Breed: 2000 chestnut Quarter Horse mare
Registered Name: Fine China
Type of Rescue: Owner surrender
Intake Date: 8/10/2017
Adoption Date: 4/24/2018
Length of Time with SAFE: 8 months

ADOPTED by the Brill Family of Duvall WA

Cali and her five herdmates were surrendered to SAFE by their owner, who was no longer physically or financially able to properly care for them. The horses were in decent weight but had not had farrier or dental care in some time. Cali came in with a badly broken molar that was impacted and infected, that had gone undetected due to lack of dental care. The tooth was successfully removed by SAFE’s veterinarian. Cali was 17 years old when she was surrendered to SAFE, and we were told by her owner that she had never been trimmed, shod, tied, sacked, or ridden. Considering her rocky start in life, Cali did very well in her new environment with the help of patient handling and groundwork. Cali and her friend Rosie were adopted together by the Brill family of Duvall WA.

Adoption Announcment: Rosie & Cali!

Adoption Announcment: Rosie & Cali!

This past spring, SAFE had been called to help on several large intake cases. This filled our stalls and while we have a great medical staff to get our horses healthy and training program to prepare them for new lives, finding the right home takes time. SAFE was in a dilemma: we had some lovely companions that were ready to be adopted and horses in the community who desperately needed our help.

Eric had come to us about a year ago after purchasing a large property. He wanted to bring horses on the land but knew little about their care. We suggested he come volunteer at SAFE and start learning about horses and take advantage of our educational opportunities as well as learn from the knowledge of our staff and community. Eric spent the next months helping at Safe Harbor, coming to our herd health talks and participating in our horsemanship classes.

Fast forward to this spring and our full barn and horses waiting to come into SAFE. We called Eric up and told him the situation and he was willing to help. We met at the barn and walked from stall to stall visiting with the horses and talking about each of their personalities. Two that stood out were Rosie and Cali. They were already turned out together in the mare field and complemented each other. Rosie was older, calm natured and wise; Cali was younger, sensitive and devoted to a herd leader. After a few visits and grooming sessions, the girls were ready to move home.

Both settled in quickly and were a happy and bonded pair. Eric and his family love spending time with the girls. Both are very healthy and enjoy each other’s company. This is a wonderful retirement home for these sweet mares and they will have a wonderful life living out their days together in safety and comfort. It is a sweet life!

Training Update: Cali

Volunteer Phoebe has been working with Cali and took her into the recent Joel Conner clinic. Here is an update on how things are going:

From the Joel clinic:
The Joel Conner clinic in November was excellent! I got the gift of working with Cali Jane. She is smart, responsive, willing to please as soon as she understood what was being asked of her. Attending the foundations classes helped prepare me to communicate better with her, and for me, the best part of the clinic was when Joel showed me how to position my shoulders in order to have her feel comfortable trotting next to me. I love that he explains how the lessons taught now, will be utilized later in the horse training & development. Priceless lessons.

From after the clinic:
I worked with Cali yesterday for an hour or so — it wasn’t raining so we were outside arena mostly after a good brushing & picking all 4 hooves. Nice change up. She gives me her fronts fairly easy — she is hesitant about giving me her backs, but after a couple attempts she gave them. She is doing so much better moving into a trot & staying with me if she is on my right, not so much when she is on my left, so we worked on that, changing speeds, side passing, unified circle — she did good despite the distraction of the nearby horses. Then we went into the arena, I have been having the flag with me, but rarely using it cause she is so sensitive to that pressure, but after Friday & yesterday, she is beginning to stand calmly while I pet her with it. She still startles & needs to move at times but overall is much calmer with it.

Getting to know Cali

SAFE Operations Director Terry Phelps has been spending a lot of time recently with the new horses at SAFE. Here’s what she has to share about Cali:

This roan mare is really starting to grow on me. She was a bit shy and flighty at first but I’ve found that once she gets past her initial fears she relaxes and her whole body changes. It is taking less time for her to get there each time I work with her so she is making good progress. She is one of the most sensitive horses I have worked on the ground using the flag. I am taking things slow, introducing the flag at a distance she is comfortable with…the first day it was from across the entire round pen! But we will get there and I know these small breakthroughs and good changes along the way will make a huge difference in her ability to trust people.

I will be honest, at 17 and as sensitive and reactive she is, it will take some time to start her as a riding horse. I think her fears are deep set so it will take some time to lay a new foundation of good experiences. We will take our time and let her tell us how quickly we can take things.


We made a sad discovery last week during Cali’s dental float: one of her upper teeth along the right side is broken and has been for some time. The tooth was crammed full with rotting hay.…yuck!. We immediately put her on antibiotics and scheduled an x‑ray, which showed just how bad the break is. Dr. Renner at Rainland Farm Equine will be performing the extraction of the broken tooth. He said that it might end up being a two part extraction but is confident he can get it all removed and make her a whole lot more comfortable. The extraction is going to cost us between $900 and $1200 but it has to be done and it will make her much more comfortable. It will also allow any infection to clear up. She has been very good for all the handling. During some of the work she has put her head near me and her eyes get very soft and she nuzzles me. I know she knows we are trying to help and I hope soon she will feel better.

And here is a little about her from one of our volunteers Barbara:

I’ve had the opportunity to walk Cali a bit and hang out with her while she’s getting her meds. Over the past week, she’s been on antibiotics that have to be delivered rectally to avoid gastro distress.  Wow, this lovey mare has been incredibly compliant and willing to put up with our treatments.  She’s a fine citizen and I’m really happy that she’s now getting the proper care and attention she deserves.

Farrier day for the new horses

Farrier Daphne Jones came out today to work on the badly neglected hooves of our new horses. She was able to trim all of them, except for Angel, who was very reluctant to have her hind feet handled. Daphne worked with her to get her more accustomed to having her hinds picked up, and will be back out very soon to attempt another trim. The good news is that as bad as their feet looked when we picked them up, Daphne was able to make everyone’s hooves look relatively normal again. With proper hoof care, these horses should remain sound.

Six new horses to introduce

SAFE has recently taken in 6 new horses. They were surrendered to us by their owner, who was no longer able to care for them, due to physical and financial set backs. The horses were all in decent weight, but had not received farrier or dental care in many years. Most had extremely overgrown feet, causing lameness and discomfort. Two other horses belonging to the same owner were humanely euthanized due to pain and old age.

Our decision to take these horses was based on several factors. We felt that without our intervention, the horses would continue to suffer, and were likely to become thin once winter set in. We also have reason to believe that there was a genuine risk that one or all of the mares would be impregnated, either accidentally or intentionally.

The six horses now reside at Safe Harbor in Redmond. Valor is stalled at night and spends his days in a private paddock. The other five are living together in a small pasture where they can be safely quarantined from the rest of the herd.

3 year old QH stallion, now a gelding
11 year old QH mare
dam of Valor
27 year old QH mare
dam of Cosmo
13 year old QH gelding
son of Angel
  CJ (Calamity Jane)
17 year old QH mare
19 year old QH mare