE’s training program transformed Doolin’s life and now he lives happily ever after with a loving family and other horse friends where he will always know love, comfort and never be hungry again.

Alumni Update: Sampson

Check out these photos of Sampson! He’s looking good!

Scooter’s Story

Scooter’s Story

Scooter came to SAFE early in 2012 as part of a group of Arabian horses seized by Animal Control after terrible neglect. Scooter was one of two stallions in the group (the other being Oscar) and the information SAFE was given about these two in particular was horrifying. They were both 15 years old, and had been used in a breeding program. They were found locked in tiny pens, standing on concrete pads and isolated from other horses. All of the seized horses were thin and filthy. It was truly a tragic situation.

In 2012, SAFE was a much different organization than the one we are now. We saved and rehabbed plenty of horses and found good homes for them. But we didn’t have much of a training program, and when it came to challenging horses like Scooter and Oscar, we were often out of our depth. Plainly speaking, we didn’t know what to do with these two. They were untrained, unruly, difficult to handle, and rather intimidating to be around. All they really knew how to do is breed mares, which made them dangerous. And at age 15, we weren’t sure that gelding them would change their behavior much if at all. We did not have a lot of experience with horses like these, and we were afraid that someone could get hurt by one of them. I have to admit that we considered humane euthanasia as a possible solution to this problem.

SPOILER ALERT: We didn’t euthanize either of these horses.

With the help of Dr Hannah Mueller, who took them in at her clinic and worked with them before and after their gelding surgeries, both Scooter and Oscar had their lives transformed for the better. Oscar was the easier of the too, and was successfully started under saddle by dressage trainer Andrea Lucianna and adopted some time later. These days he’s retired from riding, but still living his best life as a gelding with his adopter Vickie and her other horses.

Scooter proved to be much more of a challenge. Even as a gelding, his difficult behavior persisted, and he wasn’t completely sound. His lack of socialization during his life as a breeding stallion made it difficult for him to behave around other horses, so we weren’t sure we could even place him as a companion horse.

That’s when Lorinda entered the picture. She was introduced to SAFE and Scooter by someone who knew that she had lots of experience training horses, especially difficult and challenging ones. When she met Scooter, he reminded her of another stallion she’d known, and the two seemed to make an immediate connection. Lorinda was up for a challenge, and as we got to know her better, it was clear that she had the ability to help this horse, and a good plan in place to help him through his issues. So Scooter was adopted, renamed Pistol, and his new life began.

Over the nine years that Lorinda and Pistol were together, we got amazing updates on his progress. As his testosterone ebbed, he became easier to handle and Lorinda was riding him successfully within months of his adoption. Later we were treated to photos of him happily being ridden bareback, and being led around by small children. In the herd, he was the low man on the totem pole, so he got along great with other horses. As he got healthier and fitter, his resemblance to his famous sire Padron become more obvious. And the relaxation and happiness in his eyes were unmistakable.

Several weeks ago, we received the sad news from Lorinda that Pistol was gone. He’d broken his shoulder while playing in his field and had to be humanely euthanized. It’s devastating when a horse leaves this world too soon, but knowing that he had nine years in which he was cared for and respected and loved eases the hurt a little. SAFE will always be grateful to Lorinda for taking him in and taking him on and giving him that gift. She shared these beautiful photos taken not long before Pistol passed away, and at age 25, he was still a very handsome and vibrant horse.

Coco is Six Months Old!

Coco is Six Months Old!

Can you believe Coco is already 6 months old? It seems like it was just yesterday when we found out our little 25 year old mare, Sundae, wasn’t just a little round, she was pregnant! That little squirt, Coco has been an independent lady from day one, kicking up her heels at her mom and running anywhere her long pony legs could take her. She spent the summer enjoying lush green pastures and sunshine with her mother. Coco loves friends and looked forward to any neighboring horse who was turned out on grass next to her, greeting them as they arrived and running over and calling to them as they left.

Over the last month Bonnie has been working with Coco and here’s what she had to say:

I have been helping Terry with gentling Coco and getting her accustomed to being touched, groomed, and haltered. She’s a very independent little gal, but very sweet and very brave. With some of her new life experiences, it just takes a couple tries before she realizes that everything is fine and it’s actually rather nice to be brushed, for example. She has been an absolute delight from the day she was born, and even as she gets bigger, she is still a complete joy to be around. 

In preparation for Coco eventually being weaned, her mother and her were moved next to Teddi and another one year old pony, Minnie, so they could get to know each other through the fence. It has been decided that Teddi will be the Auntie for these youngins, teaching them manners and giving them comfort as they grow up on the farm. We still can’t believe Coco grew up this fast. Take a peek at the video below to see her sprout up over the last few months.

Photos by Kristina Oden

Alumni Update: Tabitha (Willa)

Alumni Update: Tabitha (Willa)

We recently received an update from Tabitha’s (now known as Willa) adopter, who tells us that Willa is doing great! She recently lost her old companion, and in the interim while her adopter looks for a new friend for her, has been handling being an only horse very well — it perhaps doesn’t hurt that she has been receiving a lot of attention and care from the neighbors, not to mention treats!

We also asked her adopter a handful of questions about Willa, and here’s what she had to say!

What is your horse’s favorite treat?
Pears!

What is your horse’s most winning characteristic?
Sweet sassiness

What does your horse like best about YOU?
I let her be her brave, curious, big-feeling self!

Minnie: Smart AND cute

Minnie: Smart AND cute

Minnie is growing up to be a fantastic, smart little pony! Stunning, too! Minnie and SAFE volunteer, Lexee, participated in the Groundwork session of the most recent Joel Conner clinic and Minnie was a rock star! She was soft and easy going in a large class of other horses. She stayed attentive to Lexee and made great progress in working with the flag and learning to be treated with fly spray. She’s only one year old and she has a lot left to learn (obviously!) but with her sweet demeanor, she will make someone a great partner one day. Since the clinic, Lexee has continued to work with her with the flag. The two have graduated to working in the round pen, and Minnie is learning to feel Lexee’s cues from a longer distance away. In her second session, Minnie responded as if she’d been doing it for weeks. She’s very smart and progressing very well. And she’s cute. The full package!

Sienna, the Conundrum

Sienna, the Conundrum

Sienna is one of the safest horses we have for groundwork, but right now, she’s one of the most dangerous to ride. In groundwork, she is soft and willing, and pretty enjoyable to work with. But when being ridden—especially if she gets tight or scared—she can start bucking. Sienna is bothered by things touching her sides, like the stirrups or the cinch. She gets scared, and then tries to evade what she fears by bucking. Terry continues to chip away at Sienna’s trouble to help her excavate her issues and get more comfortable with being touched on her sides. She’s also working with Sienna to have freedom while backing up, especially when backing in an arc, something that has been a challenge for this mare in the past.

To rule out a medical reason for her hind and cinch area sensitivity, we sent Sienna to the vet hospital for an exam to check for ulcers. The results of the scope were negative, so we’re glad to know that she isn’t experiencing pain. But her sensitivity remains a behavioral challenge that we want to overcome. Sienna remains a puzzle, but she’s such a nice mare, we don’t completely mind taking the time to figure her out.

Alumni Update: Banner

Alumni Update: Banner

We recently received an update from Banner’s adopter, who tells us that Banner has been doing great! Back in fall of 2020, Banner was diagnosed with a mild case of equine odontoclastic tooth resorption and hypercementosis (EOTRH), but his adopter tells us that there has been no apparent progression of this condition. She also says that he has put on some weight, and is looking good! The attached pictures show that very well, although his adopter tells us that it is quite difficult to get a still photo of Banner, as he is always coming up for head rubs and to check for grain.

We also asked his adopter some questions about Banner, and here’s what she had to say:

What is your horse’s favorite treat?
Sugar cubes

What is your horse’s most winning characteristic?
His demanding nicker when I’m late to provide breakfast

What does your horse like best about YOU?
That I provide a constant food source!

Alumni Update: Roscoe

Alumni Update: Roscoe

We recently received an update from Roscoe’s adopter, who tells us that Roscoe is doing wonderfully! She says that he improves with every ride, and that she couldn’t ask for a better horse. The pair recently took a trip to Bolender Horse Park, where they conquered such obstacles as multi-level platforms and other unique trail challenges.

We also asked his adopter a handful of questions about Roscoe, and here’s what she had to say:

What is your horse’s favorite treat?
All things! lol Soft peppermints are always a hit

What is your horse’s most winning characteristic?
His easy-going super awesome personality.

What does your horse like best about YOU?
Hopefully that I’m learning to be humble and I work hard to get it right for his sake and well being.

A Sad Goodbye

A Sad Goodbye

We are so sad to tell you that we lost Merry to colic yesterday. 

Late Wednesday morning, Lily noticed that things were not right with Merry. She didn’t finish her breakfast, and was acting oddly, standing with her head down, pawing at the ground. Her vitals and gut sounds were normal, but her behavior pointed toward colic. She was given a dose of Banamine around noon per our vet’s instructions, and Lily, Kaya, and others spent most of the rest of the day hand walking her in 15 minute intervals, then turning her out to rest. Each time she was turned loose, she would lie down, usually with a small attempt to roll, or she’d stand and paw at the ground. Clearly something was not right.

Dr. Renner arrived later in the day. Merry was still a bit agitated so he gave her a light sedation, then performed a rectal exam and gave her some fluids. But again, there were no immediate signs that anything was wrong. He thought that perhaps we were seeing a viral thing, and instructed us to check her temp to see if she spiked a fever. In the meantime, we withheld her food, and set up the camera in her paddock to watch her overnight.

Merry continued to lie down and get up, and by about 9pm, her agitation level had reached the point where it was time to call the vet back out. When he arrived, Dr Renner gave her a small amount of sedation and a dose of Banamine, and she calmed down immediately. He then did an ultrasound to look for problems, and while he did notice that her gut motility was a bit slow, he saw no signs of inflammation or blockage. Her vitals remained normal; in fact, her heart rate, which is a good indicator of pain, was 28…completely normal. We put her in a stall and waited to see how she behaved when the sedation wore off…and as she became more alert, she began pawing again. It was baffling, and very worrying.

At this point, we decided to haul her to Rainland Farm Equine Vet Clinic so she could be on steady pain meds and be observed through the night. She loaded like a champ in the dark and rain, and we set off to the vet clinic. On arrival, she was fitted with a catheter, and set up in a stall with a lidocane pump and fluids. I held her for Dr Renner while he was setting the catheter, and she seemed okay…she was quiet, occasionally pushing her head into me… she seemed to like having her ears and forehead rubbed as I kept her calm as her neck was shaved and scrubbed for the needle and sutures. That took about 45 minutes, then we put her in the stall, hooked up her tubes, and I headed home.

In the early hours of the morning, Terry got the call from Dr Renner that we never want to get. Merry’s gut mobility had gotten much worse and she began to gas up around 3am. Dr Renner worked all through the night to help her with pain management and he did everything he could to help her get system back on track. The gas ultimately displaced her colon and at that point there were no other options except surgery. We had already agreed to do all that we could do for her medically but at the point surgery was the only option, we had to make the hard decision to end what would be only continued suffering. So at about 7am yesterday morning, Merry was let go.

Reasons for colics like this are difficult to find. Generally they’re caused by things like feed changes or grazing on grass after freezing temperatures but neither had happened in Merry’s situation. With the colder temperatures at night, decreased water intake can also be a reason for colic. But Merry’s bloodwork showed no sign of dehydration.

Merry did have a sensitive GI system and we had managed her diarrhea for a long time after her intake. But we had gotten that under control months ago and until now, we’d seen no signs of any more problems. So this comes as a terrible shock to all of us. 

Merry is the first horse we’ve had to say goodbye to this year, and it’s incredibly painful considering how young and promising she was. She will be missed terribly. This is the part of horse keeping that is hardest to deal with. Sometimes we just can’t save them. Rest in peace, Merry. You won’t be forgotten.

Thank you to everyone who worked so hard to help Merry. 💔

Mr Mac

Mr Mac

Mac’s leg wound is slowly healing, but still requires bandaging and medication. Groundwork is helping him not being so upset with little things. He’s a worrier, and tends to get a little nervous about things like being fly sprayed or gently hosed off. He is good for the farrier, but needs a slow approach for vaccinations. He still doesn’t like pressure on his poll so we’re working on that so that he’ll be more comfortable with haltering. He is also something of a comedian and makes funny faces and lip gestures. 

Mac demonstrates significant pull back (resistance) on the lead when he gets nervous and can flip backwards. This is what caused Mac’s injury. It’s a serious danger both for Mac and for any future rider. We’re working to help Mac find the mental tools he needs so that backing up in a panic is not his first response when he gets nervous. Mac’s future adopter will need to be able to help him move forward with free feet, which will help boost his confidence.

Montana Will Need Time

Montana Will Need Time

Montana has a long path ahead of him before he will be available for adoption. We don’t know if he has been haltered before, but given his current reluctance at being approached, we suspect he either hasn’t been haltered or had a less than optimal introduction to haltering. Right now, we’re estimating his age at 5 years but until he is gentled enough for a dental examination, we won’t be able to have his teeth examined by our vet for a better age determination. Volunteers have noticed that he keeps a respectful distance and moves away quietly as people move around cleaning or doing work in his paddock.

It’s likely to take 6 months to a year until Montana will be available for adoption.

Freya is Ready for Adoption!

Freya is Ready for Adoption!

Freya is a healthy mare with good teeth for her age. She has had a dental float, and behaved well for the farrier during her hoof trim. In August, she had her vaccinations and booster shots, and is now ready for adoption as a companion horse. Freya has been moved away from her old friend Nyx, and is now living in “mare row” during the day, near the paddocks of Lacey, Sienna, Pepper, and Veronica. Freya has “had words” with Lacey, so we think she may be a somewhat dominant mare. She would be likely a suitable companion for a gelding or the right mare. 

Joel Conner Clinic Report: Jill

Joel Conner Clinic Report: Jill

Kaya has been putting in a lot of work with Jill, and as a result, she is going beautifully under saddle! Here’s what Kaya had to say:

Jill is a joy to ride! She did so well in the clinic with all the other horses in the big arena and stayed calm and with me even during a downpour. Jill does take a little longer warm up time, but I realized that if I took more time to work with her on the ground, she was more immediately settled under saddle. After Jill settles into work, she focuses hard and has amazing try. We worked a lot on getting her front end freer and connected with my reins and this, combined with working on balance in other areas, led to a more consistent correct lead when going to the right. All in all, Jill got some great changes over the weekend and I’m so excited to continue working on these things and more! I can’t say enough good things about Jill. Her future adopter is going to be a very lucky person.

Getting to Know Darla

Getting to Know Darla

Darla is shy, so it takes a few minutes for her to get used to being approached. She can be led, but has a pull back (resistance) issue when on the lead. We’re doing basic groundwork training with her to help her feel free to move her feet. Darla was first introduced to having an oral syringe inserted into her mouth and eventually accepted her worming medication through the syringe. At this point, we expect it will take 6 months to a year of training to help Darla work through her troubles and issues. Her prior handling was most likely well-intentioned, but appears to have resulted in some braces. (Braces are a lack of unimpeded movement in any available direction that one sees in a tension-free and willing response from the horse.)

Jacob Moves Forward!

Jacob Moves Forward!

Jacob is such a sweet horse! He seems very comfortable with people and is very easy to halter and groom. Jacob even got his front feet trimmed by Joel and is starting to allow his back feet to be picked up. Jacob is also starting to understand a flag and sort out the difference between meaningful pressure and non-meaningful stimulus. Hopefully we will be able to walk to the round pen soon so we can continue his training in that space! 

Joel Conner Clinic Report: Pepper

Joel Conner Clinic Report: Pepper

During the September Joel Conner clinic, Pepper got a lot of work on her education! Lily L took Pepper in the groundwork class and had this to say about the experience:

I had the honor of working alongside Pepper at the most recent Joel clinic, which was a tremendous experience. Pepper is a wonderful partner with a lot of try. She is also a very intelligent mare, and certainly challenged me in a good way. 

She is well-versed in the basics, although struggles a bit with front quarters. We worked a lot over the weekend with driving her front across, as she is liable to not reach far enough, which resulted in a few collisions and near-misses (I did backbend away from her oncoming head matrix-style several times, for better or worse). Her build does not lend itself to being particularly well-balanced, so I feel that she struggles a bit more with executing the basics even when she is properly asked. Another indication of her lack of balance came when I asked her to stop in a bend, which she struggled to do comfortably. We also worked on getting her to move away from me, in both the unified circle but especially in hindquarters, where she had a tendency to drop her shoulder towards me. I found that firming up worked (as it always does!) to set the boundary that my space is my space. 

An exercise that Pepper did rather well at was backing circles, where she was very soft. Not very balanced, but soft. Overall, I was so very grateful to be granted the opportunity to work with such a willing partner (not to mention very cute!)

Here are more photos from Pepper’s sessions in the clinic. Joel put some rides on her, and she did quite well!

Alumni Update: Hickory (Listo)

Alumni Update: Hickory (Listo)

We recently received an update from Hickory’s (now known as Listo) adopter, who tells us that Listo is in good shape. He enjoyed some grass turnout this summer, but is now back on a dry lot for the fall and winter months. Sadly, Listo recently lost his two buddies, and while old friends can’t be replaced, new ones can be made. Listo’s adopter is currently searching for a new friend for him, but in the meantime he has been the recipient of lots of extra care and attention from his humans, and is lucky enough to be surrounded by lots of equine neighbors.

Listo’s adopter has expressed that the pair has had a lot of fun doing some groundwork exercises this year, with hooking on being a particular highlight. She says that it is a real treat to get to experience this with Listo, because he is a great horse who wants to please.

We also asked his adopter a handful of questions about Listo, and here’s what she had to say:

What is your horse’s favorite treat?
The classic.….We stick to the occasional carrot chunks.

What is your horse’s most winning characteristic?
He will also come to me when I tap my hand on my chest. It was taught to me as a chest pull. This works from just about any distance 30–300 feet.

What does your horse like best about YOU?
I am his person and he want to hang out with me. I guess that says he likes me. He chooses me.

Echo is Learning!

Echo is Learning!

Since her arrival at SAFE, Echo’s weight has dropped from 1,100 pounds to a much more height-appropriate 875 pounds. We soak her hay for 30 minutes to decrease sugars and are using hay that is suitable for easy keepers. The hay provides roughage and forage but is not as calorie packed as the orchard grass or alfalfa that other SAFE horses receive.

Echo has had several hoof trims by the farrier, handles fly spray more comfortably than initially, and is even getting some experience with trailer loading. We are working on conditioning ground work and bumping her up to a fence for mounting. She has no trouble being saddled and has had about seven rides. Echo has approximately 30 days of riding ahead of her to check soundness and to check for vices, and will then be started on trails. She has probably been a riding horse in the past but does not appear to have concentrated arena work. Arena work builds the tools, support, and relationship between rider and horse and is important in preparation for going out on the trail. Echo needs to learn to bend — a combination of the head, front end and hind end moving with a suppleness throughout the whole body. Other training objectives for Echo include getting her feet free, learning to change eyes, and not getting upset when a cinch or stirrup touches her side. She’s not a naughty horse, but she’s anxious, so working to get her relaxed and content with a rider on board is important. We estimate it will be another 4–6 weeks of training before she will be introduced as a riding horse.

Domino Makes Progress

Domino Makes Progress

Domino is a very healthy senior horse! He has good teeth and does well on grass and hay with the normal vitamin supplement used for SAFE horses. For paddock buddies, he does best paired with a submissive gelding. He forms a strong connection with mares, to the point of being herd bound. He demonstrates some separation anxiety but manages with the support of the person working with him. His trainer is working on getting him to stand tied for grooming. Domino is tender footed on gravel. He doesn’t need shoes, but does need his living space to be off gravel.

In his groundwork sessions, Domino has been making fantastic progress with his balance. When he came to SAFE, he couldn’t back up without sticking his front legs out straight and dragging them, almost laying on his belly, as he tried to move back. Now he’s able to lift his front feet and back several steps before reverting to his old ways. By helping him balance his hindquarters, move his front quarters over and set himself back to pivot on a hind foot, he’s been able to indirectly work on his back up. Backing in circles has also been helpful in slowly moving his feet in a way in which he can’t get bogged down and peg-legged. His trainer is proud of Domino’s progress in the September Joel Conner clinic. Domino is the sweetest old man who has a remarkably soft feel and tries so hard to please. He also loves cuddles and kisses after he does a good job.

Daisy on the Upswing

Daisy on the Upswing

Daisy, our one-eyed beauty, has gained weight since her arrival at SAFE. Her initial weight of 780 pounds has increased to 807 pounds. She’s looking quite a bit better these days, which is very nice to see.

Daisy gets nervous about being moved outside her paddock, but is comfortable and happy in her familiar surroundings. She had no problems handling her recent farrier trim, and similarly did well when receiving her vaccinations. Daisy’s heart rate remains elevated, but we currently have no diagnosis from the vet. Her other vitals are within normal range, she tested negative for equine Cushing’s Disease, and she is eating well. We monitor Daisy’s heart rate in both the morning and evening, tracking it on an ongoing basis.

This is a good point at which to mention that, if you are caring for a horse, it is important to know your horse’s normal heart rate as a baseline for watching for illnesses. SAFE recommends that a horse’s heart rate be taken every day for a week to record the normal heart rate and come up with a baseline. Heart rate is an important diagnostic measure of horse health.

Cameron’s Rehab Progress

Cameron’s Rehab Progress

Cameron has settled into SAFE well. We were initially concerned about Cameron’s colon function, and after several weeks of close monitoring now have a feel for his typical manure production. He gets an all-mash diet of Haystack and senior grain which he eats with gusto. His weight has increased from 945 pounds to 988 pounds, and he is slowly starting to fill out. 

Cameron saw the vet recently for a dental examination and float. Unsurprisingly, we discovered that he is missing a lot of teeth. He also has significant wave mouth, which means that he has a vertical misalignment of the molars when his jaws come together. This causes some of his molars to become longer than the adjacent ones which wears down the opposing teeth, sometimes to gum level. This results in a jaw which is less able to grind food and move it to the back of the mouth, which hampers his ability to process and digest the food as easily, leading to possible weight loss, colic, or choke. Dental work must be done very carefully so that the teeth aren’t filed down too much to make the horse sensitive while eating or expose the tooth pulp. Cameron’s teeth are in the early stage of EOTRH (equine odontoclastic tooth resorption and hypercementosis). This is an inflammatory process in which the roots of the incisors (and sometimes the canines) reabsorb or basically dissolve. Long story short: Cameron doesn’t have great teeth, and neglect has made them worse.

Because of the number of medical issues Cameron has, he will need a very special adopter who is experienced with senior horses. If such an adopter doesn’t come along, SAFE will ensure the best quality of life for Cameron. He is currently bright eyed and happy. He is hand walked once or twice daily. Cameron enjoys these strolls, likes attention, and is groomed multiple times during the week. Winter can change things a lot for a senior horse, so we will continue to closely monitor Cameron as the weather becomes more challenging.

Aubrey Update

Aubrey Update

Aubrey returned to SAFE without having had dental work in about 3 years. She has been seen by our vet and had much needed dental work to reduce the sharp points on her teeth. Aubrey’s ideal adoptive situation would be a home where there is a steady herd of retired horses. She does best with the 24/7 company of at least one other horse. From her race track years in confinement, she has developed some behaviors that help her deal with anxiety such as weaving, flipping her lips, and excessive water drinking. All of her anxiety behaviors are more exaggerated when she is enclosed in a stall, so the best conditions for her would include free access to go into and out of her shelter. Aubrey can be a bit dominant, so it would be best if other horses with her were somewhat submissive. Aubrey has ongoing thrush issues on her left side due to previous injuries. Her adopter will need to stay on top of preventive care for thrush.

Why Annual Equine Dental Care Matters: Annual dental care is important for horses so that the sharp points on teeth do not lead to painful ulcers in the horse’s mouth. It’s also important to have a vet look into a horse’s mouth on a yearly basis for other issues that may impact a horse’s ability to chew. This gives the vet an opportunity to look for any emerging health issues before they become serious.

Arigato’s Recovery Continues

Arigato’s Recovery Continues

Arigato came to SAFE with very overgrown hooves and some apparent lameness in her right hind. We have been working with her to gentle her enough to safely sedate her for X‑rays. She has a bulge about one inch below the coronet band. There is a possibility that this is a benign tumor known as a keratoma, but this will need to be confirmed through the X‑rays. The only way to treat a keratoma is by surgically removing a section of the outer hoof wall to access the keratoma. Depending on the size of the area sectioned off, it can take up to a year for the hoof hard layer to regrow. This would be a year on limited movement and stall rest. That length of confinement is particularly difficult for a horse to endure. A decision on whether or not it is in Arigato’s best interest to do the surgery is pending results of further diagnostics. In the meantime, she had her first farrier visit in early August to trim her hooves.

In the last month, Ari has made major steps in groundwork training. During the September Joel Conner clinic at SAFE, Terry spent about 45 minutes on the first day of the clinic convincing Ari that she could just get through the door to the arena. By the third day, Ari walked right into the arena to join the groundwork class. Another challenge that Arigato conquered was having the vet get up close to her. By taking the time needed to overcome Ari’s fears, the vet was able to give Ari’s first vaccinations and booster shots. Ari has had two visits from the farrier for hoof trims, and her lameness seems to have evened out. She has good days and bad days, but seems comfortable enough to continue the gentling work with her. We’re careful that working with her to improve her balance does not make her lameness worse.

Now What’s New with Lacey?

Now What’s New with Lacey?

Our sweet little problem child Lacey has been making some great progress as of late. In an effort to obtain some positive behavior changes, we’ve started her back on Regumate for hormone balance so that she doesn’t go into season. On Regumate, Lacey seems more content with her life, showing happy (forward) ears and more nickering to people and other horses. At the rate with which changes have been happening in her training, her trainer believes the Regumate is a significant help to Lacey. Her trainer has been pushing her to new acceptance through rope work, particularly to be less sensitive to things touching her hind quarters, and Lacey is now back to regular groundwork in the round pen. Lacey’s trainer said the she is continually surprised and pleased in each session with being able to pick up where Lacey left off in the previous session and progress further and further each time. Training objectives remain being able to break through Lacey’s reactive insecurities and turn those into responsive actions going forward.

Aunt Teddi

Aunt Teddi

There should come a time in every young horse’s life when the proverbial cord is cut, and access to their mother’s milk is stopped. It’s not as harsh as it sounds: after around 4 months, a foal needs more than just milk to meet its nutritional needs, and as long as they are eating hay and grain, milk just becomes that extra, unneeded slice of cake at the end of their meal: a nice treat, but no longer essential.

In order to wean a horse successfully, they must be separated from their mother (foals, much like human babies, are not easily reasoned with).

You may be thinking, that’s all well and good, but what does Teddi have to do with all that? Well, back when Minnie was weaned at the beginning of the year, it was decided that her first paddock-mate after Checkers, her mom, would be Teddi. And for good reason. A mother in her own right, Teddi’s resume includes years of first-hoof experience bringing up babies, and a patient (but no-nonsense) attitude that is well-suited for teaching young horses good manners. In short, she was the perfect choice for a transitional friend between mom and the big wide world of horses.

In the months she has spent with Minnie, Teddi has proven to be a perfect choice as an “auntie.” The two spent a lovely summer getting daily grass turnout together, and though Minnie’s youthful energy inspired a few romps, any extra running didn’t seem to be to Teddi’s detriment, for now, at the end of the season, Teddi is still quite sound (if you recall, Teddi’s ringbone makes it so that even moderate exercise can exacerbate her condition). Though she still demands to be first to eat (and is not shy to chase Minnie away from the first hay bag filled at feeding times), she is a fair and benevolent presence, and it is not uncommon to see the two munching happily side-by-side after the initial pecking order is established. When they recently moved paddocks, Teddi led the exploration of the new space with Minnie close in tow, and when Teddi decided it was time to christen the ground with a roll, Minnie immediately followed suit. When the weather is poor, the two huddle together beneath the shelter logic, with Minnie oftentimes tucked snugly beside her chestnut friend.

Because of how well Teddi has done with Minnie, it has been decided that she will also be Coco’s “auntie” once Coco is weaned. In preparation, Teddi and Minnie have moved to a paddock adjoining Sundae and Coco so that introductions can be made and the group can get used to living together. So far, things have been going swimmingly. Coco, curious as ever, was a fast friend to her new neighbors — one of whom is just her size! — and Teddi has expressed reciprocal curiosity towards who is soon to become her newest charge. Who knows, by next year, you may hear of Teddi opening up her own daycare. One thing is for sure, we are very grateful for our wise and maternal chestnut mare!

Barb is Ready for Adoption!

Barb is Ready for Adoption!

As Barb has matured, she’s started to look somewhat different from the other Fall City horses. She has longer legs and a more refined look, but remains a bit roly-poly. Kaya has been working with Barb to help her stay focused in larger spaces so that she can be ridden outside the round pen. Barb did great on a recent trail ride through the park adjacent to SAFE. Barb has had 5 months of light riding and is ready to be adopted. She is an athletic mare and seems to enjoy the work when under saddle. Her ideal adopter will be an advanced rider with experience training green horses. We believe Barb will be a fun ride for the right adopter.

Alumni Update: Annie

Alumni Update: Annie

We recently received an update from Annie’s adopter! Annie has entered into the world of Competitive Mounted Orienteering (CMO), which is best described as a mounted treasure hunt. Riders utilize compasses and maps while riding out on a specific course, hunting for hidden objective stations. Over the past season for CMO, Annie placed mostly 2nd and 3rd, really proving herself as a reliable trail horse. But seeking out concealed treasures isn’t the only new experience Annie has had recently — she also highlined overnight, and went for a ride on the beach! We also asked her adopter a handful of questions about Annie, and here’s what she had to say:

What is your horse’s favorite treat?
Carrots

What is your horse’s most winning characteristic?
Her sassy personality

What does your horse like best about YOU?
I think she likes that I’m patient with her

 

Alumni Update: Cosmo

Alumni Update: Cosmo

We recently received an update from Cosmo’s adopter. Cosmo, now known as Theo, is living his best retired life alongside his gelding friend. We also asked his adopter a handful of questions about this handsome boy, and here’s what she had to say:

What is your horse’s favorite treat?
He loves food…so pretty much anything!

What is your horse’s most winning characteristic?
He’s super sweet and loving.

What does your horse like best about YOU?
Probably that I bring him treats!

 

Alumni Update: Jewel

Alumni Update: Jewel

We recently received an update from Jewel’s adopter, who tells us that Jewel is quite the character and that she is very well loved! We had the pleasure of seeing Jewel at our September Joel Conner horsemanship clinic, which is always a treat. We also asked Jewel’s adopter a handful of questions about Jewel, and here’s what she had to say:

What is your horse’s favorite treat?
She loves all kinds of things but good ‘ol carrots are her go-to. And she eats them out of her food bin with her right leg up!!

What is your horse’s most winning characteristic?
She has the curiosity of a puppy.

What does your horse like best about YOU?
That I take her on trail rides.

 

 

Nyx’s Origins

Nyx’s Origins

Nyx’s freeze brand, a hallmark of all BLM horses, is not just pure ornamentation. It actually acts as a unique identifier, and grants a bit of a window into his background. It tells us that he was born in 2006, and that he came from a herd in Oregon. Further investigation tells us that he is from the Beatys Butte herd management area, a dry, desert landscape around 65 miles east of Lakeview, Oregon, rather close to the California and Nevada borders. Horses from this herd management area (HMA) are of varying size, ranging from 14–16 hands, and there are traces of everything from Spanish mustang to draft-type breeds in their gene pools, the latter of which would explain Nyx’s stature.

Meet Montana and Darla

Meet Montana and Darla

Say hello to our two newest arrivals, Darla and Montana! Darla is about 10 years old, and Montana is a 5 year old gelding. Both were surrendered to SAFE by their owner, an elderly man who suffered a stroke and could no longer care for them. His family was able to successfully rehome his other horses, but Darla and Montana are both untrained and were at a greater risk of falling into bad situations. So SAFE agreed to take them on so they can benefit from our horsemanship program.

Montana is a striking dark bay and white pinto, who was originally purchased as a yearling to be a riding horse, but they were unsuccessful at halter starting him. Now at 5, he is still quite unhandled, and very tentative about being approached. He will need a lot of patient work to be gentled and started under saddle, but fortunately he is quite good looking so we’ll be able to enjoy his beauty as we work with him.

Darla is a bit more gentle, and while it’s clear she’s still quite nervous about being touched, she can be caught. She even stood for a bit of light brushing upon arrival. We expect her to make an easier transition into a horse that enjoys the company of humans. We hope she will become a nice riding horse too.

Thank you to Jackie for driving the trailer, and Candi and Kaya for assisting with pickup!

Caramel is Adopted!

Caramel is Adopted!

Caramel is adopted! We have tears of joy with the news that Caramel’s foster mom, Trisha, said Caramel has a permanent home with her family! What an amazing gift this is for SAFE and Caramel. We know she will be forever loved, cared for and accepted for the smart, sensitive mare she is and will always be treated with love and respect.
Cara and her Fall City 40 sister, Hazel, have truly found their perfect match! We can’t wait to see the things these intelligent mares can accomplish with Trisha. All we can say is there a wave a peace knowing they are both in such a good place. Both these mares would have had a very difficult time adopting to the general public. Trisha is an angel for opening her heart and home to these two mares. You can see the feeling is mutual, they both love her as much as she loves them!
Lucca is Adopted!

Lucca is Adopted!

Lucca is adopted by our very own Jane Millar! Jane has been a huge part of SAFE for many, many years and we could not be more over the moon that she found Lucca. As the Volunteer Manager for over 3 years, most long-term volunteers remember her as the first face of SAFE. Jane transitioned from a pretty big part time volunteer job to wanting to have more free time, try a few different roles at SAFE and be part of the horsemanship program.

Jane adopted one of our alumni horses, Dyna, back in 2017. Dyna was boarded at a barn just across the park from SAFE called Mackey Creek. The two would often take a trail ride through Farrel McWhirter Park to SAFE, do a little loop and then back home. Occasionally you could hear your name called somewhere in the park and realize it was Jane riding Dyna and hollering a quick hello. This past Thanksgiving weekend, we were heartbroken to hear Dyna was sick and Jane had to make the horrible decision to help end Dyna’s suffering. She was devastated and our hearts were so sad for Jane’s immense loss. She loved Dyna and had provided her so much love and care during Dyna’s golden years.

When it came time for Jane to start considering another horse, SAFE didn’t have a horse that matched her needs. Jane continued her work at the barn each week, helping with various barn chores and working with a horse or two. Then one day, Jane accompanied Terry on a ferry ride to pick up Lucca and another horse, Aries, in Kingston. Jane did not know at the time this would be her future horse, but Terry was hopeful.

A few months later, Jane was asked to ride Lucca in the Joel Connor Clinic and that may have been love at first ride. Jane loved this mare’s temperament and was aware of the interest potential adopters had in Lucca. She had to act fast if she wanted her, so she spoke with her accountant and was able to make it work!

In early August, Lucca left SAFE with Jane riding her, accompanied by staff, volunteers and SAFE horses. We had a SAFE “adoption parade in the park” where Jane had ridden so many times with Dyna, to bring Lucca to her new home at Mackey Creek. It was a wonderful way to start Lucca’s new life with one of our favorite people, Jane. The two continue to do trail rides and Jane keeps us updated on how lucky she feels to have found Lucca. We think they are both really lucky.

Pippi and Aries are Adopted!

Pippi and Aries are Adopted!

Do you recognize the names Jane and Eric? They adopted Breve and Checkers back in July and now they’ve come back for two more horses, Aries and Pippi! That’s right, Jane and Eric now have their own tiny SAFE herd of four! Our very own Pippi, who was born to a rescue mare, Asha, at SAFE left for her new home just short of two weeks from her third birthday. When they decided to adopt Pippi they knew she’d need a sister and offered a beautiful retirement, light riding home for sweet Aries. So Aries, who was only at SAFE for about 4 months, headed home with her.

Alumni Update: Nadia

Leah, age 12, is still riding Nadia in 4H.  Last year was mostly pleasure riding since all events were cancelled, but this year they’ve been getting back into competition. She rides Nadia both English and Western for Saddle Seat, Hunt Seat, Dressage, Stock Seat, Bareback, and Western Gaming (which is Nadia’s favorite).  They’ve been doing qualifier events, and are signed up for the Thurston County Youth Fair events in July and will likely qualify for the WA State fair in Puyallup in September.

Pearl and Abby are Adopted!

Pearl and Abby are Adopted!

Pearl and Abby are adopted together! We found them a loving family with Diana and Adam. The two get to live out their days as best friends with two humans who adore them. Their gorgeous property is up north in Everson Washington. When Kaya, our Barn and Facilities Manager, dropped the two off, she was so excited to see their beautiful home in person. She jokingly told Diana we would be bringing another trailer of horses soon.

It is a bittersweet experience when our horses are adopted. We are ALWAYS very excited to see them head off into their new life, but we miss them! Which means we are very excited when adopters send us updates and photos and we hit the jackpot with updates on these two! Diana loves these mares so much, her Instagram is full of videos and photos of the two enjoying breakfast, or waiting for it, taking in the views, and just being stinking cute. The staff looks forward to seeing weekly, and sometimes daily, updates on these mares because we see the love they are surrounded with each day with Diana and Adam.

 

Artie is Adopted!

Artie is Adopted!

Artie is adopted and he lives with a SAFE Alumni pony, Ruckus! Jacquie was looking for a companion to live with Ruckus and turned to SAFE searching for a horse buddy.

As the Volunteer Manager, I like to ask volunteers if they have a favorite horse at SAFE. Of course, many reply with “I like them all! BUT if I had to choose, it would be…” There is usually a horse or two that stands out to each one of us. Artie was my standout horse and most recent favorites on the farm. Most people who spend a little time around SAFE talk about the transformations the horses go through. It’s a cool thing to witness a horse with an uncertain future arrive at SAFE fearing people and see them transform into a calm horse who now has a bright future. Spend some time in the barn and you will hear current volunteers telling brand new volunteers stories of how “That horse was so thin,” or “that horse was scared of everything” and “Wait until you see them now, they are a whole new horse.” Artie was one of those horses.

He was part of the Fall City 40 situation two years ago. Many of those horses were adopted out to qualified homes, but those who didn’t find homes, came at SAFE. Artie was still a stallion when he arrived, so he was separated from all other horses and only staff were allowed to clean his paddock. He was always very respectful, standing on the opposite end of his turnout, always calm, but keeping a watchful eye on you. Terry, our Operations Director, spent her time getting him to trust her and slowly introducing the halter and human touch. Artie took longer than most of our horses and Terry spent a lot of time closely working with him. It was a long time before we could walk him outside of his paddock. Artie was once a horse who stayed as far as he could from people and easily spooked and right before he left, he was a horse that walked right up to you to be haltered.

There are many reasons I love being part of SAFE, but one of my favorite reasons is they listen to the horses’ needs. Most of the time if a horse is young and healthy we start them on a path to becoming a riding horse. Most adopters are looking for a riding horse, so it makes sense to make them the most adoptable they can be. Occasionally along the way we learn that a particular horse is not suited for that path. After working with Artie for quite some time, the staff came to the conclusion the nicest thing to do for Artie was to offer him as a companion horse as he struggled with things coming down over him. How would he ever except a saddle and rider and how long would it take? We believe his time as a stallion he was constantly protecting his little herd of mares and babies from other stallions who would come down over him. As a healthy 8‑year-old horse, some might want to keep pushing him, but SAFE made the kindest choice for Artie to live his life free of the stress of something on top of him. This could make it harder to find him a home, but it was the best decision for him. So, you can imagine how overjoyed everyone was when we knew he was being adopted!

When Artie arrived at Jacquie’s place, she took a video of him being walked onto the property. All you can hear is his new buddy, Ruckus, calling repeatedly in the background. You can hear the excitement in Ruckus’ neigh and the giggles from Jacquie as she films his arrival. Shortly after we receive updates that Ruckus and Artie love each other, they are immediately playing, trotting around and insist on eating out of the same hay bag. Jacquie is in love with our handsome man and so is Ruckus.

Jacquie recently sent us this update: “It’s been a month since Artie arrived home and each day I’m more in love with this boy. Not only are him and Ruckus total buddies, but he is so smart and quick to learn. He has learned how to stand tied, be patient for things, get baths that make him feel good, wear blankets of all kinds and relax in his work. He is also learning his body has Dressage gears he didn’t know he was capable of. He is amazing to work with once he finds things are no big deal he moves forward with great confidence. He gets to take tours of the property and has quickly learned the garden rocks will not eat him. He is consistently giving me his eye, checking in and paying attention to what’s next. He likes to check out what we’re doing around the farm and he and Ruckus are both the gate greeters when you go over for a visit. He is an incredibly sweet boy with a wise and silly personality and I absolutely love him.”

The day Artie left to his new home, Terry posted on her Facebook page “You’ve taught me more in a year than any other horse. Our time comes to an end, but I celebrate every single accomplishment and the gravel you put in my guts! Artie, you will never be forgotten. My sweet boy, I will miss you. Thank you for trusting me. I love you.” Artie was very loved at SAFE and we are so happy we found a family who instantly loved him as much as we do.

Quincy is Adopted!

Quincy is Adopted!

Quincy is adopted! Annemarie turned to SAFE looking for a friend for her horses, Nick and Ernie. On a sunny day in August they headed to Quincy’s new home. Annemarie said he arrived without breaking a sweat and unloaded like he’s been doing it his whole life.

Quincy came to SAFE as part of a 7 pony seizure from Animal Control. The ponies had been living unhandled, hungry, with overgrown hooves, large worm loads and badly in need of dentals. Quincy was a stallion and at 15 years old, he was the hardest to get him to trust humans. He was difficult to catch and was tense when you touched him. Over time he got better, but he needed to find a home with an experienced handler.

We are delighted Annemarie has the skills to give him a loving, caring home. On a recent update she told us her horse, Ernie, had opened Quincy’s gate in the middle of the night and the three horses had their very first hangout together. Quincy was being kept separately while the three got to know each other slowly. She awoke to see all 3 horses hanging out and somewhere in the night Quincy, the little pony, had made it clear to Nick, a 1300 lb Friesian, that he was boss. Now the three get along perfectly. They are currently working on building Quincy a stall, but right now he likes to share, going back and forth between Ernie and Nick’s stall. Annemarie has been brushing him, spoiling him with apple treats, putting on a fly mask and says catching him has been a piece of cake! He fits in perfectly and we could not be happier for this little man and his new life.

Veronica is Saddled

Veronica is Saddled

Over the past several months, Veronica has made great progress in her ground work with volunteer Candi. She is a sensitive mare who is eager to learn and please. These changes allowed for another milestone as she experienced her first saddling with Joel Conner in the October clinic/colt starting.

Joel has years of experience working with challenging horses like Veronica. Even with preparation on the ground she was uncomfortable and explosive under saddle. For the next five days Veronica was saddled and unsaddled countless times consecutively and throughout the day.

Joel and Candi spent a lot of time freeing up her feet, working on her bracing on the right, bending and changing eyes. By the end of the fifth day, she was beginning to understand the presence of the saddle as she was standing still being unsaddled.

While this is a significant step for this beautiful mare, she has a very long way to go before she will ever experience a rider. She will continue to be saddled every time she works. Continuing to prepare her from the ground will give her the best opportunity for success in the future.

In the days after the clinic, Terry and Candi were able to work and saddle Veronica. She made great progress in the clinic and those changes carried over. We will continue to help her and saddle her during our groundwork sessions. Our goal is she will become more and more comfortable wearing it and eventually accept a rider.

Veronica is a diamond in the rough who is definitely beginning to shine!

October Volunteer of the Month: Melita Shpul

October Volunteer of the Month: Melita Shpul

Congratulations to Melita Shpul on Volunteer of the Month! Melita started volunteering on the Thursday PM shift in January 2020. Not long after, she also started helping us with our fecal samples, checking for eggs and sand so we can properly treat our horses. You can often find Melita, before her shift, sitting at the microscope in the the bathroom looking closely at horse manure. We are lucky to have her skills, hard work, dedication and her great sense of humor. Learn a little more about Melita below.

How and when did you first get involved with horses?
Horses have been my favorite animal since childhood and I was always looking for an opportunity to be with them. I graduated from the Agricultural University with a degree in animal engineering. While studying at the university, I spent a lot of time with horses at the hippodrome that was nearby.

What do you like most about volunteering with SAFE?
I was so happy when I found this place! First, it’s very cool to know that you are helping these beautiful animals to get a second chance. Secondly, I like physical activity and spending time outdoors. And finally I’m surrounded by many wonderful people.

Do you have a favorite SAFE horse? If so, why?
I couldn’t choose just one, they were all so nice and special! But Coco is the sweetest baby horse.

What do you do when you are not horsing around with us?
I like to spend time with my sons outdoors. I love to walk, hike and travel.

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 husband. He knows how much horses mean to me and absolutely supports all of my activities.

Merry Update

Merry Update

Merry’s diagnosis of left hind lameness with a sensitive proximal suspensory ligament means that SAFE must evaluate the course of action that offers her the best solution. Treatment of this chronic problem is most likely limited to a surgical procedure called a fasciotomy. This involves cutting the fibrous band of tissue wrapped around the suspensory ligament, which allows it to expand and relieves pressure on the ligament. Unfortunately, this surgery involves a long recovery time, meaning that Merry might need to spend as long as 12 months on stall rest. A lengthy period of confinement is very difficult for any horse, but especially so for a young, active horse such as Merry. Of additional concern is the fact that there is no guarantee that the surgery will successfully relieve the pain that Merry experiences. In the meantime, Merry is kept comfortable with Previcox for pain relief, which seems to work well as long as she doesn’t run or exert herself. She’s outdoors 24/7 with other horses nearby, and she seems to enjoy her leisurely lifestyle!

A Summer of Progress for Veronica

A Summer of Progress for Veronica

Veronica has progressed well in her training. Although she is still a bit shy, she is doing much better about getting caught and haltered, and she will now come up to the fence to be petted and told how pretty she is. Veronica stands patiently while tied and is well-behaved for bathing and being fly sprayed. Earlier in the summer, she started with walking around with a lightly cinched saddle to become accustomed to carrying it. When Joel visited in August, Veronica was saddled and unsaddled repeatedly to help her be comfortable with the saddle, and in September, she worked with Candi in Joel’s groundwork clinic. It will take ongoing groundwork to help Veronica reach the point where she will accept a rider, but we expect she will achieve that goal. 

Barb is a Riding Horse!

Barb is a Riding Horse!

Kaya has been working with Barb since she arrived at SAFE. Here is what Kaya had to say about her:

Barb is turning out to be an all star riding horse! This sweet, charismatic, opinionated, intellegent pony keeps surprising me every ride. Barb was one of the most difficult groundwork horses I had ever worked with, but she has really turned that all around. She is now riding well on a loose rein, moving through all transitions off of a feel and is starting to get better about steering using legs instead of relying on reins. Barb carries a soft feel beautifully at the walk and trot and has even started working on some leg yields! The next steps for Barb will be working more on a soft feel in the canter and through transitions. She will also start working with other volunteer riders soon so that she can get used to other people’s feel and seat. I’m so proud of this fun little lady and can’t wait to see what the future holds for her!”

 

 

safekeepers

 

Bandit’s Friends:

1. Jean-Claude A.

2. _____________________

3. _____________________

4. _____________________

5. _____________________

6. _____________________

7. _____________________

8. _____________________

9. _____________________

10._____________________

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