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: in foster 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. She currently lives in foster with Brandy in Monroe, WA.

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

SweetHearts of the Rodeo is Underway!

SweetHearts of the Rodeo is Underway!

The Heart of the Horse “SweetHearts of the Rodeo” campaign is underway! We’re going to raise $40,000 for the horses at SAFE in the most fun way possible!

Twenty one SAFE horses are competing to be named “Rodeo Queen”, “Rodeo King”, and “Rodeo Clown” for Heart of the Horse. Each horse has a Team. Help your favorite win by joining their team then get busy raising donations and awareness about SAFE and our lovely horses! It’s remarkably easy and you’ll earn points for your team by inviting friends to join! 

The horses from each category who raise the most money will be crowned at a special coronation ceremony and everyone on the team will be invited to attend!

Step 1: Go to https://p2p.onecause.com/sweethearts/ and join your favorite horse’s team!

Step 2: Create a Facebook fundraiser that automatically connects to your horse’s Team. Go to “Manage My Page” and follow the instructions to create your Facebook fundraiser!

Step 3: The sky’s the limit! You can share your campaign and ask friends to support SAFE because of what it means to you. You can also ask them to join your horse’s Team. The more people who know about your personal fundraiser, the more people will support the SAFE horses. 

Visit https://p2p.onecause.com/sweethearts/ to get started!!

Click here for a step-by-step guide to getting started!

George is a Carrot Man

George is a Carrot Man

Did you know dewormer is flavored? Apple, usually, though I’m not about to test that personally. Still, flavor or no, there are certain horses who prefer the tube not even enter their sight, thanks very much. George is one such fellow, who recoils at the merest brush of plastic against his lips. If he spoke english, we could enlighten him as to why proper deworming practices are so important, but alas, he cannot comprehend why it is vital to his continued health, only that he doesn’t want anything to do with a tube entering his mouth.

Enter, applesauce. Or carrot baby food, if apple sauce is not one’s preference. We take a clean syringe, filled with either substance, and use it to show horses who are not keen on getting dewormed that sometimes delicious substances can, in fact, be transported via tube.

George took extraordinarily well to the tube training. Once he realized the orange delight within (George is definitely a carrot man), he almost couldn’t get enough of it, and started actually seeking the tube out. To keep him tolerating and even enjoying the act of being dewormed, it will be important to sandwich his actual deworming sessions with the positive experience of getting a little carrot treat before and after. Not everything that comes out of a tube needs to be a big deal!

June Joel Connor Clinic Update: Tilt

June Joel Connor Clinic Update: Tilt

One of our horsemanship volunteers, Sue, had this to say about working Tilt in the most recent Groundwork Clinic with Tilt:

I was happy to have the opportunity to do groundwork with Tilt at the June 2022 Joel Conner Clinic.  Tilt is a young mare, one of the Fall City 40, who was adopted to a greathome, but sadly had to return to SAFE due to family circumstances. She had probably not done a lot of this work during her time away from us, and had some uncertainty, and braces. She was a bit stuck in front and frightened of the flag when we started.

Tilt is a very smart mare and very eager to please, and I feel like she made a lot of progress over 3 days.  As always, I had my own work to do. I really needed to focus on getting a quality hindquarter move, getting her to move her front end appropriately when I stepped in. We also worked hard on getting her more accustomed to the flag, when it is meaningful, and when it is background noise.  We were unsure about how she would tie, so we worked on this as well, moving her back and forth with the flag. By the end of this she was more comfortable with the flag, and more willing to stand quietly.

Tilt is a sweet mare with a great future ahead of her. I look forward to hearing about her progress! Thanks to Joel and Tilt for the education.”

Freya is Adopted!

Freya is Adopted!

It’s not everyday we get a horse like Freya, who is not only sweet, but also writes letters! When Manuela adopted Freya and picked up her up last month we had no idea Freya would be the one who would keep us up to date on how she was doing. I’m not sure why we were so surprised, Freya quickly was a favorite among many of the volunteers and staff, so we should have seen this coming. Here’s Freya’s letter below:

Heeeerrrrreee’s FREYA!
Freya here checking in. Soooooooooooooooooo, Getting here was not much fun and I was stuck in that sweatbox called a trailer for over an hour and 20 minutes. But maybe detoxing isn’t all bad for my complexion. A gal my age has to do all she can to look youthful, right?
Once we got to that place in the country, the lady who said she would like to be my Mom, put me in a large paddock with GRASS, lots and lots of grass! Imagine my joy. While I was noshing on green morsels of blessed grass, “Mom” rubbed me down with a fluffy towel. Not bad. Imagine my surprise when, suddenly, another horse was near my grass, but on the other side of the fence. A younger gal who called herself Mocha. She says it’s an alias for ‘Sunny’s Starlight’. Huh. I told her my name was Freya because I come from a long line of Norse Goddesses. Mocha said, “huh.”
After a couple of hours, “Mom” (not sure if I really want her yet as my Mom), came outside and brushed both of us thoroughly. That was rather nice and I enjoyed Mocha’s company.
Then it was dinner time. A little Orchard, a little Alfalfa, and still more grass. I am so happy.
Monday Update:
Got brushed, walked, fed, and spent the night next to Mocha. I head-butted “Mom” and she took it like a champ. I only heard a couple of juicy human Army words from her clenched jaw. Hahahaha.
Tuesday Update:
Repeat from Monday. I tried to head-butt, but Mom was quicker. I think I like her after all. That evening, Mocha and I played a game where Mocha blocked me from getting into the shelter where the hay is and I was supposed to stare her down. Mom got really grumpy after a couple of hours and I had to stay in the neighboring paddock all night. There was shelter, hay, and grass, of course, but no Mocha! We were NOT HAPPY and we definitely expressed our displeasure of being separated by a fence ALL NIGHT (well, about every two hours we took turns squealing to make sure Mom woke up and knew we were mad.)
Wednesday Update:
Mom looked a little hungover but I think she learned her lesson and put us back together. Now we are in the third paddock with two shelters. So now we can play musical shelters. We are happy, Mom is happy, she still ducks really fast.
Thursday Update:
Here we are, it’s Thursday. I must say, I am feeling my joints. I fell over this morning because I am so tired. Mom saw it and came running. But I come from a long line of Norse Goddesses and we are tough. I got up and shook it off. Nevertheless, Mom was standing in the paddock, phone in hand, ordering Golf course quality sand for me. She said it would help me lay down with more comfort. She also put me on Bute to help with the soreness until my personalized supplements get here. I say, I AM a Freya, I am a goddess, why do I have to wait for my supplements?? She worked on my feet this morning. Cleaned my hooves, massaged some special oil into them. Huh! Cool farm…cool Mom…I am going to adopt her as long as she keeps it up. Naah, just kidding, I really like her. She massaged my back too.
That’s all for now. I thought my staff at SAFE would enjoy hearing from me. I can send updates once in a while between my beauty treatments and grass intake.
Love you all.
FREYA

Freya is a lucky lady. Not only does Manuela help her send us updates, but she also gets to be best friends with Manuela’s Paso Fino mare, Mocha. We look forward to hearing more updates from Freya on her new wonderful life.

Barb, the Houdini

Barb, the Houdini

If you know horses, you know their proclivity for finding themselves in less than ideal situations. Barb, a mare too smart for her own good, recently got herself into one such scrape when she decided to liberate herself from her paddock by tunneling beneath her fence. It sounds quite impossible a feat, but the acrobatic feats horses are capable of really know no bounds. Unfortunately for Barb, her athletic prowess was not well rewarded — when we found her outside her paddock, munching away on grass, her back was hunched and she was behaving lethargically, a word that one would not typically use for Barb.

Worried, we called the vet. Dr. Lewis was quickly on the scene, where she had Barb move out a little — her range of motion was very limited, she was dragging her right hind at the trot, and generally reluctant to move. But there were no visible injuries, and no palpable heat or swelling present. Watching her move, Dr. Lewis considered the possibility that Barb was tying up, or experiencing a gas colic. She drew blood, and sedated Barb in order to intubate, where she gave Barb fluids and tried to get some of the grass up. Not a ton of grass came up, which was a good sign — if she were very gassy, more would have been expelled. Dr. Lewis also gave Barb some mineral oil to help settle any gas and cut some of the sugars from the grass. Then, it was rest and fluids for Barb as we waited on the bloodwork results to come in.

When they did, it was revealed she was not tying up, so there remained a mystery as to what was really going on. She remained quite lame, still unwilling to weight her hind, almost ‘skipping’ at the trot. At this update, Dr. Lewis had us start her on some bute.

At her next evaluation a day or so later, Dr. Lewis again watched her move out, palpated her leg, and tried to determine where the issue lay. Ultimately, she landed on it being a potential SI injury, and recommended continued stall rest and a course of muscle relaxers to keep her comfortable.

We had an recheck exam this week and she is trotting sound. For now, the rest has improved her enough to continue this as our treatment plan. She will start 15-minute hand walks twice a day and continue rechecks as needed in the weeks to come. Looking at a possible few months of stall rest and slow rehab.
We have also enlisted the help of Dr Rathbone. She came an did a very mild chiropractic adjustment on Barb last week. We will have her out again next week in hopes she may be able to do a little adjustment and possible acupuncture to aid in healing and comfort.
For a young horse so full of life, Barb is handling being on stall rest tremendously well. We check her daily to evaluate her for increased sensitivity and tenderness, and while the healing progress is slow, it does seem to be there. We will continue to work closely with our vets to determine the best next steps for further diagnosis and to keep her as comfortable as possible.

We can’t wait to get Barb back to feeling herself, yoga stretches and all

June Joel Connor Clinic Update: Pepper

June Joel Connor Clinic Update: Pepper

One of our volunteer riders, Sue, had this to say about riding Pepper in the most recent Joel Connor Clinic:

I was so excited to get to participate in the riding portion of the June, 2022 Joel Conner Clinic at SAFE. It was my first chance at this, and I was very fortunate to ride Pepper, who really made it all possible. She is a young mare, a bit green, but with a ton of try. As a long time hunter jumper rider, I came to this clinic very aware of aids that I would instinctively do incorrectly for this discipline, too much contact, too much leg, too much outside rein; the list goes on. I tried hard to listen and make no assumptions about what the correct aid was, just follow instructions.

Happily, Pepper was a champ at working through this with me. I know that I must have confused her at times, but she never got frustrated, just did her best to do as I asked.  She has a lovely trot and moves up and down from it nicely. I think we improved at riding a line at the walk and trot. We need to work on maintaining the line better at the lope, but I am confident that issue is more mine than hers, and will improve as I get a better feel for that transition.  I learned to execute hind quarters and front quarters from the saddle for the first time which was fun. She is happy to accept a soft feel, and I am learning what level of contact is appropriate there.  All in all, I came away thinking that the alternate riding disciplines are more alike than different, and have a bit more trust in my instincts.

I see a bright future for Pepper as a riding horse. She feels very safe and accepting, and definitely wants to please.  Thank you to Terry for the opportunity, to Joel for working through this with me, and of course to sweet Pepper.”

Chip and Dale Update

Chip and Dale Update

Some miles from SAFE, nestled on a little slice of paradise, Chip and Dale continue to thrive at their foster home. These two sweet boys spend their days cavorting around their dry lots, luxuriating (under careful supervision) on green grass, and being doted upon by foster mom Laura.

Dale has a mane that could rival any lion’s, a truly disproportionate amount of hair for his tiny frame. It is almost a necessity that it stay braided — you might lose the horse beneath all that hair.  Luckily, Laura has some very sweet young neighbors who she has enlisted to help with the care and keeping of his luscious locks.

Chip has made major strides in his hoof recovery; from casts to cushioned boots, the little guy dealt with a lot. But a major milestone was recently reached — Dr. King of Pilchuck, hoof specialist extraordinaire, determined that Chip had reached a point where he could be trimmed by a ‘normal’ farrier going forward. This is phenomenal news for Chip, who’s initial outlook was not hugely optimistic.

We are certainly very grateful for Laura’s continued care of these two littles, and we are always delighted to hear updates on how they are continuing to flourish.

Bliss is Adopted!

Bliss is Adopted!

A year and a half is the average time a horse spends with SAFE before being adopted. Bliss, our sweet, blind mare, was in our care for 5 weeks before being adopted to the absolute perfect family! Emily and her family had previously adopted SAFE alum, Beauty, but had sadly lost her in January this past year. We were delighted when the family wished to welcome another SAFE horse into their home and Bliss struck gold when they fell in love with her. Emily is not only a long-time horse owner, but also a veterinarian! She is exactly what this special needs mare needs and is already looking at treatment options to help Bliss as her uveitis continues to diminish her vision. They have an amazing property and even replaced some hot wire fencing to accommodate Bliss so now she can enjoy pasture time with her new buddy, Rocky.

When Bliss came to SAFE in early April, she was covered in terrible rain rot, badly in need of a farrier visit and her ribs were showing. After only 5 weeks at SAFE and a few with her adopter, she gained 142 pounds and looks amazing! Emily said “Bliss is an angel. She must have been loved once in her life because she does anything I ask. She ties, she’s great with kids, you can handle her feet, she doesn’t spook, she’s just awesome.” It’s not often we adopt out a horse so quickly, but when the perfect home appears, it’s a happily ever after for everyone.

Alumni Update: Phoenix, King and Sinatra

Alumni Update: Phoenix, King and Sinatra

SAFE friend and 3‑time adopter, Lauren, shared some recent photos of Phoenix, Sinatra and King.  The picture around the round pen looks like they are planning their next prank to play on the cattle!

Gabby Picks Up Her Feet!

Gabby Picks Up Her Feet!

Foster parent, Trisha, has made huge strides with SAFE’s first mule, Gabby! Here’s what she had to say:

Here are some Gabby videos of her learning to pick up her feet. Figuring out the right way to balance has been tricky for her, but she’s catching on. 

She is doing very well, continues to be fairly reactive at times and always needs a warm up at the beginning of working together, but she actively seeks out attention and training sessions. She also occasionally makes questionable life choices, like jumping over the wheelbarrow instead of waiting 10 seconds for me to finish scooping part of her paddock.”

We love seeing Trisha’s progress with Gabby and look forward to her updates! 

Alumni Update: Tasara

Alumni Update: Tasara

Tasara and wonderful adopter Sherri are both glad to see that the weather is getting warmer and less wet! Training and exercise are definitely on the calendar to start getting Tasara back into her slim and trim. From the pictures, you can see that both Sherri and Tasara make a perfect pair!

 

Alumni Update: Rhythm

Alumni Update: Rhythm

Here are some photos of Rhythm sent to us by Jimmy, taken in May.  Very handsome horse who is doing well and by the look on his face is very happy and curious!

Cosmo is in search of a new home

Cosmo is in search of a new home

Theo (Cosmo) is a SAFE alumni riding horse, in search of a new home! He is a super gentle, kind boy, who loves trail rides & has a lot of experience with children. He is a 19-year-old, 15.1hh Bay QH.
Theo has quite the background! He was shown in 4H & did well in western pleasure and showmanship. He has also competed in ETS (Equestrian Trail Sport) competitions. But ultimately, his true love is trail riding.
Theo has an inoperable stifle injury. He is sound at the walk/trot, but not at the canter. The injury does not require any maintenance, but he does need to be in a field, with another horse at least half of the day. If he stands too long, he will become stiff and sore. It is important his new owner takes it slow and easy.
He can be hesitant going into a trailer, but once in, he settles right down. He backs out nicely, but due to his injury, it’s best he goes out forward.
With a solid Horsemanship foundation–including good ground manners for the vet, the farrier, and trailering—Theo is ready to find his forever home! He is currently located in Issaquah WA.
Contact: Reach out to his current owner Rebecca to learn more about him and schedule a showing: reroper@yahoo.com or (206) 713‑0197.
Jewel’s Last Ride at SAFE

Jewel’s Last Ride at SAFE

Since Julie adopted Jewel in November 2017, the two have participated in every Joel Connor Clinic. That’s most likely about 20 clinics! But now it is time for Julie and Jewel’s next adventure in life as they move out of state. It was a bittersweet ending to the clinic as we will dearly miss seeing these two work together, but it gave us the chance to acknowledge the hard work and dedication that Julie has given to this beautiful mare. Here is a look at the end of the clinic where Terry presented her with the “Most Committed Adopter Certificate”. Of course there were tears from many and we’re excited to see who Julie with take with her when she moves.

Tanis’ First Joel Connor Clinic

Tanis’ First Joel Connor Clinic

Tanis participated in her first clinic last weekend and made some huge changes! She has an ingrained reaction to pull back, so our focus was moving forward freely. The extra challenges presented by the clinic (other people waving flags, big open space with lots of horses, audience of people) actually really helped us progress. At the beginning of the clinic, I pretty much had to work constantly to keep Tanis with me and comfortable and at the end, she was practically sleeping at the end of the line! A huge new step for Tanis also, was trailer loading! She had always been loaded using a chute, but after a little bit of work, Tanis was loading like a champ. (See video below)
After the clinic, Tanis was seen by the farrier and had all four feet trimmed for the first time! She was a little nervous about Daphne (our farrier), but when Daphne pet her on the cheek, she absolutely melted. I’ve never met a horse who loved face pets as much as Tanis! This gorgeous mare will make one stunning pasture pet for someone and her sweet personality will have everyone falling in love with her.

Alumni Update: Luna

Alumni Update: Luna

Beautiful Luna is now living in Northern California with her new person, Reegan.  They both are settling in together very well with one another and working hard, preparing for an upcoming dressage clinic.  Reegan and her mom, Doreen absolutely love her so much! She is a very special mare, so smart, works hard and picking up dressage very quickly.

Joel Connor Clinic: Echo

Joel Connor Clinic: Echo

Echo has gotten right back into the swing of things! After a couple initial restarting rides, Echo is now riding just like she was before she left. She participated in both the groundwork and the riding class in the recent Joel Conner clinic and did phenomenally! We were able to clear up some braces in her front end and really helped her quiet her mouth on the bit. Echo made huge strides in her soft feel work and has even started leg yielding. We still need to work on moving out in a timely manner, as she has a tendency to kick out when we insist that she lope and she could still use further help balancing her hindquarters and frontquarters.

Overall, we’re thrilled to have Echo back in the horsemanship program as she will start helping greener volunteers learn the horsemanship so that they may help other horses in the future!

The SAFE 2021 Annual Report is now available!

The SAFE 2021 Annual Report is now available!

The 2021 SAFE Annual Report has finally been completed!
In each of the last 10 years, SAFE has released an annual report to recognize our donors, share success stories, review our financials, and provide an overview of some of the year’s accomplishments and highlights. The 2021 Annual Report will take you back through Year Two of the pandemic and how this rescue organization fared with your support. We hope you enjoy it!
Two ways to view the Annual Report:
View Online: https://www.safehorses.org/3d-flip-book/2021-annual-report/
or
Alumni Update: Bubbles

Alumni Update: Bubbles

Bubbles, now named Bella, is doing awesome! She absolutely loves trail riding and really enjoys hanging out and horsing around with her brother rescues, Thunder and Jax.  Bella recently got a gold star on her annual vet exam!

 

Alumni Update: Teddi, Coco and Minnie

Alumni Update: Teddi, Coco and Minnie

Pure cuteness of “Aunt” Teddi, Coco and Minnie!  Such a wonderful success story!

All is well in Lakebay!! The weather is warming up and I imagine that feels good for them after all the rain!! They sure love being out in the pasture on the weekends!! The Littles are fun to watch and run around like crazy when they first get out there — FREEDOM 😄” ~Marti and John

June Volunteer of the Month: Andrea Leger!

June Volunteer of the Month: Andrea Leger!

Congratulations to our June Volunteer of the Month, Andrea Leger! Andrea has volunteered on both the Wednesday and Thursday PM shift for over a year and a half and also helps with grain baggies and Barn Assisting on Wednesday PM. She is always willing to jump in with help and we are extremely lucky she

How and when did you first get involved with horses? 

I took many years of riding lessons as a child (English and Western). By the time I got to high school, there weren’t enough hours in the day for both music studies (French horn) and horses, so I chose music. I don’t regret that, but I’m so happy to be spending time around horses and horse people again.

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

I’ve never had a horse of my own, but maybe someday! (Luckily I know where to get a good one…)

What do you like most about volunteering with SAFE? 

I have tremendous appreciation for all the staff members, who so kindly, patiently, and helpfully support the volunteers. My childhood horse experience feels so distant that I’m truly starting over from the beginning in my learning. The staff members graciously answer my endless stream of questions, and I learn something new every single day I’m here.

Aside from the staff, the amazing crew of volunteers, and the lovely horses, I enjoy driving Kermit around, and the quiet meditative task of sweeping the barn aisle.

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

Echo! What’s not to love? She’s just so sociable and positively gorgeous.

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

I have been a stay-at-home mom to my three awesome kiddos for thirteen years, and now I am getting started in freelance editing! I love helping people refine and improve their writing.

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 wonderful husband, Daniel, holds down the fort during the (steadily increasing) hours that I spend at SAFE each week. When I was pulling my hair out during the early months of the pandemic, Daniel helped me start looking for volunteer opportunities, so I have him to thank from the start! He’s never been a horse person, but on his first visit to SAFE he formed an instant bond with Merry. He’s coming around. 🙂

Ezra Gone Too Soon

Ezra Gone Too Soon

I am very, very sorry to have to tell you that we lost Ezra last Saturday. All seemed fine earlier when the breakfast mule came around, but about 30–40 minutes later, he was rolling on the ground, in major distress. A volunteer alerted our Barn Staff, Trudy, who called Lily who called me, and the moment I laid eyes on him, I knew we were dealing with an extremely severe colic.

Ezra had already thrashed and rolled in his paddock hard enough to give himself abrasions, and he was coated in mud and sweat. While Lily called the vet and Trudy ran back for the Banamine, I got his halter on and led him into the outdoor arena where at least the ground was softer. He continued to hurl himself down with force and roll from side to side over and over. Dr Lewis told us to give him a full dose of Banamine which would hopefully ease his pain within the next 30 minutes, while she hurried to SAFE from the vet call she was already on. The Banamine seemed to help a little, but he remained in distress. All we could do is try to keep him moving and keep him calm until the vet arrived.

Dr Lewis sedated him as soon as she got to SAFE, but it did little to ease his pain. She gave him a second dose of sedation and then tubed him, and advised us that he most likely had a twist or a strangulation in his small intestine. And it was clear that even with a large amount of painkillers on board, he was still in serious pain. There was nothing that could be done for him. We made the only decision we could, which was to let him go quickly. We walked him out to the grass near the arena, and Ezra laid down for the last time, his mouth full of grass and his pain finally gone.

Throughout this whole ordeal, which was absolutely the worst colic that I’ve ever witnessed, Ezra was a sweet brave boy who tried as hard as he could to do what we asked of him. I sincerely wish we could have had more time together, because he was a really good horse who seemed very happy to have landed at SAFE. Once again, we have to comfort ourselves by remembering that Ezra left this world from a good place where he knew food and friends and love and comfort. I just wish he could have been with us longer. I know a lot of you were very fond of him, and I am very sorry that he is gone.

Blazing New Trails

Blazing New Trails

One of our Volunteer Riders had this to say about Veronica:

You could say Ms. Veronica is “Walking on Sunshine” as a whole new world has opened up to her beyond the main gate of SAFE Harbor Stables. Just a few weeks ago Veronica and I prepared to make a trek to the great unknown. Well really it is just the trails the connect from SAFE to Farrel-McWhirter Farm Park, but it sounds more adventurous, right? We joined the seasoned group of riders, hand walkers and horses to see the new world. Ahh the sights and smells! Big trees, logs to step over, strange looking plants like ferns and ivy, bridges over creeks, cars whizzing by and kids playing in the park. All new experiences for this sensitive mare. A little anxious at first but as the walk continued, she became more relaxed and seem to enjoy herself.

Do you know what a bug catcher is? Veronica didn’t know until that day either. It is a person on a bicycle. As part of learning to be a solid trail horse she will need to know about obstacles that may occur without notice. We turned to face the bicyclist straight on with the rest of the horses and watched it go by. She was curious but remained calm.

As the days get warmer and hopefully there will be less rain, we hope to take more trail walks. There is even an arena just off the trail where we can practice groundwork.

I am pretty sure I can hear Veronica singing this tune as she has come so far over the last several months. She is definitely loved by everyone at SAFE.

Walking on sunshine Walking on sunshine

I feel alive, I feel the love, I feel the love that’s really real I feel alive, I feel the love, I feel the love that’s really real”

Walking on Sunshine by Katrina and The Waves

 

 

Alumni Update: Khianna (AKA Kiki)

Alumni Update: Khianna (AKA Kiki)

Khianna (AKA Kiki) has been spending her time hanging with her horse friends and new companions, miniature goats!  They are quite amused by the goats bouncing off the barn walls! Kiki’s adopter, Stanalee, reports that Kiki has had a lot of sarcoids (non-cancerous tumors) and had to have one removed from her leg and is doing well.  Stanalee spends a lot of time brushing her and just sitting out in the pasture watching her horses, be horses. Kiki is very bonded with her pasture mates and is happy and sassy!

A Great Horse is Gone

A Great Horse is Gone

It’s with a lot of sadness that we share that one of the great SAFE horses is gone. Earlier this week, after a severe colic, Bucky B Lucky was humanely euthanized. To his wonderful adopter Ruth, our deepest sympathy to you, and our most sincere thanks for the life that you gave him. Lorenzo has left us all far too soon, and we are so sorry for everyone’s loss. But especially yours, dear Ruth.

Bucky B Lucky’s story spans 17 years, three of which he spent at SAFE, and seven as a happily adopted SAFE alum. A grandson of the great Seattle Slew, Bucky B Lucky had a decent career as a racehorse, with a record of 3–4‑2 in 18 races at Emerald Downs. But at some point after his racing career was over — and like so many other ex-racers — an injured Bucky B Lucky was dumped in the kill pen at the Enumclaw Sales Pavilion and was on a fast track to the slaughterhouse.

He was saved by an angel named Jeannette Parrett, who purchased the 5 year old bay gelding and brought him to SAFE. Lucky required surgery to remove a bone chip, and that surgery was paid for by SAFE supporters. Lucky also caught the attention of KCTS‑9, who featured his story in a news report called From Stable to Table which you can see here: https://youtu.be/Zk-KqtBqTDw

This was the beginning of Bucky B Lucky’s career as an advocate for racehorses, a role he would occupy for the rest of his life. For people who didn’t already know about the horrors faced by former racehorses, Lucky’s story would touch thousands of hearts. His work to help Off The Track Thoroughbreds also included a feature at Emerald Downs called Where Are They Now? which you can also watch at https://youtu.be/JBkN3bt8fNU

Lucky’s first adoption failed, but in 2013, his friends at SAFE rescued him again and brought him back home. He spent another two years at SAFE until his perfect person arrived on the scene in the person of Ruth J, a trainer who was well known to us who was looking for a lower level dressage horse.

Ruth told us that she would never give up on Lucky, and she was as good as her word. Lucky, now known as Lorenzo, would blossom under Ruth’s care. There is no doubt that Lorenzo transformed into his very best self, knowing that Ruth would be there for him until the very end. Their partnership in and out of the show ring was simply beautiful, and will forever be regarded as one of the best adoptions that we ever took part in.

Ruth and Lorenzo had seven years together, with so many joyful accomplishments along the way. There was no adventure they didn’t take on together: on the trails, in the show ring, over fences, english or western, at home or away…their partnership was as good as it gets. It’s devastating to imagine a world without Lorenzo, but there is so much joy in remembering his life, his story, and all the hearts he touched. If you want to know more about this horse, his story is chronicled on the SAFE website at https://www.safehorses.org/project/bucky-b-lucky/ It’s well worth reading.

Lucky Lorenzo, you were a very good boy, and we will never ever forget you. Thank you for being you, and for letting us be part of your story. Rest in peace, sweet baby.

Frosting: Duckling Turned Swan

Frosting: Duckling Turned Swan

Take a look at our little “ugly duckling’s” transformation into a swan this spring! What a difference good food and care has made! She is turning into a gorgeous young mare — it’s almost hard to believe she’s the same horse as she was when she arrived! 

 

 

 

Working with Cramer

Working with Cramer

Lexee N, who has been spending time working with Cramer, had the following to say about her time with him:

Cramer is such a Handsome Man & is Making Progress! 

How can you not fall in love with that face? Cramer is a very sweet gentle giant and working with him has been an extreme pleasure.

I don’t often work with a sensitive horse like Cramer and I will not lie, it’s a big change for myself. He shows you how little you need to do to affect his movement and it’s quite incredible to have him learn how to feel for you and understand pressure in a way he hasn’t before. I’ve also been able to work with the rope and flag a lot more and am getting better at petting and working with each. Which is a plus for both him and me!

Changing eyes is arguably Cramer’s biggest issue. He would much rather me be on his left side at all times, and as he follows me around, he always puts me on his left. I’ve been just trying to have him adjust himself by backing up and putting myself in positions he is comfortable with me in, so as he approaches me hopefully he can do it from either eye. The other day we were so close, he at least brought his face straight with me instead of veering past me so I’m on his left only. And I will continue to try this so hopefully he won’t always try to block me as I go from one side to the other.

I’m hoping to start taking Cramer out to his grass turn out and practice leading so hopefully we can get ready to move him around the property and eventually to a new paddock. Big things are coming for this smart boy and I’m so excited!

Welcome Ezra and Sparky!

Welcome Ezra and Sparky!

Two new equines arrived at SAFE last week, both from Animal Control seizures. Welcome Ezra and Sparky!

Ezra is a very handsome grey 20 year old Arabian gelding. He can be haltered and led but has never been ridden. Ezra is a sweet guy who enjoys the finer things in life…like his haystack/senior mashes and getting those good scratches (beneath his mane is real sweet spot!). He basically has no grinding surface on his teeth, so like our other Arabian beau Cameron, Ezra is on a grain-only diet. He also has Cushing’s, which he is being treated for. He’s pretty thin, and his hooves are in rough shape, but it’s going to be a pleasure watching this regal man blossom.

SAFE’s first miniature donkey, “El Burro Esparkalo,” or Sparky for short, is an 11 year old gelding. He has a body condition score of 9, which is the highest on the scale, so he will be on a diet and exercise regime for the foreseeable future. His hooves are also very overgrown, and a previous founder left him with some significant rotation (11%), so we’ll also be working on getting him back on properly cared for feet. Sparky is a gentle and sweet soul who has captured the hearts of everyone who has met him. The other horses at SAFE are not quite sure about him, and as he is walked around the property, a lot of staring, snorting, and speeding away takes place in the paddocks as he passes. Eventually they will get used to seeing him, but for now, he causes quite a lot of excitement around the farm.

Here is a video of Sparky and Ezra arriving at SAFE:

Rest In Peace: SAFE Alum Banner

Rest In Peace: SAFE Alum Banner

It is with sad hearts that we report the passing of SAFE Alumni, Banner. Banner was a 24-year-old gelding who came to SAFE with another sweet boy, Buddy, who passed in September 2020, with Banner by his side.  On April 30th, his loving and caring adopter Casey, found Banner in extreme pain and was able to have her veterinarian out to Banner right away. Despite a dose of Banamine, his heart rate remained highly elevated and on further exam by Dr. Anne, a large tumor was as discovered on rectal exam.  Because Banner was so uncomfortable, the right decision was made to not make him keep fighting and was laid to rest.  Below is a statement from Casey, which describes Banner so well.

Banner was such a sweet old gentleman and a perfect companion for my other gelding. They followed each other everywhere. While one of them laid down to sleep, the other would stand watch. They would share the same tree for shade and huddle together in winter storms. Banner’s other big love in life was food. He nickered when he heard the grain being poured and gave grumpy ears if dinner was late. His last few hours today were spent grazing the bright green spring grass.”

Our thoughts go out to Casey, who loved Banner so much and provided him with the life he deserved.

Artie and Ruckus Return

Artie and Ruckus Return

Due to sudden life changes, Artie and Ruckus’ owner needed SAFE’s assistance in rehoming them. We commit a lifetime of safety to each and every horse who passes through our care and we picked them up this week.

Artie had many fans before leaving SAFE last summer, so many of the volunteers will be happy to see him peeking out his former shelter window, where he enjoyed flipping his hay bag out to enjoy dinner with a view. Ruckus, having been adopted in 2017, doesn’t have as many fans… YET! However, when everyone gets a peek at his small stature and adorable blue eyed face, his paddock will be sure to become one of the most visited.

The two are settling in nicely and seem to be the best of friends. When fed, they prefer to share one hay bag, even though there are two options. We look forward to reacquainting ourselves with these two cuties and beginning the search for their next lucky adopter.

Rest in Peace: SAFE Alumni Farley

Rest in Peace: SAFE Alumni Farley

The SAFE family is saddened to report that SAFE alumni Farley, passed away yesterday.  He had been struggling to get to his feet after napping in the sunshine and when assisted, wasn’t able to stand. Dr. Schroeder from Northwest Equine was able to come out and with his buddy and SAFE Alumni Pyrrha (Zelda), by his side, Farley was able to pass peacefully.  Zelda said her goodbyes and seems to be at peace, knowing that her buddy is no longer suffering.  Thank you to Farley’s adopter, Sandy, for giving Farley such a wonderful life and making sure that he was loved and well taken of.  Our thoughts and gratitude are with Sandy and her family.

Three’s Company Forever

Three’s Company Forever

Teddi, Minnie and Coco are adopted together! When the volunteers and staff heard the murmurings of a possibility that Auntie Teddi and her two littles might get adopted together, smiles and glee spread through the barn. The three friends have been adopted together to their new home in Kitsap County where they get to enjoy the good life in each other’s company. Their new family simply adores them, and while we miss them here at SAFE, we’re happy to know that they’ve landed in a great home where they can be together!

Alumni Update: Razin (Now Logan)

Alumni Update: Razin (Now Logan)

Razin, now Logan, recently had a dental check-up which revealed that he is actually younger than we thought! Wouldn’t we all want that kind of news?! It was determined that he appears to be closer to 2 years old than 5.  He has been doing regular ground work with his adopter Heather, which he really enjoys. But, in his free time, enjoys granola bars, iced oatmeal cookies and greeting his peeps at the back door. He definitely has a fan club with is herd mate Liam, dog friend Quinn and mini-donkeys.

GiveBIG is May 3–4th!

GiveBIG is May 3–4th!

Today kicks off GiveBIG!! This year, SAFE invites you to help your favorite Western Washington horse rescue raise needed funds to help unforgettable horses. Donate here.

Our theme for GiveBIG 2022 is “Let’s Not Forget.” Horses don’t end up at rescues because they’re bad or broken…they end up here because they’ve been forgotten. Once upon a time, these horses were someone’s partner…someone’s teacher…someone’s best friend. SAFE takes discarded horses and transforms them back into the horses they were always meant to be. We give them back their health and vitality, we teach them new skills, and we find them new homes that are meant to last. And even after they’ve been adopted, we don’t forget about them. We provide a community of support for our adopters, and act as a safety net to ensure that they never get forgotten again.

So let’s not forget that once upon a time, Cameron stood quietly while his owner cried into his mane. Let’s not forget that Mac bravely carried his person down trails and Freya taught kids how to ride. Let’s not forget that Lacey didn’t choose to be neglected and unwanted. Let’s not forget that Veronica never asked for more than food, friends, and comfort. None of these horses should be forgotten, and your support means that none of them will be. Please consider a donation today by clicking here.

 

May Volunteer of the Month: Caitlin Soden

May Volunteer of the Month: Caitlin Soden

Congratulations to our May Volunteer of the Month, Caitlin! Caitlin works a full time job and still manages to muster up the energy to spend her weekends volunteering. She even shows up early to help with feeding! The Sunday PM team is very lucky to have her at the helm.

How and when did you first get involved with horses?
Before I started volunteering at SAFE in 2019, I had SEEN one horse in my entire life (and I’m no spring chicken). I can’t say for sure what drew me to SAFE or to working with horses, but something did and I haven’t looked back.

Do you have one now you want to tell us about?
No, unfortunately not, but my husband and I are in the process of looking for some property to someday soon start a mini farm with chickens, goats, maybe a few pigs and a donkey, and definitely at least a couple of horses.

What do you like most about volunteering with SAFE?
I like so many things about volunteering with SAFE, but I think the thing I like most is how easy it is to learn something new every time I’m there — sometimes from staff and other volunteers, but mostly from the horses. It’s amazing how much I have learned about and from them in what, in the grand scheme of things, is a very short period of time. Horses teach you about life!

Do you have a favorite SAFE horse? If so, why?
They’re all lovely in their own unique ways, but I have a real soft spot for Sienna. Big and beautiful, Sienna has a kind heart, a playful spirit, and a good sense of humor. Every Sunday as I pull up to the back of the barn to park Kermit, she reaches down to touch the hood with her nose and nickers and snorts at me. I love that iron headed horse. I also have to give Domino a shout out because my brother, who passed away recently, visited the barn and had an instant connection with that silly old man. Like me, my brother had never been around horses despite being a life-long animal lover and it was amazing to see them connect.

What do you do when you are not horsing around with us?
I’m an environmental lawyer and I spend most of my time trying to conserve and protect our nation’s waters so we have safe water to drink and recreate in and so that fish and other wildlife that rely on aquatic habitats can survive and thrive.

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?
I have to give credit to my husband, Mikey, who is maybe a bit afraid of horses, but supports the work I do with SAFE, is always excited to hear how all the horses are doing — especially George — and (almost) always has dinner waiting for me on Sunday nights when I get home from my shift.

Otto’s Origins

Otto’s Origins

Otto arrived at SAFE the very definition of a ragamuffin, with a scruffy, mud-caked winter coat draped atop his thin frame. We looked forward to seeing what health would do for Otto. 

It brought out his personality, for starters. Even when on the mend from his tooth extraction, Otto remained a rambunctious and playful gelding. It also revealed some mysteries about his past.

During a vet visit, when Otto would be sedated to have his oral cavity repacked, we took the opportunity to microchip him (we try to coordinate microchipping with times when the horse is sedated for their comfort). Before chipping, we always scan to check that a chip does not already exist. Nine times out of ten, we find nothing. Otto was the exception. 

It was quite shocking when the chip reader scanned a number in Otto’s neck, even more shocking given that Cramer, the counterpart he arrived with, was not chipped. So there was a mystery afoot. 

As this was all happening, Otto had begun to shed his winter coat. His hair when clean was a light buckskin, which he was losing in great uneven swatches. But his undercoat was much darker, a caramel color, something akin to a perfectly toasted marshmallow. This shift in color was another unexpected surprise. 

And then, one afternoon, a patch on his neck drew attention – there were white hairs peeking through his patchy fuzz. “Could it be?” we asked, and it was:

A brand. Given by the BLM. Which explained where the microchip came from. With a pair of clippers, we further excavated the symbols that would give us an idea of who Otto was before he was Otto. 

We discovered he was from Nevada, from a herd management area called Red Rock, around 20 miles west of Las Vegas. With the assistance of the BLM and a very helpful woman who lives in the area and documents the wildlife there, we were able to obtain information about Otto’s past, as well as some photographs!

 

Born in March of 2019, Otto was rounded up in February 2020 as part of the Sacramento TIP challenge. This is the same time that Otto and Frosting came to know one another, as they were adopted together. Once thought to be siblings, we have since determined that the two were merely thought to be such due to their similar appearance and origins. 

At only three, Otto has already traveled more than some horses (or people, for that matter) do in their entire lives. But we are oh so glad that this little desert-born boy found his way to us. His past may still hold mysteries, but we are excited to be able to set up his future to be as clear and bright as possible. 

Alumni Update: Atticus

Alumni Update: Atticus

Atticus’s adopter Bernice says that he is doing very well at the age of 32.  Despite his age and mild arthritis in his hind, he still acts like a young 22-year-old.  He is currently shedding out as seen on his face, getting ready for some summer fun!

Trail Horse Nyx

Trail Horse Nyx

Nyx’s had his first trail ride with volunteer rider Lexee N! Here’s what she had to say about their experience:

On this Sunny Thursday (4/7/22) Nyx and 4 other SAFE horses went on a trail ride/walk. Nyx has gone on a couple of trail walks before but today was his first time with a rider and he did so well! He was mellow yet alert. Every time the path had an opening he would always turn his head to look down there to see if anything was coming, but he didn’t miss a beat walking forward and just continued on with his head low and supple.

There was a bunny that decided to run into the bush next to us, which scared me so also understandably him, too, however, he just sped up a few steps and returned to normal soon after.

Bikes are also scary. Totally valid. And we got lucky with some really kind bikers who stopped and talked with us so we could walk past safely. And although he had a rubber neck watching the bike as he walked past, he still continued a nice pace once we got around.

Nyx was so content, trails are clearly something he loves but I’m thinking he won’t be able to go alone, at least for now. He enjoyed the presence of the other 4 horses, but hopefully on the next rides we will change up positions so he can either lead or be at the end. Overall I’m so proud of this big guy and was impressed in the confidence of his steps and his head for our first ride. I look forward to more as the weather continues to get better for summer!

Working With Domino

Working With Domino

Sara H, who has spent some time with Domino recently, had the following to say about their time together:

I had the wonderful opportunity to work with Domino for three days during the last Joel Conner Clinic in November 2021. It was clear this distinguished gentleman has a few habits, particularly being heavy on the front end while backing up and wanting to cuddle up close with his handler. With generous coaching from Joel, we started seeing progress in Domino respecting my space and doing so with fewer signs of frustration. I’ve been able to work with him on groundwork manners twice a week for a couple of months now, and the changes are clear.

Domino is more understanding of what I ask of him, and his expression continues to soften with forward ears, a relaxed neck, and soft eyes. He is confident and gaining proficiency in yielding his hindquarters with ease and has made progress with his front quarters, but due to being heavy on his front, we still have a bit of challenge in connecting these movements smoothly and easily. The pieces are there and I’m confident that he’ll have this mastered soon. We’re also working on moving along the panels with a hindquarter yield to return to me and lifting his front legs while backing in circles. He’s also becoming more comfortable when pulled away from his BFF Mac for our sessions, and calms down much more quickly than he did in the beginning of our post-Clinic work. I am so looking forward to working with Domino again in the June 2022 Joel Conner Clinic at SAFE, and it’s obvious he’ll make a wonderful gentleman companion for some lucky family (and gelding friend, of course).

Darla Gets to Work

Darla Gets to Work

Kaya has the following to say about her time spent recently with Darla:

After struggling with her hoof injury for the last several months, Darla is sound and ready to get back to work! It seems she has used the time off to think about what she was working on before the injury. She’s less touchy about her hind end than when we first got her and quicker to relax and let down. 

Darla’s past has left her with braces in her body and nervous when energy is increased around her. It will take some time and care to help her free up her feet to feel unstuck and  comfortable when she feels pressure increase. We’ll be working her on building her strength and begin saddling her again in the weeks ahead. She had a few rides put on her last November and hope over the Spring we can begin riding her and offer her for adoption as a riding horse this summer.

Pretty much everyone agrees, Darla is a special lady. It is fascinating watching her break through her braces and let down. She has a ton of try and with time and patience, we have hope that she will make it as a riding horse.

Veronica Melts Candi

Veronica Melts Candi

A sweet note and reminder how special horses are in our lives. Candi recently had this to say about her relationship with Veronica: “It has been two weeks since I have been able to be with Veronica. Today she ran to me when she saw me at the gate of her turn out. Being with her made all of the crazy, chaotic, emotional days of the past two weeks drift away.” 

Tilt and Valentine Looking for a New Home

Tilt and Valentine Looking for a New Home

Tilt and Valentine are looking for a new home in a hurry! They are SAFE alumni and their adopter regretfully must rehome them, hopefully together. Please share if you know someone looking for two very sweet pasture pals!
Tilt is a bay 5‑year-old 14hh Yakima Reservation mare from the Fall City 40 herd that SAFE took in January of 2020. Tilt’s special for lots of reasons, but the reason for her name is probably the most obvious–her hips have a tilt that will prevent her from being a riding horse. But she doesn’t seem to be in any pain, and not only is she a great companion pony, but she’s turned into a bit of a lovebug, too! In a herd situation, she’s the boss, which her buddy Valentine doesn’t mind at all.
Valentine is a chestnut 17-year-old 15hh grade mare who came to SAFE in January 2021 with three little pony pals, so we know she’s good with smaller critters. They all suffered from malnutrition, lice, overgrown hooves, enormous worm loads, and ulcerations in their mouths from lack of dental care. Valentine also arrived with an eye laceration, and she won the hearts of our volunteers right away with her kind and calm demeanor while being treated.
Both Tilt and Valentine have blossomed with their adopter in the past year, as you can see from the photos, and ideally they would be adopted together for a nominal adoption fee. They are pasture sound, in good health, and currently located in Snohomish, WA. SAFE will be handling adoption applications and references will be requested.
Update: Daisy at Foster

Update: Daisy at Foster

From Daisy’s loving foster mom Shellie: 

Daisy is doing wonderfully! She had a hoof trim on April 1, which went very well, not sore afterward, no boots needed! She’s shedding like a mad-woman with a beautiful caramel coat now starting to peak out on her shoulders. Working on leading her and Laurence together inside the paddocks to prepare for getting them out to the pastures (what a couple of drama-queens). 

She’s holding her weight well finishing a solid 6–8 lbs/day of Triple Crown Senior plus Alfalfa leaves. I’ve been experimenting with adding different Alfalfa hay chops (easy to eat) — the Haystack mix with molasses, and two others from Rocking E — one with molasses and one without, that are partially fermented ‘for ease of digestion.’ These are both moist, so easier for Daisy to eat. Daisy and Laurence both seem to like these.”

Thank you, Shellie, for your continued amazing care of this very special girl!

Welcome, Bliss!

Welcome, Bliss!

Introducing SAFE’s newest addition: Bliss! 

Bliss came to us from Port Orchard after a member of her owner’s family dispersed a group of 20 horses from his property in Sequim. There was a question as to whether or not Bliss was pregnant (she is not), and though he’d had horses in the past, her owner was not feeling capable of being able to take adequate care of her.

She is a truly lovely mare, both inside and out. Bliss, estimated to be in her teens (we will get a more concrete idea at her dental visit), is blind — or at least, vision impaired to an advanced degree. Our vet will give us a more conclusive idea of if she can detect light / shadows after a comprehensive vision check. But despite her impairment, she gets around quite well, and has yet to have any problems finding the boundaries of her paddock or entering her shelter (she found the hay just fine!)

She is gentle and able to be caught (a little uncertain, but comes around with a bit of patience). She loaded on and off the trailer with ease, and upon arrival, stood for some light grooming and her intake measurements like an old pro. The rain rot on Bliss’s back, her skinny frame, and her overgrown hooves are just a few examples of the ways in which she is in need of some TLC, but we already have the wheels in motion to help her be the healthiest, happiest version of herself.

 

Milestones for Jacob

Milestones for Jacob

People may not realize all the little things our horses need to learn before they can be considered ready for adoption. Some come in with little to no domestic life skills while others have troubles due to frustration and misunderstanding that humans created. These are things that the general horse owner may take for granted. These are simple things horses need to be willing to do for just day to day life as a domestic horse. Three major check offs that Jacob recently marked off his list were: standing tied, getting a bath and loading safely into a trailer. 

It may sound very basic, however these are huge accomplishments that Jacob and his handler should be congratulated on achieving. The funny thing about all three… only about 10% of the effort was needed to accomplish the event itself. Why is that you ask? Because all the work was done in the preparation. It is the groundwork foundation that Jacob has been receiving at SAFE that made all three of these happen easily and without trouble. 

These three are major milestones and very important for horses to accomplish before they are adopted. It is small things like this that can make the difference in how successful a horse is in their adoption placement. Skills like these follow them their entire lives and can play an important role in keeping them safe. People don’t want “problem” horses and those that lack basic skills can be sold and given up on time and time again by humans. It may take a bit more effort and time at SAFE while they get this key foundation but without these skills horses would be vulnerable to losing their homes in the future if they can’t get along with simple domestic norms. 

People forget to work on the whole horse and prepare them for any challenges in the future. Some are in such a rush to ride them and send them out in the world that they miss things and leave big holes in the horse’s foundation. They might even get by with “surface working” the horse and leaving trouble in them. When they have issues with the farrier or trailer loading they think the horse is acting up but they never dealt with the core basics. 

Lessons learned the hard way: A very sad call came into SAFE not that long ago. A person had gotten a horse about 6 or so months ago and hadn’t been able to ride it all winter. They decided out of the blue to take the horse out for a trail ride. They had done no work with the horse since buying it and thought it would be a good idea to just load up all the gear and go. Well the horse was loaded and completely had a melt down panic in the trailer. They told us it was a miracle they were able to get the horse out of there alive. Sadly, they were calling to ask us to take the horse. Zero time or effort had gone into building a relationship with the horse and preparing them to handle things as simple as trailering. And now the horse is losing a home and yet again being sent down the road as someone else’s “problem horse”.

We know the foundation stuff isn’t exciting or maybe even the “fun” part of owning horses, although we know a barn full of volunteers at SAFE that would beg to differ, but it is vital to the long term safety of the horse’s life. It doesn’t take that much effort or time to chip away at it but don’t leave issues under the surface. You might just find that a few minutes spent on proper leading, and things like trailer loading become a piece of cake! 

Darla, ex-Unicorn

Darla, ex-Unicorn

Oh Darla! Our little accident prone darling. When making a round after their morning chore shift, two of our eagle-eyed volunteers spotted Darla’s pretty white head with an alarming stroke of red on it. Upon further inspection, it was revealed that miss Darla had opened up a little gash on her forehead – not tremendously large, around 3 inches, but deep enough that a call to our vet was warranted. 

So call the vet we did, and she was quick on the scene. Part of Darla’s wound was full thickness, which meant that the cut extended through the dermis and epidermis into the lower levels. This in turn meant that she would need several stitches. After some light sedation and a healthy bit of lidocaine injected around the area, Dr. Lewis got to work stitching Darla up. 

The placement of her wound, smack dab in the middle of her forehead, made it seem as though she was really just a unicorn, reminding us where the horn used to be. 

Cramer’s Progress

Cramer’s Progress

Cramer’s trouble is that he was improperly halter started in the past or never was taught to come with the handler. He was likely pulled on in an attempt to lead. Evidence of this is in his confusion and “stuck feet” especially when outside energy is raised. You can manage fairly well around him when it is all his idea, but when we add any element that he is unsure about, his initial reaction is to turn and run. While that clearly worked in the past, Cramer is now learning to keep his mind with the handlers and not to “cut and run.” This is a hard habit to break, but when it is worked out he will be leading correctly, respectful of the lead and choosing to stay with the handler. 

Goals for Cramer in the weeks to come:

  1. Working on less overreaction to outside energy. Less confusion about things like the rope or the flag that don’t “mean anything” unless the handler’s feel says they have meaning. 
  2. Continued work on Cramer’s attention to the handler. Helping set up ways for him to search out more connections with her while she works with him. This too will help with his “overreactions.”
  3. Not plateauing: working to get more exposure to things that will help bring “the trouble to the surface.” Just helping bring him to acceptance by closing the bind (place he feels uncomfortable) just slightly and giving as he turns loose. As a domestic horse, he will be asked for the rest of his life to be ok with things that might not all the way feel comfortable to him. We are helping him feel free in his feet to know that he is not stuck and when given this freedom of his feet he can choose to stay with us without being braced and anxious. It is a beautiful thing to watch: a horse who comes into SAFE so stuck in their feet, finding freedom. Their bodies turning loose, and in turn losing the anxiety they were holding in all interactions with humans before coming to us. 
Mouthy Man Cam

Mouthy Man Cam

Careful observation is always a good thing!

A few folks grooming and walking Cameron have noticed him doing some funny things with his face. He would push his lips at the gate with his blanket on it and even at their hand when they were near his face. He would also lay all his head weight in their hands. Being the careful observers that they are, this was reported to the staff for further investigation.

A little back story, last fall during Cameron’s dental, Dr. Lewis detected the early signs of EOTRH. At the time he appeared to have a very mild start of the disease and no painful symptoms. We were told to keep an eye on it and report any painful behavior, sores or advancing of the tooth lesions. 

What is EOTRH you ask? “Equine Odontoclastic Tooth Resorption and Hypercementosis, also known as EOTRH, is a syndrome in horses that results in resorptive lesions of the incisors and sometimes canine teeth. It is usually gradual in onset, though often isn’t diagnosed until quite extensive lesions are present.” From article: EOTRH Syndrome | Midwest Veterinary Dental Services (midwestvetdental.com)

Cameron will continue to have annual dental checks (due in September) which may not include much of a dental float due to his “worn out” teeth. He has some teeth missing and a significant wave in his teeth. Unfortunately, at his advanced age nothing can be done to correct the wave because if we take too much tooth away it will kill the entire tooth. If the EOTRH advances to a painful stage, shows signs of pain or discomfort, we may be able to put him on anti-inflammatory medication or consider removal of the painful teeth. However, since he is on daily steroids from his muscle loss in his rectum, we would be very careful with adding any other medications and only do this with our veterinarian’s approval. Since he is on a low dose of daily steroids we are monitoring his kidney and liver functions. Just last week we rechecked these levels and did an ATCH test to make sure he is not showing any signs of Cushing’s. Thankfully all is in good order and he is currently okay to continue on his medication treatment.

We sent current photos of his teeth and gum condition to Dr. Lewis to compare them to last fall’s photo. They look similar and without any significant irritation or sores.

Given what the staff observed we do not think his behavior is a painful symptom of the EOTRH. These “funny behaviors” are seen when he is being groomed or having his Masterson’s massage treatments. He appears to be exhibiting these behaviors in response to feeling good. It may be a form of reciprocal grooming, where horses mimic the grooming they would give to other horses if they were getting whither or neck itches. Also, some horses like the upper gums pushed on and rubbed.

After looking at the photos and talking with us, Dr. Lewis agreed: “rubbing his teeth on things in response to stimulation like massage or grooming, I’m inclined to agree with you that it’s just him saying it feels good. The signs of dental pain we see with EOTRH tend to be things like not wanting to bite hard horse treats/carrots or more generalized signs of pain like withdrawn, quiet and less social.” Luckily, Cameron is VERY social and appears to be living his BEST life since coming into SAFE.

We are all very grateful for the careful observations and communication from volunteers at SAFE. Small things like this can help put together a full picture of health for our horses, help us catch issues early and we appreciate it! Cameron is a sweet goober with many adoring fans here at SAFE. He gets tons of love and doting over him which we all agree he deserves! Thank you all for supporting horses like Cameron through your donations and sharing SAFE with your friends.

Meet Gabby!

Meet Gabby!

Seventeen years ago, we named this rescue Save a Forgotten Equine, and in all that time, we have only rescued equines of the Equus Caballus variety. Recently however, we took in our very first longear — a lovely bay molly mule named Gabby. Gabby is very shy, having had no real handling up to the age of four, but she is slowly slowly learning to trust…thanks to our good friend Trisha who has taken Gabby on as a foster. Trisha fostered another formerly wild child for SAFE named Caramel, and gentled her so successfully that she ended up adopting her. Gabby is making slow, but steady progress which is exactly what she needs. Trisha has already shared multiple videos of her process with this sweet mule. Check them out below!

 

This video is the first time Gabby touched Trisha. What progress!

Trisha had this to say about Gabby: “She is starting to be more communicative with me, less shut down which is a great sign. We’ve also been working on moving together and passing in tight spaces without panicking — she’s starting to trust that I’m not going to reach out a grab her in the moments where she can’t see me.” 

Training Update: Tanis

Training Update: Tanis

Tanis has turned out to be a sweetheart of a horse! We were a little worried when we got her that she may be pushy or even possibly aggressive since she seemed very treat focused, but so far she hasn’t tried to bite at all and seems content to receive pets and scratches on her terms. I spent quite a while working on the serious dreadlocks in her mane and Tanis was practically asleep by the time I got them all out. She definitely seems happy to be pampered. Tanis is on her way to healthy, but it’ll be a bit of time before she’s there. Her rain rot is almost cleared, her lice is almost gone, and her first dose of dewormer is doing its job. She’s looking better and better every day!

One big last step to help us get her healthy is to get her haltered and gentle. After that, we’ll be able to get her feet trimmed, get her vaccinated, and get her teeth done (though she definitely has no problems eating right now!). Last Friday I was able to get her roped and get a halter on her. She gives pretty easily to pressure and has politely following me around without the halter, so after I got it on, things went pretty smoothly! Getting the nose band up on Tanis’s big nose was a little tricky, but thankfully, as soon as it was on, she looked at me like, “oh that was it? I can do that!”. I’m excited to keep working with her and giving her the TLC she so deserves. 

April Volunteer of the Month: Bob May

April Volunteer of the Month: Bob May

We are terribly lucky to have Bob as part of the SAFE volunteer family. He started out volunteering on the Friday PM shift and quickly became involved attending clinics, helping with our events and eventually adding a day on the Facilities Team and recently, Barn Assist. Bob is always up for helping with whatever needs to be done and he makes SAFE a better place because of him. Learn a little more about Bob below!

How and when did you first get involved with horses?

Growing up in the suburbs of Detroit, there weren’t many horses – although I did have Yellowy Boy. He was a fine plastic palomino suspended with springs on a frame. We covered many miles over the plains on adventures together.

We also had family friends across the state who kept Morgan horses. Visiting ‘The Farm’ was my very favorite place for many years. Nicky, the older, semi-retired gelding was my favorite and I got to ride him from time to time. The fastest he ever went was a brisk walk heading back to the barn where I learned to duck because he didn’t always stop before going through the barn door. Cart and sleigh rides, cleaning stalls, as well as an occasional lunch in the hayloft, are also favorite memories.

Jumping ahead, my sister Anne, in Michigan, has had horses for a number of years. A regular highlight of family visits has become ‘barn time’ when she shares her experience with my brother and I while working with her current horse and pony duo, Callie and Blossom. It was after returning from the holidays last year when I happened to discover S.A.F.E.

What do you like most about volunteering with SAFE?

My whole experience at S.A.F.E. has been very fulfilling for me. It has clearly tapped into my ‘inner cowboy’ who I didn’t know was still there. I really appreciate getting to do real work, outdoors with great people and to see our efforts make such positive difference in the lives of some very special horses. I’m grateful to be able to be a part of this herd.

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

It’s too hard to choose a single favorite, but I certainly have to acknowledge Freya. Her calm, gentle demeanor and soft responsiveness, as well as her desire to roll in the dirt and need regular grooming, continues to teach me a lot. Veronica has also become special to me. She’s a real beauty and we seem to have a good connection – and I’m so pleased to see her progress in living and working with all of us humans.

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

For fun, I do a bit of scuba diving here in Puget Sound and prior to the pandemic enjoyed regular dancing and playing drums in a blues-oriented four-piece band. Hopefully, more opportunity for those will return soon. Professionally, my background is in naturopathic medicine I’ve been on a bit of a sabbatical. I’m now in the process of creating a new practice focused on how to find balance in a crazy world. For me, that includes my time at SAFE!

A Walk in the Park

A Walk in the Park

Spring is just around the corner, and although some days, when the ground is frosty and the rain won’t stop, it certainly doesn’t feel that way, there are days (becoming less rare) when it feels almost something like June. Here at SAFE, we take full advantage of days like this, as well as easy access to the park trails next door – a match made in heaven. 

On a few of these days, we saddled up some horses and took to the trails. The order of go as follows:

Bonnie on Owen, bravely leading the way.
Kaya on Jill, comfortable to lead but just as comfortable to follow.
Lily walking Pepper, happy to be middle of the pack, but not necessarily uncomfortable when her leading friends would occasionally disappear from view.
Lexee walking Nyx, content to bring up the rear.

While there are many routes to take, the tried and true staple is a loop trail that takes the horses through all sorts of unique scenery and obstacles. 

We start out on a forested path, evergreen branches swaying overhead, the soft earth of the ground muffling the hoofbeats. Birds chirp and plants rustle as we pass, a snapping twig or crunchy leaf adding to the ambiance, but otherwise, the atmosphere is quiet and peaceful. The horses are alert, their ears pricked forward, but no one shies or spooks. We round a corner, and the forest opens up, with a thin trail banked by an expanse of lawn to the left. There’s a playground here, and the shouts and calls of children at play reach our ears before the children themselves come into view. The petting farm is in sight too, and roosters squawk as donkeys bray – quite the cacophony after the relative quiet of the forest. But our horses continue bravely on, not always totally unfazed by what’s going on around them, but able to find comfort in our direction. We may need to pause and let them take it in, having them change eyes on the source of their anxieties to show hey now, nothing to be afraid of, here it is from both sides and how you can move your feet. Once we’re past it, emotionally, we move past it, physically. The forest closes in on us once again, the trail winding around trees and stumps until we reach the first bridge we must cross. This could be quite the obstacle, but our horses cross bravely with little hullabaloo (for a brief moment, Pepper is concerned, but it doesn’t last). From there we go up, and for a time it feels like we are no longer in Redmond, but rather deep in the woods somewhere, far removed from parking lots and roadways. We keep a careful eye for anyone who shares the trail, announcing ourselves as we round bends. When others do pass, we turn to face them as they approach and turn to follow them as they leave, in a way giving chase. The trail opens at a point – where it intersects with the powerline – and we embark on a steep downhill journey towards where it reconnects with the park. In summer, the bushes that line the road will be thick with blackberries that we may or may not feed to ourselves and our horses, but for now they sit as brambles, a promise of what’s to come. Then, back into the park we go, this time coming up the side of our neighbors and then the fenceline that our own property shares. We step over logs as we see SAFE horses from a different perspective – Nova and Rae rush towards the fence once they realize who’s coming, and a small chorus of calls erupts from the herd. 

And then, we’re home, with a few more trail miles under our cinches, and dreams of summer when we can go out all the time.

More Work with Tiva

More Work with Tiva

In the video below, Tiva continues to learn to free her movement through changing eyes, and get used to people being on all sides of her, including in her blind spots. We work on helping her relax as she moves around the round pen, letting her know that she doesn’t need to trot off all the time, and that walking is an option for her.

Putting a hand up by her face and mimicking petting is getting her used to the placement of a hand where it will eventually touch her. Because she is still so nervous, we are taking this slow, and waiting for her to accept the touch and not go away from it rather than forcing it upon her before she is ready.

Rest in Peace, Sweet Nico

Rest in Peace, Sweet Nico

On the day we picked up Tanis, we really only intended to rescue one horse. But she had a friend by her side that needed even more help than she did. Often when you make the decision to intake a horse, you can’t predict what type of assistance you’ll be providing, or even how long you’ll be together. In Nico’s case, he wasn’t with us for very long, but we are so grateful for the time we had with him. And so thankful that when the end came for him, he was here with us.
Nico arrived at SAFE in very rough shape. He appeared to be sick, but our vet quickly determined that he did not have strangles. We set him up in a quarantine paddock with his friend Tanis, and got to work on his recovery. At first, he seemed surprised and delighted by the availability of hay and clean water, but after four or five days, Nico started to go off his feed. Then he quit eating entirely. We gave him Banamine and hand walked him every hour. After seeing no bowel movement for an entire day, Dr. Renner was called out to take a look at him.
A rectal exam revealed manure with mucus sitting in his colon, but everything else seemed fairly normal. We proceeded with an ultrasound, and found low motility in the lower intestine but no inflammation. Nico appeared to be colicing. Dr. Renner told us that based on his condition, Nico had a 50% chance to pull through. We put up cameras in his paddock and kept watch on him throughout night. Sadly, we saw no sign of improvement.
Dr. Renner called in the morning with devastating news: blood work showed that Nico was suffering from severe liver failure. It was something that he’d been dealing with for a long time, probably due to the poor quality of feed he’d been getting prior to his rescue. Nico was also developing neurological symptoms, most likely a direct result of toxin build up due to his loss of liver function, and we were seriously concerned that he might fall. There was nothing that could be done but to put a stop to his pain and discomfort.

Nico enjoyed a little grazing during his walks.

Nico was surrounded by many who loved him and laid to rest with peace and dignity. His friend Tanis was by his side and was able to say her goodbyes. We are so thankful he received the medical care he needed instead of suffering alone in a muddy field. He was respected and treated with love just like a member of our family. We are comforted knowing he is no longer suffering and thankful for the support that allowed him to not be forgotten. Nico was not a horse that we set out to rescue, but in the end, we are so grateful that we got the chance to help him.

Bob at the Horsemanship Gathering with Freya

Bob at the Horsemanship Gathering with Freya

One of our volunteers, Bob M. came to watch and participate in a horsemanship weekend at SAFE. Here’s what he had to say:

A few weekends ago, I attended the first ‘in house’ horsemanship gathering that Terry organized and hosted. At the end, I got my first experience doing a bit of groundwork with Freya and found it very valuable. As I heard from others more experienced, Freya is ‘very soft’ and was a good partner to start with. Kaya’s insights on where to stand, move and use the lead rope were very helpful. It was clear the more comfortable and clear I am, the better I will be able to communicate with my equine partner.

Having attended a couple of Buck Brannaman’s clinics, as well as several at SAFE with Joel Conner, I know ‘softness’ is a high priority in this style of horsemanship. Interestingly, softness is also a foundational goal in Tai Qi, the Chinese movement practice. In my Tai Qi studies, the goal is to be soft, long and round in our movements. That may seem a bit incongruous with horsemanship, but I believe the principles are the same. For the horse, or the person, learning to let go of held tension and response patterns increases freedom of movement and supports the capacity for thoughtful responses rather than unconscious reactions.

Coupled with ‘softness’, and apparently a process to achieving it, is the concept of ‘pressure and release.’ This initially sounded like teaching through avoidance of something negative. My sense now is more of clearly defining boundaries so the horse can understand what is being asked of it. The ‘good deal’ is offered first followed by more intensity, and even a ‘bump’ when needed, to get more attention. All is done with the goal of getting to softness and an increased rapport and collaboration between horse and human.

Pressure and release has been a constant throughout the many exercises I’ve observed in groundwork and while watching riders. My ability to recognize it is growing, and I’ve had few experiences feeling it as well. In addition to my session with Freya, I have been working on ‘leading at a distance’ with Owen. He’s a very good teacher because he has a tendency to creep up and crowd a bit. This has given me the opportunity to be clear in my communication, to get him to step back and stay back, as we walk. We’re still a bit inconsistent, but now I can feel where he is through the lead rope – and he’s recognizing that a turn of my head means he needs to step back. I’m also learning how important it is to make sure a horse is ‘with me’ and paying attention – and that seems to depend on how clearly I’m with the horse.

Another observation from the workshop was watching Terry work with several horses to get them to be more comfortable seeing with both eyes. That’s a bit of an awkward way to say it, but it’s common for horses to favor one eye and one sense of direction. They are often very uncomfortable turning away from that ‘good’ side and so they are limited in their options of movement. It’s easy to imagine how knowing you can turn left and right would lead to being much more comfortable overall.

Ending work sessions on a positive note was also emphasized in the day. Rather than just stopping at a particular time or out of frustration with a difficult goal, emphasis is on leaving the horse with a feeling of accomplishment, however small it might be. I can certainly feel the significance of that in my own life, so it makes sense horses’ respond similarly.

Observing clinics has been an important part of my education at SAFE in this last year. Initially, all was rather overwhelming and I couldn’t really see or understand what was going on. However, over time that is changing and Terry’s ability to communicate what she and the horses are doing is extremely valuable. Input from Casey and Lisa and other horsemanship volunteers was very helpful as well. So much experience and generosity of learning at SAFE! I look forward to future clinics and gatherings and encourage volunteers to attend who want to understand how SAFE has such a positive impact on our incredible horses.”

SAFE University: How to Clean a Stall and Paddock

While there are many ways to clean a stall and paddock, here are a few videos that show our best practices for approaching stall and paddock cleaning at SAFE. We made these videos as a training guide for our new volunteers and as a reference for anyone who would like to learn.

How to Clean a Stall

How to Clean a Paddock

Esme Makes New Friends

Esme Makes New Friends

Esme came to SAFE alongside Edward and Jacob, and while they all got along quite well, being the only girl in a herd of boys does have its downsides. She could certainly hold her own, but the boys picked on her a bit, as horses figuring out herd dynamics are want to do. Eventually we split the trio up, and for a while, Esme was in a paddock by herself – across the street neighbors with Edward, but given a moment outside of having to deal with essentially older brothers.

When Pepper hurt her leg, she was moved to a paddock beside Esme’s, and the two were fast friends. For a time, Esme was not keen on being caught by anyone aside from her main trainer, so she was living outside 24/7. At turn-in time, when Pepper would leave to go inside for the night, Esme would call to her, and in the mornings when she returned, it was clear Esme was happy to see her back. Once Pepper’s leg was healed, we decided to turn these two girls out together. 

It was a success. After some brief initial squealing on the halters, the girls were turned loose without much hullabaloo. There was one kick from Esme, but no one was injured, and the tension dissipated immediately. For the most part, the girls just explored the new space together, Pepper following on Esme’s heels. 

The very next day, the two were sharing hay from a hay net together, clearly destined to be best buddies. When Pepper left the paddock for a trail walk one afternoon, Esme called out to her friend – “where are you going without me?” – and was very delighted to see her return. 

In addition to this new friendship, Esme has also started coming into a stall in the evenings. Wary to be caught at first, she quickly adjusted to coming in at turn-in time, and soon was trotting right up to the gate, even more eager to be caught than Pepper. Seeing her now, it is hard to imagine that she is the same flighty and fighty girl who arrived last summer – she has become a gentle friend to Pepper, and an easy, respectful horse for her handlers.

 

Kicking it With Cramer

Kicking it With Cramer

One of our volunteers, Lise A. has spent some time recently with Cramer, and had the following to say about her experience:

I have had the good fortune of getting to start grooming Cramer in early February (with Terry’s guidance of course). He and I have gotten to hang out two to three times a week. He is a big, furry and funny guy. I sure wish we knew what is going on inside that large head with the matching fuzzy cheek whorls. 

As you may have noticed Cramer tends to roll in the mud of his turn out. And with Otto gone he had gotten to stretch out a bit more between both paddock areas. (now that Tiva has arrived it will be fun to see how they do together). 

Wherever Cramer is he manages (if you haven’t noticed) to deposit his massive pile of poops from one end to the other of his turnout. Only those that know horses and muck will appreciate their size and the fact that there is no way you can fit it in one pitch fork scoop!

He was quite a stinker until a bath last month.  And after a day or two, well yes, it is hard to tell. He is well loved in-spite of himself. And though I groom him, he is very hard to get clean so no one would ever know I was there! 

He halters easily and loves to be curried almost everywhere though he is a little shy around his head and feet at times but is getting better with more loving! He will usually get his “seal nose” on with licking and chewing in the front and swing his butt back and forth in the back. As his tail swings back and forth I am left wondering what music Cramer is hearing. 

There have been a few days when he can be a bit impatient with grooming and can’t be bothered with standing around for too long. But, when I release him he will always follow me wondering why I would leave him behind — “didn’t I know that he was just kidding and wasn’t quite done yet”. 

Cramer is a big guy and seems to have a big heart and there is likely a big story to tell that none of us will ever know. However,  we can all hope that he will unwind and learn to trust in each of us as we stop by to say “hi”. With each loving contact, my wish is that he will learn that he has landed at a great stopping place …. on his way to finding a forever home.

Training Update: Groundwork with Minnie

Training Update: Groundwork with Minnie

Check out this video of Minnie doing some groundwork. She works on leading on a float through three gaits (walk, trot, lope), transitioning through those gaits smoothly, and staying straight on her united circle. She also works on being touched by the rope and the flag, on yielding her hindquarters, on bringing her front quarters across, and on backing up.

Jacob’s Smile

Jacob’s Smile

For some, going to the dentist is no big deal. Jacob, whose human persona would, for the most part, be something akin to a laid back surfer dude, is one such fellow. He recently had his first dental visit since arriving at SAFE, and took it all in stride. He was a very good boy for his sedation shot, and once under the influence, was a perfect patient. 

Jacob had some sharp points that Dr. Renner filed down, but other than that, had an entirely unremarkable mouth. Dr. Renner also estimated that Jacob is around 8 years old, which is in keeping with the information we had on him. After his visit, a very sleepy Jacob stumbled down the aisle way to a stall that was prepped for his recovery from sedation – most likely to dream of sharing a flake of hay with his good buddy, Edward. 

Teddi Sees the Dentist

Teddi Sees the Dentist

Teddi’s recent dental was just how we like them – an easy, routine visit with very little that needed addressing. She had just a few sharp edges that needed filing down, and the entire procedure only took a few minutes. 

Even though Teddi’s dental was entirely routine, it is the best case scenario, and why annual checkups are so important. These visits allow our vets to put a very skilled pair of hands and eyes on our horses, get a set of vitals, and ensure that nothing has been missed or overlooked. They also ensure that any minor issues (such as sharp points on the teeth) are addressed before they have a chance to turn into anything major. We are so very grateful for our vets, and also for horses like Teddi, for making visits like these so easy for everyone involved.

Tiva: Training and Video Update

Tiva: Training and Video Update

Someone once told me that in their experience the Yakima Reservation horses were like trying to tame a “wild cat”. They are flighty, jumpy and in that person’s eyes almost impossible to domesticate. For us, the jury is still out. We have seen now our fair share of them come through SAFE, and each with their own personality. We have come across those that tend more on the anxious flighty side but really can feel no different than other breeds who tend towards the “hot” temperament. These horses can be either the greatest to work with or someone’s worst nightmare, it is all in the perspective the handler takes. 

What is very rewarding right off the bat with this type of horse is the “life” sitting right on the surface. They are sensitive and responsive to the slightest amount of movement and feel from you. As the handler, you better have a TON of patience and stamina to keep up with their quick bodies and minds, and you must be able to quiet your “feel” so that you don’t add to the anxiety they create on their own. The best part is that you have to do very little to create life, it is in harnessing that life that real skill comes into play.

One of the most important steps to successfully working with this type of horse is helping them change their minds from their most natural response: to run, into the most unnatural response: to stay when energy rises or they feel at all anxious or nervous about what is happening around them. It is pure survival at its greatest and there is a level of respect you have to have for what they naturally are wired to do and a huge amount of respect for those that allow us to touch them. The second piece of this is that they start to switch from a reaction-based answer to more of a response to requests. Both mean literally the same thing, but a reaction is based deeply in fear and a response is through thought.

A big change can come when the “hot” horse’s mind starts to sink with the handler. Even their hoof falls and beat changes as they match the feel of the person working with them. There is a peace in their movement and as our friend Joel Conner once said: “Their skin starts to hang differently on their bodies”. It is in these areas you start to connect with them even, before you are able to lay hands on them.

So far, the biggest challenge with Tiva has not been her sensitivity or her natural reactions to flee, but that for many months she was unable to do just that, move. When trying to halter start her in such a confined area, she bottled up all of her anxiety and her feet became stuck. Even when she was first let out of the stall her steps were full of braces and the sound her hoof made along the ground was tight and stabby. When horses are stuck, and “feel” like they can not move, they can become frustrated and in the worst cases turn to fight whatever is frustrating them. 

Tiva exhibits many visual signs of frustration. She repeatedly bumps her nose towards the handler, turns in and pushes towards them to try and move them and worst of all in frustration when standing still near someone she has tried to dive in towards them with a very bad expression. It is hard to imagine what her mental state has been over the last year. First gathered off the open land she was most likely born, nursing a filly on her side, shoved into trailers and moved from place to place and finally ran into a 12x24 box stall with absolutely none of the freedoms that are basic necessities of a horse. Not sure it gets much worse than this for a sensitive mare. 

We are telling you all this to help explain these are “unnatural” feelings, Tiva wasn’t born this way, most, if not all, of this was learned with every experience she has had with humans. To be 100% honest, it is a WHOLE lot easier to gentle a mare with Tiva’s temperament that has had zero experience with humans than accomplish what we are set out to do and try to undo the trouble inside Tiva now. 

So we begin. Her first groundwork lessons where not an attempt to draw her in to be touched, but rather allowing her to move and find the freedom in her feet. You could see how panicked she was with even the idea of standing and being asked to be near us. First, she needed to know that she was allowed to move and could move herself freely in all directions.

In the past, she had been told to turn in and face the handler, not a bad start for most horses but given her sensitivity and being in a small confined location of the stall it built in huge braces and anxiety. So, we literally “threw out the book” and did the exact opposite of turning in to draw in and instead we asked her to change eyes by turning away from the handler. We did this for a few reasons. First, we did this because she had so much anxiety turning in, we wanted to do something with her that she had probably never been asked to do. Partly to find some part of her that was still a “clean slate” and an opportunity to gain trust but also to show her how to work through something and find peace. Building search is a great way to gain trust and captivate their curiosity and build “try”. 

Changing eyes was definitely not very pretty in the beginning, a lot of gravel flying and uncertainty about this different angle presented by the handler. There are a few other added benefits the changing eyes work will help her gain include getting more comfortable when things go into her blind spot behind her, allowing her to feel free to move her shoulders both directions (which is huge for haltering), to learn different angles of the handler mean different things, especially that when they are in the front you, you can’t blow past them and finally it allowed her to find a very comfortable walk that was not “running” away from the person. 

This was a huge step that we will continue to build on as we gain trust and credibility with her. From these first sessions, it is evident that she is going to take a lot of time, patience and very skilled hands if she is going to make it as a domestic horse. Luckily, at SAFE, we have all of that along with loads of love and kindness to provide her with the best chance of a successful gentling, halter starting and experiences to have a lifetime of safety.

SuperNova

SuperNova

Nova is a tall drink of water. Or, perhaps a bit more appropriately, a tall drink of soda – something with bubbles, the kind that dance and pop above the glass, sparkly and effervescent. The word ‘coltish’ also springs to mind, certainly due to those long legs of hers, and the way it sometimes feels like she is still getting used to them. Not that she is ungainly, just that she possesses a looseness to her movements on occasion, much like a big puppy not yet done growing. And the comparison is apt – she is indeed a young thing still filling into herself. 

For a while, she was getting turnout with Jill only – we rearranged the herd, and the two girls had a few weeks in a new paddock together. Even with a hay bag for each of them, they chose to eat together from one before moving to the next, Nova the taller of the pair often knocking alfalfa leaves into Jill’s mane. 

Recently, however, they have been reunited with their old friend, Rae (in Nova’s case, the two of them were practically born together), and the trio have settled into their old routine of stretching their legs, napping in the sun, and testing the waters by moving each other around. They have also acquired some new fence neighbors – Pepper and Esme, who are quick to participate in the various dramas of teenage mares from the next paddock over, and Darla, who is a bit more aloof. With these fence introductions, the herd may be seeing an expansion soon, so stay tuned. 

Nova, as a young, growing girl, has been given much of the winter off from work. Recently however, she’s taken some trips to the round pen again to reacquaint her with having her head in the game, so to speak. We worked on transitioning smoothly up and down through the gaits, as well as getting her ‘with me.’ Nova is a pretty mover, and although it takes her a moment, once she settles into a long trot or smooth canter, it is a pleasure to watch her. She requires lots of quick transitions to get her with you – leave her too long in one gait or another and you risk dulling her out. When sending a horse around, the goal is to make yourself as interesting as possible so they look to you for direction and connection. This is easier to accomplish with some horses, and Nova definitely challenges you to be a focal point. These transitions help to draw her attention and to keep it. 

One of the biggest hurdles to overcome is maintaining her focus in a situation where it is being pulled elsewhere – most notably when she is separated from her friends. We have also added the joys of a young mare coming into season this year so the hormones are definitely in play now and an added element to working with her. In these scenarios, it is very difficult to draw her attention back from where it has been taken. The best way to go about doing so is by making the place where she wants to be – typically by the gate of the arena – more difficult, and the place where she does not want to be easy. This looks like: when she heads towards the spot she wants to be, making her “work” there, and then releasing all “work” once she turns towards the area she doesn’t want to be. “Make the wrong thing difficult and the right thing easy.” Easy in concept, harder to execute. Still, when she is ‘with you,’ working with Nova is a real joy.

As her training resumes in full this spring, it will be wonderful to continue to watch her grow (both physically and mentally), and I hope to have further opportunities to work with her. 

Two Men and A Baby

Two Men and A Baby

I’ll admit, the title is a bit misleading. But to see new herd-mates Nyx, Montana, and Otto out together, I think it would quickly become apparent to anyone who are the men and who is the baby. A brief description of the herd has –

Nyx starring as the benevolent leader of the pack, a gentle giant not only in appearance but also in mannerisms. His signature display of dominance involves floating a hind leg up in warning, rarely if ever following through with a half-hearted kick that never lands. 

Montana cast as a (mostly) stoic member of the band who often spends his time sidled up to the fence line that adjoins the filly’s paddock. He has been known to participate in a romp or two with Otto, but is just as comfortable lounging around with Nyx. 

and

Otto, rising star. It is hard not to look at Otto and not be reminded of your little brother or mischievous younger cousin. Most of the time, Otto would rather run and play than eat breakfast – often he can be found nipping at Nyx’s heels or tail in an attempt to draw his large friend away from the food (it has not worked yet). When Nyx won’t play, Otto tries his luck with Montana, and often is able to rouse a bit more interest from his paint companion. 

These three boys were fast friends, and it’s clear that they really enjoy each other’s company. Often, all three can be spotted eating from the same hay net (Nyx and Montana usually work on the net itself, while Otto finds vacuuming up the fallen scraps to be more his speed), and they have been known to take communal naps together on occasion. It is truly a pleasure to watch the three of them, as their personalities mesh so well together despite being so different, and it’s clear that they all have something to learn from each other.

 

Edward, Defanged

Edward, Defanged

Edward, along with the herd mates he arrived at SAFE with, Esme and Jacob, were all named after characters from a certain mid-2000s book series you may be familiar with, featuring vampires and werewolves and rain, oh my! Edward, the horse, was named after Edward, the vampire, and it turns out that the two share more similarities than just sparkling in the sun; now at a healthy weight, on those rare winter days when the sun does appear, Edward’s coat is positively lustrous liver chestnut. 

At his most recent dental exam, it was discovered that Edward was hiding some serious sharp points. These points are typically caused by uneven wear on the teeth, and for domesticated horses who tend to chew far less each day than their wild counterparts, routine dental visits are required to check for and remedy such situations. After a bit of filing from our vet, Edward was back to being fangless – a much healthier and more comfortable situation for him. 

We might brag a little about how proud we are of this young gelding. A lot has changed for him over the last months since coming into SAFE and he has hit a good stride in his training and preparation for adoption. He had very little to no issue with our vet, getting sedated or having his first ever dental examination. Very proud of the good citizen he is becoming!

 

Cramer Gets a Pedicure

Cramer Gets a Pedicure

We are happy to report that Cramer has successfully had all four hooves trimmed. He was a gem for the farrier and stayed connected to the handler without trouble. He has a kind and thoughtful nature. When he had issues with the hind it was less from being “naughty” than him figuring out how to balance his weight to keep that big body up. I won’t say that he is 100% without a little bit of testing the handlers but quickly and with thoughtfulness remained composed and relaxed about the event. His eyes remained soft and when he had a minor anxiety, he quickly melted back into the lovable gentle giant we are quickly falling in love with here at SAFE!

 

Check out the video of Cramer’s first trim:

Pepper’s Progress

Pepper’s Progress

Pepper has recovered from a wound on her hind leg that had her on stall rest for a couple months. She was a star patient for all her treatments and even coped really well with being separated from her herd and stuck in a rehab lot. Pepper has just been back to work this week and really picked things up right where she left off! The back cinch is still an issue for Pepper, but we’re seeing definite improvement when we work with the rope before saddling. 

Every day, she is quicker at getting through her trouble with the back cinch and lining out in understanding. Pepper is still very green, but we are hoping to get her out riding in the big arena this spring and out on the trails! She’s been hand-walked with her buddies on the trails near SAFE and she loves it. Crossing bridges without hesitation, walking by bicycles, loud children, dogs, and other horses like a champ!

Meet Tanis and Nico!

Meet Tanis and Nico!

Introducing our newest herd members, Tanis and Nico. Recently, a woman in her 80s passed away leaving 14 dogs, a horse, a friendly cat, and several fixed feral cats. SAFE was contacted to help with the horse. Working with a local small animal rescue, JustCare Animal Rescue and Sanctuary, who has been working tirelessly to help all of these animals, we made a plan and set out to pick the horse up. When we arrived she was in a pasture with a gelding who had a lot of nasal discharge and both horses were coughing. Both are covered in rain rot and full of lice. We asked if the current resident would let us also load the gelding, and that’s how we brought home a bonus horse!
Tanis is a mid-teen roan BLM Mustang from the Hog Creek Herd in Eastern Oregon. Her adopter bought her for her granddaughter and she lived on a property for the past 12 years with little to no handling. We suspect the rope around her neck is the BLM tag rope put on her at the time of her round-up, but that is not confirmed. It was a very strong rope to cut off, but Tanis was kind enough to let us do so shortly after her arrival at SAFE. At some point, we will try and shave her brand to see if we can read it and gather more information about her age and year of round-up. She is pushy and knows what treats are, but only goes where she wants to and does what she wants.
Nico is a sweet Buckskin gelding in his senior years.  He may also be BLM with some signs of a freeze brand under all that long hair. He is very sick with lots of nasal discharge, so we stopped on our way home to Rainland and were able to get a nasal swab to send out for testing. He has a good appetite and hopefully, with some much-needed TLC, he will feel 100% better in the weeks to come.

Watch Tanis and Nico when they first arrived at SAFE in the video below.

Cameron and Carrie

Cameron and Carrie

Here is an update on Cameron from one of our volunteers, Carrie S:

This is the magic of SAFE. A sweet old pointy Cameron is now a dashing debonair gelding full of life and showing his stuff. I took him out for his daily walk yesterday and he was simply dancing and prancing. Kaya gave permission to turn him out for a romp in the round pen without his blanket so he could roll and play. As soon as the halter came off he bucked and farted and galloped. I was astonished to see all of his muscles!! Look at that rump and those hips. He’s a solid, happy 30 year old with tons of life left in him. I wish I could see pics of him at 10 years old. Such a handsome boy who can still float above the ground.  Thank you SAFE for giving this sweet boy a second chance. He’s a love bug.”

Check out the video Carrie took of Cameron. He loves to kick up his heels!

Darla’s Toe Woes

Darla’s Toe Woes

It has certainly been a lengthy recovery process, but the end is finally in sight for our dear Darla. Since her abscess finally ported (in not one, not two, but three places: her coronet band, her heel bulbs, and her white line) back in early January, we have been carefully tending to her foot each day to ensure it continues to heal. And it has paid off! During her most recent visit with our vet, Darla was evaluated as being sound at the walk and healing up quite well. The most important thing during this final stretch is to ensure that the port areas are kept clean, which we have been doing through a combination of duct tape boots, iodine solution, and, most recently, a diaper “sock” that Darla wears inside a trail boot. Gone are the days of deeply bedded stall rest – Darla now gets a daily turnout with her “shoes on,” where she moves around quite comfortably.

Darla has been a wonderful, patient patient during this entire process, even during the periods when she was at her highest levels of discomfort. She seemed to really enjoy her ‘pedicures’ – the epsom salt soaks we were administering multiple times a week – standing still as a statue for the entire duration, even lowering her head and adopting a relaxed, sleepy expression. 

Our vet gave Darla the all clear to go back to work after her next trim with our farrier, and we look forward to getting back to work on the road to adoption for this special girl!

Daisy’s Move To Foster

Daisy’s Move To Foster

Adoptions are a wonderful thing, but they are often bittersweet for those involved in the horse’s life. When Sundae was adopted from her foster home, it left her human foster, Shellie, with a bit of an empty nest, and her foster brother lacking a friend. Luckily, we had a perfect option. 

Daisy, a SAFE favorite, was an easy choice. Her docile personality and gentle nature made her a great fit for her foster mom, who was hoping to have a horse to dote upon. Daisy adores attention, and could happily stand for hours upon hours being brushed and loved on. 

Daisy’s discomfort in being away from her paddock made taking her out for walks while at SAFE quite difficult. Shellie had a bigger space to offer Daisy, which meant she could get more exercise in a way that was also comfortable to her. Overall, the circumstances were just right for all parties. 

On the day of her move, Daisy was so excited to see the trailer. She had a ton of energy, calling out as it came around the bend. And without a flinch she literally jumped right in! Once at Shellie’s, Daisy was quite calm, and relaxed right into the new space. She didn’t even squeal at Laurence, her new foster brother. He was happy to see her, and seeing that Daisy has always been a mare who firmly attaches herself to her neighbors, she was almost certainly glad to see him! We sure miss seeing Daisy’s sweet face at SAFE, but we know that she is very well loved and cared for during her time away at foster.

Frosting in the Sun

Frosting in the Sun

Check out this photo Frosting’s foster mom sent us of Frosting and her BFF, SAFE Alumna Fancy, enjoying a nap in the sun together. There’s nothing quite like basking in those rare wintertime rays with your buddy by your side! 

Chip and Dale Health Update

Chip and Dale Health Update

Chip’s level of comfort appears to have made some slight improvements since his last visit two weeks ago with Dr. King from Pilchuck Veterinary Hospital. His blood work shows only a very slightly elevated ATCH but visually he has very classic symptoms of Cushing’s, including the stagnant, shaggy coat and of course the laminitis. We will begin on a very low dose of Prascend and hope to help him improve and to help support him. His weight is good, so we will be addressing Cushing’s disease and will not have to worry about the metabolic side. These would be excessive fat pads indicative of horses who are suffering with both Insulin Resistance and Cushing’s simultaneously. Due to age and body type we will continue to manage sugar intake. 

Today, Dr. King helped support Chip’s front hoof with another conservative trim that took off some of the excess distorted hoof wall. He used an adhesive and casting tape to make a hoof wall cast to provide more support to the hoof. His heels were left open to allow for good movement. We will continue with pain management with Bute and recheck again in two weeks.

 

Laminitis is a cruel disease. Our number one priority right now is to give Chip comfort and support as his little hooves try to recover. We are realistic that things can change for the worse drastically and quickly in these cases. For right now, he has shown some small improvements. We are reassured that Chip is being treated with dignity and given our best efforts to turn this around. This was not something that just happened and, as the x‑rays showed two weeks ago, he has been suffering for a long time from this disease. We are thankful to have Dr. King helping on this case. His expertise in this area of equine podiatry is valuable. Little Chip is assuredly in very good hands and getting the absolute best care possible.

Training Update: Groundwork with Coco

Training Update: Groundwork with Coco

Check out this video of Coco doing some groundwork. She works on leading on a float through three gaits (walk, trot, lope), transitioning through those gaits smoothly, and staying straight on her united circle. She also works on being touched by the rope and the flag, on yielding her hindquarters, on bringing her front quarters across, and on backing up. One thing she doesn’t need any more work on is being cute!

Trim Time for Otto

Trim Time for Otto

Last time our farrier was out, Otto successfully had all four of his feet trimmed. It is such a pleasure to watch this young man as he sheds out and grows up, the latter of which includes a vast difference between his first trim and this, his most recent one. Learning to stand and be patient for the farrier can be a big ask, especially when you’re not used to having your feet handled, but prep-work makes such a thing more and more manageable until eventually it becomes a non-issue. And when you’re a smart guy like Otto, that day seems to be arriving sooner rather than later.

Introducing Tiva!

Introducing Tiva!

Introducing our newest mare, Tiva! She was picked up from a boarding barn in Olympia and arrived at SAFE in the late afternoon. After living in a stall for nearly a year, she was reluctant to leave it and or to get out of the trailer. Freedom was not something she had seen in a long time. Once off the trailer she stood in the far corner of her quarantine paddock taking in her surroundings with wide eyes and occasional snorting. The staff tries their best to always have another horse living close by to provide a little company and comfort to new horses whose lives have just been uprooted and are nervous about their new living situation. Cramer, calmly stood in the next-door paddock staring at in his cute new neighbor, occasionally pawing the ground and yawning.

SAFE was contacted by a good Samaritan who wanted advice finding a trainer to help her with a “wild mustang”. This horse came into her life when a very skinny mare and her filly were dropped off at the boarding barn she kept her own horse. This kind person was concerned about Tiva and her filly who was nursing, and wanted to help the mare. It appeared that the owner at the time was unable to keep them and so the good Samaritan had them turn over ownership. Tiva remained in the stall at the boarding facility and the filly was placed in a rescue. For a few months the good Samaritan worked on gentling the mare. She worked with a vet to refeed her and get her wormed. After realizing the mare was extremely sensitive and over her skill level, she tried to find a local trainer. No one would help with a “wild mustang”. Seeking advice, she contacted SAFE’s Outreach Team. This mare had already bounced around home to home, since being rounded up from the Yakima Reservation and her future didn’t look to have many options, so SAFE agreed to bring her into our program.

After working with Tiva in her first groundwork session, she appears to be sound and has a floaty gait. For now, we are being mindful of her sensitivity and only staff is cleaning her paddock while we get to know her. Tiva is a long project, but we give our horses all the time they need to find changes and lay a foundation that will keep them safe for the rest of their life. We look forward to helping this sweet mare, so she can live a happy life outside of small stall walls with horse friends and people who care about her future.

Sundae is Adopted!

Sundae is Adopted!

We are over the moon excited for our little momma, Sundae, who officially has her own forever home, where she will only be expected to eat, run and be happy! Gone are the days of her constant motherhood. Sundae, now named Neapolitan, moved to Tacoma in February to live with Cheryl and become friends with her two riding mares. When one goes out for a ride, Sundae will be there to comfort the other!

Miss Sundae arrived at SAFE in January 2021, along with two other ponies and a horse after a 5th horse on the property died due to neglect. Shortly after, we found out the previous owner had 4 more ponies they had kept secret when Animal Control came to seize the first group. Luckily, we still had space available and were able to rescue the entire group who were all suffering from overgrown hooves, lice, malnutrition, enormous worm loads, and lack of dental care, causing painful ulcerations in their mouths. It was incredible to see their individual transformations and all but one still remain at SAFE. A couple months later, we noticed Sundae seemed to be a little rounder than the others and it wasn’t much longer before we announced this spunky 25 year old mare was pregnant!

Because of her age, we were a little worried about the pregnancy, trying not to get our hopes up and also extra concerned for our momma, who had most likely been a mother countless times in her previous situation. To our delighted surprise everything went off without a hitch and on April 21st, 2021 at 10:37PM Coco entered the world! Sundae was a fantastic mother who was a fierce guardian to her newborn, but also didn’t seem to mind too much that Coco was independent from day one. It’s been magical having a baby pony on the farm, watching the two at turn out was the best part of everyone’s day, but now we are happy Sundae gets to have her own plush, easy life. Cheryl has shared videos of Sundae running around her paddock happy as can be and told us Sundae is quite the pistol, who acts like a 4 year old. We absolutely love that this momma is reliving her youth with her new family.

Alumni Update: Trey

Alumni Update: Trey

This cute Quarter Horse/Pony is a big horse, with lots of personality, just stuck in a smaller horse’s body!  Even though he isn’t competing in dressage any longer, he still loves to zip around the property, hang out with his other horse friends in the pasture and takes the occasional light trail ride with his adopter Eve.

“Brandit” Go To Foster

Brandit” Go To Foster

Brandy and Bandit have arrived at their foster home with long-time SAFE volunteer, Sarah V! A group of SAFE volunteers spent a sunny weekend day putting the finishing touches on the girl’s new home, and then it was time for the pair to arrive. They had a lovely first day at the farm, exploring and grazing in the sunshine alongside their new neighbors – a herd of alpacas. The little herd caused quite the stir with both girls, especially with Brandy, who watched them for hours.

A few days later, the girls were introduced over the fence to Duke, their foster brother, and expressed towards him the same curious, friendly energy. They even got to enjoy some turnout in adjoining grass pastures together. 

Another foster brother for them: Hopper the dog, just one letter away from sharing the name with their previous paddock mate, Topper the pony. Hopper provided them with a warm welcome, bringing his rawhide treat as an offering to the girls. According to his mom, this is his seal of approval! 

Overall, the girls are settling in very nicely at their new home, and we look forward to continued updates from their foster mom!

March Volunteer of the Month: Yasmin

March Volunteer of the Month: Yasmin

Congratulations to the March Volunteer of the Month, Yasmin! She has been working on the Wednesday AM team since May 2020 and quickly became a hard working, dedicated volunteer who is consistently reliable and shows up for her team. (And her team loves her!) Often noticing and relaying important information about our horses and property which is very helpful not only to our horses, but extremely helpful to the staff to have another keen watchful eye. We are lucky to have volunteers like Yasmin and are happy her husband helped her find SAFE. Read a little more about Yasmin below.

How and when did you first get involved with horses? 
I had some sporadic riding classes as a child and that was the extent of my involvement with horses. However, I’ve always loved them, so volunteering with SAFE was a great opportunity for me.

Do you have one now you want to tell us about?
I don’t own a horse. It would be a dream to have a horse one day.

What do you like most about volunteering with SAFE?
I love working with my team and interacting with horses.

Do you have a favorite SAFE horse?
I absolutely adore them all but if I have to choose I go with Mary, Pippi, and Echo.

What do you do when you are not horsing around with us?
I am a freelance UX designer, I work on different design projects.

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 found SAFE completely by chance. He’s the one who encouraged me to start volunteering for an animal shelter.

Jasper is Adopted!

Jasper is Adopted!

Jasper is adopted! Connie came to SAFE looking for a companion for her 19 year old mare, Poppy, who had recently lost her gelding companion. When she met Jasper, Connie immediately fell in love with his soft eyes.

Jasper came to SAFE in the summer of 2020 as a very nervous boy, easily startled and spooked. He had spent most of his life being passed from one home to the next and through no fault of his own, he became a challenging horse to deal with due to his lack of confidence and relaxation. At first we thought Jasper had the potential to be a riding horse, but we quickly realized the amount of stress wearing a saddle caused him was not fair. In his late teens, the damage and fears developed in his past as a riding horse appeared too great of a challenge for him to overcome. We made the decision to offer Jasper as a companion so he could live the rest of his life free of fear. He blossomed in our training program with his volunteer rider. We watched this handsome gelding go from easily spooked and hard to catch to seeking head scratches from people who passed by his stall window. Everyone fell in love with him and we are so happy Connie did too.

Jasper was headed to the Game Farm in Sequim, when a Good Samaritan stepped in to give him one more chance and contacted us. Now over a year later, he headed back across the Puget Sound to Port Townsend, where this time he will live a life free of worry with a big family of 4 donkeys, an alpaca, a llama and of course, Connie and Poppy.

The Tooth Fairy Visits Otto

The Tooth Fairy Visits Otto

Though his follow-up appointment wasn’t for another month, a few days after he returned from his check-in with Dr. Hanson, Otto decided he was ready to go back. His now characteristic bump was appearing noticeably larger, and after a call to the vet, it was decided that it would be a good idea for him to be seen again. So back up to Mt. Vernon he went.

(A brief sidebar here: we are so grateful for volunteer and driving master Jackie L, who volunteered both times to trailer Otto the three hour round-trip to the vet.)

Thanks, Jackie!

 

In Redmond, we waited for updates. 

The tooth fairy was smiling down on Otto, for when Dr. Hanson called, it was with the news that he was able to successfully extract Otto’s infected tooth from the inside – the best possible scenario. It meant recovery would be much easier, since there was not a need to open a hole in the side of his face to extract the tooth. Otto spent a few days at the clinic while Dr. Hanson evaluated the best packing for his cavity. We scheduled weeks of follow-up visits with Dr. Renner at Rainland to re-pack the area and ensure the healing process was coming along smoothly. 

Otto was seen three times for re-packs and checks, each time more healed than the last. He was to remain on the same course of antibiotics he was receiving until the cavity filled in at least 50% with granulation tissue. At his third check, Dr. Renner told us that the cavity was becoming more difficult to repack since it was closing up. Because of this, there was a good chance that the packing would not stay in as it once did, which would leave the cavity open to getting hay stuck in it. As this would inhibit his healing process, Otto temporarily switched to an all-senior grain diet – something he didn’t seem to mind at all! 

At his latest check, Dr. Renner declared Otto all healed up! He was cleared to come off of the antibiotics, and was given the go ahead to start eating hay again. Going forward, Otto will need dental checks every 6 months to ensure that his other teeth are doing well as he continues to mature. And though it has gotten smaller, the bump on his face will probably remain in some capacity for the rest of his life – not only a reminder of what he overcame, but a perfect indicator of where best to place a kiss.

Update on Chip and Dale

Update on Chip and Dale

Shortly after arriving at their foster home, Chip and Dale gave us quite a scare. The pair had an intake vet visit scheduled for early March, where they would get overall examinations including bloodwork to test for possible Cushing’s, lameness evaluations, and dental checks. But anyone who has ever owned horses knows that things often do not go according to plan, and a medical emergency required them to be seen a bit sooner than expected. 

Chip managed to get himself out of his dry lot and on to the grass, which caused a flare up of laminitis. He had previously foundered around a year ago, and upon intake was already appearing a bit sore, with his left front appearing a bit more so than the right. Luckily, a sharp eye by foster mom Laura had the wonderful vets from Pilchuck quick on the scene, where they put together a game plan for treating little Chip. 

They first took blood to check his kidney levels. His creatine levels were within normal range, so they were able to administer bute. His front hooves were wrapped in cotton, which seemed to help. Thanks to our wonderful network of volunteers, we were able to quickly connect with fellow foster Shellie, who, having had laminitic minis in the past, had a pair of boots she was able to lend Chip. He will be on bute for a little while to help with the discomfort, and going forward, his hay will be soaked to reduce the sugar content.

Dale is on a no-hay diet, as due to the worn-down grinding surfaces of his teeth, he is prone to choke. We are currently working with his foster mom to help find him a low-sugar senior complete feed. 

A few days after their unexpected vet visit, the pair were seen for the first of two non-emergency initial visits with Dr. King at Pilchuck. We scheduled Chip for a follow-up X‑ray to get an idea of the rotation in his hooves. Lateral shots revealed that he has a 26 degree rotation on the right, with the left exhibiting even more. Both of his hooves are sunken, with thin sole depth. He received a trim to help, with an aggressive bevel and leveling of heels on his left, and a bevel and toe trim on his right. The pair also had a bloodwork panel done, as well as tests for Cushing’s. 

Both will have dental checks performed during their next visit, and are scheduled to receive a flu/rhino booster. 

We are so very thankful for foster parents like Laura, who was quick to notice something was amiss with these two little ones and was in quick communication with us and the fabulous team at Pilchuck to get them the help they needed. 

With all intakes, there is a cost to get them set up with all they need, especially when it comes to veterinary care. In the case of some horses, these costs are higher than others. Our newest intakes, Chip and Dale, are one such case. They don’t get discounts for size! We appreciate Pilchuck’s assistance and generosity, but they are still a working business.

Mac and Domino in the Limelight

Mac and Domino in the Limelight

Our friends at the Limelight pet project stopped by last month to visit with Domino and Mac and learn a bit more about these two gentlemen! Their spotlight really highlighted the boys’ distinct personalities. Check out the video interview below! 

Help for Two Senior Minis and Their Owner

Help for Two Senior Minis and Their Owner

Recently, SAFE received a phone call from a senior in our community. Up until mid January, they had been in very good health. Sadly, they were in an automobile accident and ever since had been experiencing a diminished capacity on their left side. While waiting for more testing and doctor visits, they were unable to care for their two senior minis with the same level of care they had for many years. Being a proactive and responsible owner, they reached out to SAFE for assistance and to prepare in case they were unable to return to full health.

SAFE discussed at length their wishes and assured them the minis would be taken care of if they were unable to regain their mobility, or if they decided to sell their home to move closer to family out of state. Since this case was directly in line with our mission, we agreed to accept the minis as soon the owner was ready. Knowing that the stress of their future and currently not being able to care for their day to day cleaning needs, we arranged for a short-term solution and a temporary foster home. This would allow them to focus on getting healthy and not worry about the minis.

We set out to pick up the littles for foster and while visiting the owner made the very hard decision this should be a permanent move and they would release ownership to SAFE. Luckily plan B was quickly set into motion. The minis, now named Chip and Dale, loaded in the trailer and headed to their foster home. We are so grateful to have amazing people like Laura, their new foster mom, who was willing to open her home to these cuties! This is perfect example of the wonderful community outreach SAFE is doing, often behind the scenes, on a daily basis. Counseling, advocating, supporting, and assisting responsible owners looking to do better for their horses.

Huge efforts were made by our volunteers to make this transition possible. An enormous amount of credit needs to go out to their owner for thinking ahead and for making a tremendous sacrifice to ensure they are well taken care of for the rest of their lives. Welcome to SAFE, darling boys! More updates and information to follow about these CUTIES!!

Alumni Update: Misty

Alumni Update: Misty

Misty is doing amazing!  She is currently residing at Buck wood Farms as a lesson horse and is being ridden by a lovely lady Amber, who absolutely loves Misty.  Come spring, Misty’s adopter will be able to start riding her again as she is finishing school and has a more regular work schedule. In the meantime, however, her adopter still gets to spend plenty of time with her and treat her like the queen she is!

Alumni Update: Sierra

Alumni Update: Sierra

No matter the season, Sierra always has something she loves.  If it’s muddy, she loves to blend in with rolling in the mud and if it’s snowing, she just stands there to camouflage with her surroundings But, if there is a kicking ball, then it’s get up and go time! Here she is in each season!

 

 

 

Bath Day for Cramer

Bath Day for Cramer

Cramer was a very good boy for his first bath at SAFE. He has come a long way from the timid giant that arrived just a short time ago. He is coming along nicely in the halter work, and we have been able to complete his first dental, vaccines and worming treatments. Over the next weeks we hope to have his first farrier visit and begin walking him around the property. We were surprised to find out during his dental exam that he only 8 years old! More to come as this kind soul continues to get changes through SAFE’s horsemanship program. Cramer will be available for adoption after he is assessed and if all goes well, started as a riding horse.

Barb Needs a Knowledgeable Partner

Barb Needs a Knowledgeable Partner

Barb has a very strong sense of justice, so if you fail to release her immediately when she does the right thing, or add pressure that’s not meaningful, she’ll resent your poor timing. When you time up correctly and have good consistency of your feel and movements, Barb feels supported and can be the softest mare with a ton of effort to do the correct thing. Barb is comfortable being roped off of and would probably love to try her hand at sorting cows. For now, she’ll focus on herding the geese around SAFE’s property.  

Nyx is waiting to meet you!

Nyx is waiting to meet you!

Nyx is a 15-year-old big mustang boy standing at 16.0hh and he’s ready for an intermediate rider! He came to SAFE as a rescue in Washington, but he’s originally from Beatys Butte, Oregon HMA–a herd that is known to have traces of everything from Spanish mustang to draft-type breeds in their gene pools, the latter of which would explain Nyx’s stature and large, kind eye.

No doubt about it, Nyx is a handsome guy, but his size and a fairly crooked left front leg work against him when it comes to getting his weight off his front end. SAFE’s volunteers have focused on groundwork and attention to straightness under saddle, and he’s come a long way in just a few months of our horsemanship program. Nyx has a ton of try and lots of love for his handlers, he will need an intermediate rider with experience helping big horses free up their feet and find their balance.

Nyx has been a very gentle boy for our volunteers to handle, feed, and lead in and out of turnout–and he also plays nice in turnout, especially with a young mustang named Otto, whom Nyx has adopted as his little brother. Nyx is up to date on all medical care and has had regular worming and farrier care since coming into SAFE. He’s located at our Redmond, WA barn.

Fill out an adoption application at: https://www.safehorses.org/adopt/ or email questions to adopt@safehorses.org

Our Baby Rae

Our Baby Rae

Rae is doing very well this winter. She has been a good citizen with a few new members of her turnout herd. Rae keeps “her nose clean” in the herd and is never in the middle when things get energized. She is polite when meeting new horses and over all very easy to match up with others. In the field, as the other horses ran around getting to know the new members, Rae stood on a high spot in the field and kind of watched a bit in bewilderment. I think she decided they were all acting a little too dramatic and thought it best to stay out of their way. Of course, all was settled quickly and was a great example of a fairly well-adjusted herd citizen. She’s been raised well by her fellow horses and the proof is in the fact that she has little to no anxiety around meeting and integrating with new horses.   

George: Happy to get back to Work!

George: Happy to get back to Work!

George is officially ready to get back to work. He has been enjoying returning to daily turnout and is beginning saddle time this week! We are excited to once again reopen applications as he progresses to full riding workouts over the next several weeks. This guy needs a job and we are happy to give his mind and body something to do! More to come!

Jill Is Ready For Her Forever Home!

Jill Is Ready For Her Forever Home!

Jill has blossomed into a fun and reliable riding horse! This sweet mare is so fun to ride because she loves working with her rider and is forward and willing, but also enjoys working at a relaxed walk and is getting a pretty dynamite stop. While she’s still young, Jill is tackling every obstacle and new experience like an old pro. Given another year or so of riding experience, Jill will make a phenomenal kids horse, but in the meantime, her volunteer rider says she is the best horse she’s ever ridden! Jill has been to several clinics off property (including with Buck Brannaman in Ellensburg) and has been ridden on the trail frequently this spring. Don’t let her size fool you, this horse has big motion and even bigger heart. Jill could really go in any direction, but we feel she would love to be a trail horse and discover new areas with her person.

Alumni Update: Moon

Alumni Update: Moon

Moon is a companion horse and is best buddies with another draft horse, Goliath. She loves attention, especially being groomed. Recently, she has found a farrier who really understands her hooves and loves her hoof-pedis every 8 weeks, which has improved her pigeon-toed gait! Moon’s partner reports she has a super sweet nature!

 

 

 

 

safekeepers

 

 

Bandit’s Friends:

1. Jean-Claude A.

2. Kim D.

3. Susanne M.

4. Marti S.

5. _____________________

6. _____________________

7. _____________________

8. _____________________

9. _____________________

10._____________________

Every horse deserves at least ten friends! Even a small monthly donation can make a difference.

Click here to sponsor Bandit!