2022 grey Percheron mare
Type of Rescue: Animal Control Surrender
Intake Date: 9/5/22
Adoption Date: 11/16/22
Length of Time with SAFE: 2 months
ADOPTED!! by Carla
Camille is a 20yr old 18 HH 1600 lb Percheron mare who came to us with a very sad history. Her owner was working her to death as a carriage horse when Pierce County Animal Control stepped in and seized her. She spent 2 months recovering with a lovely foster family before making her way to SAFE. They helped her heal from horrific wounds and put about 300 lbs on her. It wasn’t long before we introduced her to Sebastian and the two became best paddock buddies. Both needed several mashes a day and were able to free feed on hay so the match seemed perfect. They two seemed to enjoy each other’s company and were always never far from each other.
We are so happy when Carla came to meet Camille, she decided almost immediately that Sebastian could come home too. Now these two live happily ever after with s few donkeys and a couple of our alumni, Renee and Angel.
It’s not often we get the privilege of adopting two of our horses together to the same home, so when we do, it sends “Ooohs” and “Ahhhs” throughout our community. Though Camille and Sebastian were only at SAFE a short while and their friendship was still so new, the volunteers and staff enjoyed seeing the two spend time together in their new besties paddock. Whether it was spending time simply standing next to one another or very politely eating their own mash meals 3 times a day, the two seemed very content and happy to be in each other’s presence.
Sebastian came to SAFE in August with another mare, Bijou, after the two were found abandoned at the Tree Farm in Arlington. Snohomish County Animal Control posted publicly searching for their home, but after no one came forward, they were released to us. Upon arrival, Sebastian was underweight, with swollen legs and sheath and we were worried about his long term health. Luckily, after multiple tests over the course of his time with us, nothing came up alarming. His sweet nature allowed us to offer our volunteers the chance to walk him around the property for very slow, ‘stop and smell the roses’ kind of exercise and daily enrichment. He enjoyed daily turnout with his former buddy, Bijou, and you would often find him laying down resting in the sun, instead of gobbling up every grass morsel, but he seemed happier just to be with another horse.
Camille arrived with a very sad history. Her owner was literally working her to death when Pierce County Animal Control stepped in and seized her. Covered in horrific wounds, and extremely underweight, she spent two months recovering with a lovely foster family, helping her heal and gain about 300 lbs! She was a very gentle mare, but on arrival was closed off and not interested in much at all. Everyone was worried, but after a week or so a brightness returned to her eyes and you would often find her in her shelter looking forward to her meal delivery service several times a day. At the end of summer, when we had to close off a portion of her paddock due to the rainy mud season and we needed to find this big lady more space. Luckily we had sweet Sebastian to introduce and that’s where the story starts to get even better.
Their amazing adopter, Carla, is not new to SAFE at all. In fact she adopted two bonded retired mares, Angel and Renee in October 2020. Carla’s property is full of senior horses and mules living out the rest of their days surrounded with friends on rolling hills, not being asked of anything except to enjoy the sunshine on their back, the crunch of grass and the companionship of each other.
After a casual conversation with our shared farrier, Daphne Jones and Carla recently losing her draft mare, this perfect match started to unfold. Carla shared that on a recent walk she had the thought if a draft horse was given to her, she would take it. She came home, pulled up our website and there was Camille. After talking with Daphne, she reached out to meet her and instantly fell in love. With tons of experience we couldn’t have dreamt of a better home for big girl. To our delight, when Carla met Sebastian, and without a blink of an eye, said “He can come home too!”
The two arrived to their final home on a gorgeous day the week before Thanksgiving. Both slowly took in their surroundings, Camille leading the way with Sebastian as her little mini me shadow. The next morning Carla caught the two napping next to each other in the sun. Shortly after, Sebastian had a roll and Camille trotted around bucking and leaping! After having such sad stories upon their arrival to SAFE, it makes our hearts melt seeing what a wonderful life the two of them will now have together. Thank you, Carla, for bringing these two into your herd and thank you, Daphne, for spreading the word about our sweet horses.
Camille and Sebastian could be styled as storybook characters in the furry flesh. Two older horses, brought together by virtue of poor circumstance, united under shared healing. She, an ex-carriage horse, standing at a cool 18 hands, a true gentle giant. He, whose past is entirely unknown to us, but whose last experience with humans before he arrived here was watching them leave him behind, stands a much smaller 14 hands, but no less sweet.
They first met via a shared fence line, though neither is predisposed to the dramatic, and they hardly seemed interested in the other. However, when we moved Sebastian away, it was clearly upsetting Camille, who kept a close eye on her little friend. But she shouldn’t have worried – Sebastian was only moving towards her, the two to become pasture mates.
Their introduction was completely uneventful — and I know I’ve said that before, but this time was the very definition of the word. We let them sniff noses on the halter rope first, and neither one seemed particularly interested in the other. When we let them off the leads, they calmly went about their separate (but loosely linked) ways. Sebastian went for a walk about, and Camille followed behind at a respectful distance, like a watchful older sibling with none of the associated rivalry.
The two were instant companions, and within the hour were peacefully sharing a meal time, going so far as to take bites out of each other’s grain pans. The next morning, Camille enjoyed a nap under the tree with Sebastian standing guard a few feet away. And then, not a day later, we caught the sweetest scene — Camille watching over Sebastian from under the cover of the shelter as he slept.
As herd animals, horses feel most comfortable when with a companion or two. There is safety in numbers, after all. Though they will sleep standing up, horses need REM sleep, which they can only get lying down. They don’t need much, but it is an important little bit. If a horse does not feel safe in its environment, the chances of them lying down and being able to relax fully decrease substantially. This is why it’s so important that we try to group horses up, so that they have a herd, or at least a buddy, to watch over them while they sleep.
Sebastian and Camille are not only each other’s buddies, but are each other’s protectors. Watching these two become such fast friends has been a complete boost of serotonin for us as we head into the rainy winter months, and we are kept warm with the thought that the two of them can find such comfort in one another.
For some time now, our herd at SAFE has been comprised of horses on the smaller side. Horses, and technically ponies. But it’s undeniable that there’s something about a big horse that really appeals to people. So when Camille showed up at SAFE, we were undeniably smitten. Looks aren’t everything – it was also her sweet and gentle nature that drew an adoring crowd to Camille.
We’ve had a few weeks to start getting to know this lovely mare, and have enjoyed every bit of time we’ve spent with her. She enjoys standing watch in her shelter beside her hay box where she has a good view of the road and her incoming lunches. I have taken her for some walks around the property to help with her mobility, and she certainly needs to learn a few things about respecting people’s space (we are so little and she is so big), but with each lap we do she grows a bit more confident and respectful of my space.
Her comfort in her mobility is something we are monitoring to ensure she has a good quality of life. It is clear from simply looking at her legs that she is not sound. One of her fetlocks is dropped, and she has various other issues in her limbs that makes movement uncomfortable. We have started her on equioxx to help her find a bit more comfort, and will continue to keep a close eye on her to ensure her discomfort is being managed.
Camille has done more than her time as a working horse. Had she not been seized, we can all but guarantee that she would have been working until the day she died – even with her body in the poor condition it was in. Now at SAFE, we can ensure that her future involves only care, love, and rest. Camille will not be offered for adoption as anything other than a companion horse. She deserves a retirement where she can be well fed, doted on, and taken care of without having to give anything in return.
For now, we continue to do just that. Camille has been added to our grooming program and seems to be enjoying the attention. We will soon see about getting her a horse friend to pass the time alongside. We sure are enjoying getting to know this big beautiful lady!
Welcome Camille to the SAFE family! Camille is a 20 yr old 18 hand, 1600 lb Percheron mare. Like many of our new intakes she comes to us with a very sad history. Her previous owner was literally working her to death as a carriage horse when Pierce County Animal Control stepped in and seized her. She has been recovering for the past two months with a lovely foster family. They helped her heal from her horrific wounds and put about 300 lbs on her before heading to SAFE.
Arriving at SAFE last Monday, she was greeted by volunteers eager to meet our newest gentle giant. She calmly unloaded from the trailer and dutifully followed Terry’s lead as she toured her new digs. Once unhalterd, she slowly munched the dried grass, pausing to look at the volunteers and staff discussing her new set up. She seemed quickly at home in the dried grass pasture where she hung out yawning and relaxing.
We continue where the foster family left off, treating her old wounds, sweet itch and keeping a watchful eye on her. For now, we are free feeding her, placing hay in different areas of the pasture to inspire a little movement which can help with the healing. We look forward to seeing this mare healthy and getting to know her sweet personality.