breed: 1993 palomino Quarter Horse gelding
type of rescue: City of Snohomish Animal Control seizure
intake date: 9/18/2015
adoption date: 5/5/2018
length of time with SAFE: 2 years, 7 months

ADOPTED!! by Erin G of Stanwood WA

Banjo (aka Joey!) was surrendered to SAFE by his owners on the recommendation of City of Snohomish animal control officers, who discovered the gelding had not received basic vet or farrier care for more than five years. Banjo’s hooves were terribly overgrown, but instead of having the “slipper feet” we usually see in these cases, his hoof walls were not curled under or split…they had just grown straight down until his soles were literally three inches off the ground. It was as if he was walking on cups! Banjo will always have hoof issues due to the neglect he suffered at the hands of his former owners. But with medication and weight control, we were able to keep him comfortable and happy. Banjo was adopted by someone who needed a friend for her mare after losing her other horse. Sweet Joey is very happy in his new home with his new friends!

Banjo was named by Ann R, who won the “Name a SAFE Horse” package at Heart of the Horse! Thank you, Ann, for giving Banjo a new name to start his new life!

Update December 9, 2020: Sad news. Banjo had to be humanely euthanized due to a colic that resulted in twisted intestine over his colon. His owner Erin was quick to see that he was in pain and have the vet there to help. He had a wonderful life with Erin and her mare Lenny.

Banjo & Finn visit Safe Harbor

Our WONDERFUL foster mom Carrie brought the Finn and Joey for a visit during the last Joel Conner clinic. She had this to report about the experience:

The boys both enjoyed their field trip out to SAFE for the Joel Conner clinic! They loaded into the trailer like it was no big deal, and even though neither Finn nor Banjo had been to the new barn before (or left my place for a year, except for walks on the Tolt Pipeline), they settled right into a dry lot next to the arena.

Banjo and I participated in the groundwork clinic in the outdoor arena while Finn stood by munching hay and whinnying–he was lonely being 20 whole yards away from his buddy. Joe was easily distracted as I’m pretty sure he’s never been in an arena with 10 horses before, let alone the new SAFE property, but we worked through the jitters and by the end, he had really sharpened up. We worked on him getting his feet moving under himself, which is hard for him due to stiffness in his hind end, and also some space issues–he was crowding me going right at the start of the clinic. Joel helped snap him out of that and we’ll keep working on it at home.

He was so relaxed by the end that he was falling asleep standing up, and he did his ridiculous eye-rolling, body-shaking yawns that he has a hard time stopping once he gets going. He makes the best faces.

Now for the foot report, since they’re both so special. Finn’s feet have much improved; he hasn’t been in Softrides for over a year. He mostly goes out barefoot and braves the short walk over gravel to his dirt paddock just fine. When we go out on the Tolt Pipeline for a walk, he wears his Easyboot Gloves. Joe’s coronary band issues have calmed with prednisone, and they look mostly normal now that the cracks have healed and his hair’s laying flat–even his flaky frogs with the deep crevices have evened out over the summer. His hooves themselves are super tough–no issues with chipping like Finn. It looks like we’re going to have a fast transition to wet fall weather so I’ll keep a close eye on things!


A Visit with Finn and Banjo

Jessica paid a visit to Finn and Banjo at their foster home. Here’s what she had to say about it:

As anyone at SAFE knows I jump at the chance to spend time with Finn, so I was very happy to finally get the opportunity to pay him a visit. Yes, while there I had to get my quota of Finn cuddles and kisses.
Finn and Banjo looked amazing. They are both incredibly sweet and quite handsome too! Carrie had them beautifully groomed.

Finn in still really cuddly and soft. I think he is a teddy bear and not a horse! Banjo is quiet and a bit more reserved but still affectionate.

Carrie had both of them trot and canter a bit. Banjo is very floaty when he moves! Finn was really more interested in trying to find grass from under the fence but still looked nice when he got moving. Carrie is doing an amazing job with both boys and all her love and care really shows. They both looked really happy. 

Here’s Finn:

And here is Banjo:

Health Update: Banjo

On December 21st, we took Banjo (aka Joey) up to Pilchuck Veterinary Hospital to perform a biopsy on his coronary bands. Joey, whose hooves were horribly neglected before coming to SAFE, has had swelling and extra hoof material built up on his coronary bands since his arrival at SAFE. We have done many different things to treat them topically but we’ve not seen significant improvement, leaving us to wonder if this might be an autoimmune issue or something we could treat with a medication such as steroids.

The biopsy is something we had not done until now, due to the expense. But thanks to a veterinary care grant that Pilchuck has given SAFE, we were able to make this decision without worrying about the cost. The hope was that getting this answer would help us possibly take even better care of Joey and also prepare him for adopters who would want to know what are the ramifications of his ongoing coronary issues.

The histopathology report showed no signs of neoplasia or immune mediated disease. This is GOOD NEWS! It means that there is nothing worse going on, and what we’ve been doing so far is the right course of treatment. We have to just keep making sure that his feet stay clean and dry as much as possible. Hopefully with continued care and nutrition, he will eventually heal himself. There is a chance that he may never fully have a “normal” coronary band but as long as it is not painful, he will continue to have a normal life.

Joey was such a good boy for the trip to Pilchuck and the procedure! He loaded without a fuss, and trailered well. This was a scary experience for this boy, but he was super brave and behaved himself wonderfully, which made the whole event easier. Joey is doing well at his foster home with Finn and gets lots of love and attention there. We hope that we can find this boy a permanent home as a companion horse soon. Now that better understand his coronary band condition, we hope he will catch the eye of a good adopter and find a home.

Go Joey Go!

After a couple of days cooped up inside by bad weather, Joey was feeling good, good, GOOD to get outside for a nice little jog! 

Foster Update: Finn & Banjo

Finn, Carrie & Joey (From left to right)

Finn, Carrie, & Joey

Here’s a wonderful update about Banjo and Finn from their foster mom Carrie!

Here’s a Finn & Joey (aka Banjo) update! 

Finn’s just as cuddly as ever. His feet have been doing well this summer and is spending most of his time out of his Soft Ride boots, though he’s very tender when barefoot on gravel for 2–3 weeks after his trim. We’ve been going on walks on the Tolt Pipeline trail, with the longest distance of 3 miles round trip (in his Soft Ride boots!) and while he seems to enjoy the change in scenery, he’d probably rather be eating hay.

Joey, on the other hand, loves taking long treks! He’s got a good motivated walk and seems to want to go on forever. He’s curious and brave–unlike Finn, he doesn’t try to hide behind me when we encounter something new–and when he spooks, it’s in place. He hasn’t batted an eye at bikes or dogs…but there was a scary traffic cone once!

Joey’s feet have improved quite a lot with the dry weather, and while they’re still not “normal,” they don’t seem to be sore, not even after long walks on the pipeline. His central sulcuses have dried out and his coronary bands are best on the front feet with the hair mostly laying flat with little to no swelling. We’re still working on the hind feet which have been slower to heal, due in part to his habit of stepping on his coronary band and re-injuring the area. (The skin that grows there is flaky and lumpy, and it’s easy to knock off chunks and cause bleeding. It’s clear it’s painful for him.) For the last few weeks I’ve been wrapping his hind with vet wrap and topping with bell boots and that seems to help both with the injuries and the healing.

I’m attaching a bunch of photos you guys can use. Joey’s really filled out and I was happy to see some dapples come through. The photo with Joey and Finn in the barn was taken when we had family visiting. They entertained three very excited little girls–Finn taught them how to groom, and Joey taught them how to give treats. 🙂



Foster Update: Banjo and Finn

Here are some great photos of Finn and Banjo (aka “Joey”) and their foster parents Carrie and Derek. They are taking wonderful care of these two boys. We are so lucky to have wonderful fosters to care for and love our companion horses!

Banjo and Finn: Foster Buddies!!

Like 2 peas in a pod! Banjo & Finn

Like 2 peas in a pod!

Banjo spent about a month at Safe Harbor Stables before heading out to a foster home with Finn. These two Palomino geldings are like brothers!  After a little “play fighting” to establish that Finn was the boss, they have now settled in and are good buddies.

This is the perfect foster home for Banjo and Finn!  Both horses need to be kept off the grass for the most part due to their tendency towards Insulin Resistance and the concern of foundering. Their foster home has a large dry lot for them to hang out in during the day and deeply bedded stalls to come back to at night. Perfect!

Their foster mom, Carrie, is taking excellent care of the boys and paying extra attention to their hoof care needs. Banjo’s hoof problems have been improving but there is still a lot of work involved in cleaning and treating it with anti-fungal and antibiotic creams.  

We are very grateful for Carrie’s efforts to get Banjo’s hooves healthy and for taking such great care of these two sweet gentlemen.


Photos of Banjo at SHS

Here are a few photos of Banjo while he was at Safe Harbor Stables for training and preparing to go out to foster:


Health Update: Banjo

BanjoWhile at Cedarbrook, Banjo is getting a special treatment on the Theraplate. This type of therapy helps increase circulation and promotes healing of hooves.  Lisa, Cedarbrook’s office manager, reported: “Banjo had his first Theraplate session today and he did well.  He was a little wary at first, walking on and off multiple times, but finally decided it might be okay to stand there for a while.”  We are hopeful that this treatment, along with other hoof care, will help Banjo feel better soon.

Health Update: Banjo

Recently, I visited with Banjo, who is still under Dr. Hannah Muller’s care at NWESC. He is doing well and will hopefully be ready to be released shortly.

Daphne Jones just completed Banjo’s second trimming and she reported that his deep fungus shows signs of improvement.  Still, we think it will take quite some time for a full recovery.  Generally, he’s been cooperative about receiving his treatment of triple antibiotic ointment and anti-fungal mixture.  It does take two experienced people to treat his hooves but they’ve managed to do so every day.  However, he did think the vinegar-soaking boot was going to kill him and he was having nothing to do with that!

The continued coronary band dystrophy is still a concern.  This is the area along each hoof where the hairline is pushed up due to the inflammation along the coronary band. X‑rays have ruled out any founder or rotation, which is a great relief. It is possible that this was caused by the distribution of weight on his hooves due to the upright angles on his hind and his long toes on the front.  It can also be an infection in the deep sulcus grooves.  We will continue to treat fungus on all of his hooves as well as the coronary band.

As we continue to monitor him over the next few weeks, there are a few other tests we can do if the irritation remains.  One possibility is a deficiency in Selenium, which can be determined through a blood test.  Banjo is currently getting well-balanced vitamins with Selenium added, but if he is found to still be deficient, we may need to use an injection to assist in bringing him to normal levels.  Another possibility is that the cause could be a rare autoimmune disease called Pemphigus.  We are hoping that the inflammation clears up soon, but if not, we will explore these other options. For right now, he is comfortable and the hooves are starting to heal.

Since he has completed his quarantine time and remains healthy, Banjo has been allowed out for a little turnout in the arena.  It was wonderful to see him moving around and even giving a few little crow hops for joy.  After Dr. Hannah extracted his infected tooth, his eating has begun to pick up, with is another good development. The extracted tooth looked horrible and most likely caused him a lot of pain.  I am sure he is feeling much better with it now out of there!

Lisa, one of our volunteers, and I spent some training time with Banjo in the round pen.  We asked him to walk at liberty and follow us.  At first, he was a bit shy, but after a little time he was following Lisa around like a little puppy and he became more comfortable with her reaching out to pet him.  It took a little time getting him to be okay with the halter but Lisa kept trying and he had a few successful on and offs with it.

All in all, I’d say he was coming along well and I look forward to working with him.


Banjo Vet and Farrier Update

Banjo had his dental done Tuesday evening. It took a lot of work and he had one tooth that had to be removed. It was infected deep into the socket. He is on bute for a few days to help with the pain. Hopefully this will help him start eating a bit better.

Banjo got his feet done over the course of a few days, with Daphne alternating fronts one day and hinds the next. Here are photos of his amazing transformation. He’s already feeling a lot better!

Banjo Update

Banjo is doing well at NWESC. He was a bit sucked up in his flanks on Friday and they think it was from de-worming. He’s been given some Probiotics and Banamine to help. He is also on a little bute to help with his hoof pain. He is soaking in apple cider vinegar each day and getting the triple antibiotic/ athletes foot cream injected into the deep sulcus of his frogs. He is not eating well and splitting a lot of food out. Dr Hannah will give him a dental this evening around 5pm.

New SAFE Intake: Banjo

Banjo was surrendered to SAFE by his owners on the recommendation of City of Snohomish animal control officers, who discovered the gelding had not received basic vet or farrier care for more than five years. The horse had gone unhandled for many years as well, making it tricky, but not impossible to catch him. He was immediately sent to NWESC to be evaluated. Banjo’s hooves were terribly overgrown, but instead of having the “slipper feet” we usually see in these cases, his hoof walls were not curled under or split…they had just grown straight down until his soles were literally three inches off the ground and it was as if he was walking on cups! Other than his hooves, teeth, and a mild heart murmur, Banjo was in decent health. His behavior, despite years without handling, was pretty decent as well. With a halter on, he has been easy to catch in his stall, and his reaction to being asked to move his feet, stand still, etc has been quite reasonable. He appears to be quite teachable, so we feel that with some refresher training, he could quite possibly be a nice companion horse for someone. Since his intake, he’s been trimmed by farrier Daphne Jones, and we are cautiously optimistic that he’s may be sound…so a future as a light riding horse is not out of the question for this fellow!

Banjo was named by Ann R, who won the “Name a SAFE Horse” package at Heart of the Horse! Thank you, Ann, for giving Banjo a new name to start his new life!

Intake Photos: