registered name: Chips of Rik O Shay (HAHR*1A315146 )
description: 1994 Arab/Appy cross
type of rescue: owner surrender
intake date: 2/10/2011
adoption date: 9/1/2011
length of time with SAFE: 6 months


Chip’s Story: Chip is one of 39 horses seized by Pierce County Animal Control after they were discovered living in filthy, deplorable conditions, trapped in stalls and paddocks piled high with their own waste, in barns with no light and no ventilation. The horses were in large part unhandled and they suffered from a lack of vet and farrier care. Chip, an Arab/Appy cross, was a breeding stallion, and is an extremely striking looking and handsome horse. Upon becoming a SAFE horse, he was immediately gelded. Sadly we determined that conformational flaws in Chip’s hind end would make it difficult for him to comfortably carry a rider, so we offered him for adoption as a companion horse. But what a wonderful companion he is! Chip loves people and is very kind, curious, and friendly. He gets on great with other horses, but he’s particularly fond of mares, and they of him! But he’s a complete gentleman, well behaved, not at all studdish. Chip suffered isolation and neglect in his previous life, and he definitely deserved a happy ending where he would be safe, well fed, and surrounded by friends. He found that with his adoptive family, and he is now living the good life on a beautiful farm in Kitsap County.

Godspeed, Chips of Rik O Shay

Godspeed, Chips of Rik O Shay

We received the sad news last week that SAFE alumni Chip passed away from cancer. He was a sweet boy and had a very loving family to look after him at the end of his life. Chip was one of 39 horses seized by Pierce County Animal Control in late 2012, and he lived a significant portion of his life as a breeding stallion. He came to SAFE and became a happy gelding, and finally got to enjoy a life of good care, clean air, and many friends, both horses and humans.

We’re sad that he is gone but so happy for the wonderful life he got to enjoy with his adoptive family on a lovely farm in Gig Harbor. His family never asked more from Chip than he could offer and they loved him even with his limitations. He was a gentle soul with a kind heart. We’ll always remember his soft low nickers to his lady friends. What a wonderful boy. He will be missed, but never forgotten!

Chip finds his forever home!

chip_05_17_13_03Chip has been a SAFE horse for a while…three years in fact…and we’ve had the opportunity to watch his transformation from a breeding stallion to the best and happiest gelding in the herd. And today we can happily announce that he has finally found his forever home! We couldn’t have dreamed up a better placement. Chip has a lovely 10 acre farm to roam, lots of good food to eat, a family with kids to play with him, good horse pals and even a few goats and pigs for him to get to know!

Andy and Mollie H contacted SAFE looking for a companion for their two horses, retired mare Paisley and riding horse Victor. They brought their daughter Elizabeth to visit Chip at his foster home. His inquisitive and gentle personality won over the hearts of the entire family, even the boys who aren’t into horses all that much.

It was Elizabeth who picked Chip. Just like us, she knows that her family will make sure he is well cared for and loved for the rest of his life. And what a good life that will be!

We are grateful to the everyone who has supported and helped Chip along the way. This long list includes the Pierce County Animal Control officers, volunteers who took care of the horses while they were held at the Frontier Park, Dr. Hannah at NWESC, all the wonderful volunteers at SAFE, and finally, the generous foster homes who cared for him over the years.

Chip has truly been a joy to care for and we are so very pleased that he is on to his next journey.

Chip’s First Day in Foster Care

Chip was moved from Safe Harbor to a foster home in the Maple Valley area, where he now shares a huge field with an older horse named Jesse. Here’s a video of his arrival and meeting Jesse for the first time:

Big man Chip!

chip_01_20_2015We are working to clear up some accesses and fungus in this sweet boy’s feet. He has been very good for the cleanings, poultice applications, and for wearing boots. His feet are looking and smelling much better! 

We also turned Chip and Finn out in the arena together. It was pretty funny to watch the two boys get as puffed up at they could to meet and talk about who was in charge. I think they spent more time nickering and making noises than playing and I don’t think either one of them really knows who is the leader!

if you don’t like the weather in Seattle…

…wait 10 minutes and something different will come along. Luckily the SAFE horses are friends in rain or shine!

A change of plans for Chip

Chip returned from foster care to Safe Harbor about a month ago and we had high hopes about getting him started in our training program. But with the chance to observe him in motion, we’ve seen some signs that a career as a riding horse might not be the best thing for this horse.

Chip has some conformational flaws in his hind end that effect his strength, stability, and flexibility. Specifically, when he puts weight onto his left hind leg, the leg itself twists a tiny bit, and if you watch really closely, you can actually see his leg muscles quiver as he struggles to stabilize it. Chip turned 20 at the end of June this year, and he’s also showing signs of stiffness in his low back and hocks, possibly caused by arthritis. Because of the weakness in his hind end, we don’t feel it would be fair to ask him to carry the weight of a rider on his back, even a small one. So we have decided to seek out a companion home for Chip in which he won’t be ridden.

Fortunately, Chip has many great qualities that will make him an excellent pasture ornament! For one thing, he’s a stunning looking creature who is lovely to look at. He’s also a real gentleman who is fairly easy to handle on the ground…apart from the occasional burst of excitement that flows from the Arabian side of his pedigree. He gets on well with other horses, geldings and mares, although he definitely has a soft spot for the ladies. But as we’ve said, Chip is a gentleman, and his affection for the ladies is kind-hearted, compassionate, and, well, gentlemanly! The girls at Safe Harbor find him pretty irresistible and he gets a lot of attention, so he probably wouldn’t do best with a mare who is overly amorous… But he exists peacefully with the more level headed gals.

Despite Chip’s physical challenges, he is currently pasture sound, comfortable, and happy, and if he’s not asked too much, he should remain that way for quite some time. If you’re looking for a great companion horse, take a look at Chip! He was badly neglected in his previous life, but he’s come through that ordeal and turned into a nice little horse. He certainly deserves the best of care for the rest of his life to make up for that. 

“Ok, so I have to tell on Lover Boy…He is currently dating two pretty ladies–Miss Emmy and Ms Karma–at the SAME time! It is pretty hilarious to watch him trying desperately to keep up with two younger mares. Emmy plays the cool, easy-to-love sweetheart while Karma really makes him work for her affection, finally giving in this week to his unending love. He sees Emmy at night–they are stabled next to each other–and Karma during the days in their adjacent turnouts. Karma and Chip were found nose to nose this entire week. I hate to break the news to Kai, who I think is completely unaware that Karma has a new boyfriend. As you can see it is a very tangled web of fall love at Safe Harbor. Very entertaining for us and better than the daily soaps. HA!”

Hello, Mr Chip!

Chip has been enjoying a lovely stay in foster, but this weekend, he returned to Safe Harbor to start training with Terry. We don’t think Chip’s been ridden much, if at all, so we’ll be starting with ground work training and go from there. It’s our hope that we can discover his hidden talents and get him on his way to a new home. He’s as flashy and handsome as ever, and he’s very well socialized too! Our sincere thanks to Heather and John Paul Andreini for taking such terrific care of him for the past several months!



Chip makes new friends

Here’s Chip, making some new friends and behaving like a perfect gentleman around the young 10yr old that was grooming him. He would make a great companion horse for another gelding. Low man in the order so he doesn’t try to dominate other horses. Since he was a stallion for so much of his life he would do best as a buddy to a gelding and not mares. He is a sound, healthy, easy keeper, who is easy to bathe, stands in cross ties, and stands for farrier and vet work. Help us find Chip a forever home with people to love him —- he is ready!

A visit with Strider and Chip!

I had the pleasure of visiting Strider and Chip at their foster home yesterday. Both boys are looking fabulous and enjoying the onset of sunny weather now that spring is here. Their foster mom, Heather, says that the two of them are best buds, and will stand as close to one another as they can, considering they’re in separate stalls. She can’t really turn them out together, because Strider, who really seems blissfully unaware that he’s gigantic, tends to play a little too rough. But just as good fences make good neighbors, the two of them are close pals.

Strider is a giant, goofy ham who loves attention. He’ll join right in on any conversation that occurs in his presence, as you can see in this video:

Strider’s hind fetlocks are wrapped, because he had to have some proud flesh removed. Strider tends to develop odd little sores on the front of his fetlocks, which don’t always heal that quickly. It’s a bit of a mystery, because Heather says she never sees him lay down, he just rolls. Whatever the reason, Strider is on paddock rest for the next few days while his legs are being treated, so he has a lot of excess energy. Heather says that Strider is amazingly good about letting her wrap and unwrap his legs. This is probably due to all the work that Brittney did last summer with the big guy, when she had an entire daily routine of scrubbing and hosing and wrapping she did with his legs. But Strider is also a sensible horse who understands and appreciates how much everyone tries to make and keep him comfortable. 

Heather has been treating his back with mineral oil to keep his skin moist, and I was quite surprised to see how much more hair growth he has now that the last time I saw him. A lot of it is still just peach fuzz, but hair is hair! 

Chip is also an amazingly social little guy — once we coaxed him out of his stall, he stood with us while we chatted with a bright and interested look on his face. He loves being petted and touched, and really seems to enjoy the company of people. He’s as handsome as ever. Heather says that Chip is her husband’s favorite and that he sneaks out to the barn to hang out with him!

Here are some photos from the visit:

Happiest holidays from Strider & Chip!

Strider had to leave his Monroe foster home with Sheridan and Austin with the onset of winter weather, since Sheridan’s barn has still not been rebuilt. We are so fortunate that our good friend Heather, who’s already fostering Chip, offered a place in her lovely barn for Strider to stay the winter. Strider and Chip hit it off immediately, and Heather’s barn cam shows the two friends chatting away long after lights out. 

Heather is definitely someone who embraces the holiday spirit, and Chip & Strider both took part in the fun! 

A new foster adventure for Chip

Chip has spent the past four months in foster care with three other geldings where he has learned a great deal about getting along with other horses, now that he is no longer a breeding stallion. It hasn’t always been easy for him, but he worked hard and eventually won the respect and friendship of his herd mates. Through it all, he was a good boy for his foster mom: easy to handle, friendly, outgoing, and well-behaved. He showed a lot of bravery in tackling new experiences, like living outdoors and interacting with other horses, and he made us very proud!

Last week, Chip moved on to the next phase in his new life. He’s ready to start getting more handling and human interaction now that he’s had time to adjust to being gelded and to unwind a bit and just be a horse. A long-time SAFE supporter named Heather contacted us with an offer to foster a horse on her new property near Bridle Trails, and it was decided that Chip would be a good fit for her. Chip was loaded into the trailer — hopped right in, in fact! — and headed to the Eastside to his new home.

Heather reports that Chip is doing great in his new surroundings, where he is the companion to her mare, Sis. “Chip is doing so great,” Heather tells us. “He has really settled in and sure loves my Sis. He stood so nicely for the farrier yesterday and gets more relaxed each day. We had a BBQ and pool party for all the boarders from Graystone today. He loved getting scratches and was quite happy to have the attention. I have attached a couple photos of him with some of the girls who came over. He really seems to love people and when he hears people in the barn, he comes in from the pasture to see who has come to visit.”

We’re very grateful to Heather and her family for giving Chip this opportunity, and look forward to hearing more about how he is doing!!!

Chip the Happy Gelding

Chip has made such great progress in the past few months and I can’t help but be proud of all his accomplishments, no matter how small they may seem. When he first came to my farm, he was very timid. He seemed to have some difficulty getting along with the bigger horses, not because he was behaving aggressively towards them, but because they were pushing him around. But given time, he has forged tentative friendships with the other geldings, and it’s pretty great to see him seeking out their company.

Towards me, Chip is a real sweetie. He’s very vocal and always has something to say. He’s very bright and friendly, and seems to enjoying being petted and even being hugged from time to time. He’s naturally very gentle and respectful of my space, and I never feel unsafe around him, even though he hasn’t had a great deal of handling in his life. He still likes his stall an awful lot, but things are much more pleasant in the barn because he now consistently goes outside into his paddock to urinate instead of doing it inside. Like I said, we celebrate the small victories around here.

I could tell from looking at him that he would occasionally enjoy a roll in the dirt (or mud) from time to time, but the first time I spotted him lying in the pasture enjoying the sunshine was a very special day for me. He really is a very brave horse, and you just have to admire him for everything he’s overcome since his rescue. I really hope that he continues to gain confidence as time goes on. He’s a pretty special horse.

From the Horse’s Mouth: Chip Update

If you follow Honeycutt’s blog, you know that he shares a lot of secrets about horses and their interactions. Today’s update on Chip comes straight from the horse’s mouth…

horses_mouth_iconToday I am thinking a lot about friends. I have two good friends who are Jay and Chance. Jay has been my friend for many, many years, and Chance is a newer friend of mine. When you see us you will know that we are friends because we might be trying to bite each other on the face, or we might be standing near each other taking a nap in the sun. Friends are very important for horses, which is why Chip is living with us now. Chip is a SAFE horse who was a stallion, which is a kind of horse that is used to make more horses. Chip is not a stallion anymore, but when he was, he did not get to have friends and play outside very much. Now that Chip is a SAFE horse, he gets to learn how to be a regular horse, and it’s up to me and Jay and Chance to teach him.

Jay and Chance are not very nice to Chance some of the times — they make mean faces and chase him away when he comes by to say hello. This makes Chip very anxious and when Chip is anxious, he trots around and around with his head sticking straight out and his little ears pinned flat. Mom doesn’t want Chip to be anxious so Jay and Chance have to stay in their own area, and now me and Chip are together in our own area.

Friends, pt 1

Friends, pt 1

I have to try hard to be nice to Chip, but he’s kind of weird and tells crazy stories that I don’t believe about his old life when he was a stallion. But I know that Chip needs a friend, so I try to be that for him as much as I can. Mom was so happy when she came out of her little house yesterday and saw us like this in our little houses————->

In the before times, we would both stand in our houses but on opposite sides. Being on the same side is a big step, apparently. Also it doesn’t take much to make Mom happy.

For all the latest news about Honeycutt and his friends, follow Honeycutt’s blog at

Honeycutt is also on Facebook at

An important part of the process

chip_farrier_04_12_2013Rehabbing a horse is a labor of love, and watching the amazing transformation that each of our horses goes through is the reward for a lot of hard work! There is so much that has to be accomplished before a rescued horse is ready for adoption, and so many people who play a role in turning that horse into a “good equine citizen” who will have a home for life. 

Today as I watched Chip getting his feet trimmed by my farrier — and behaving like a perfect angel — I couldn’t help but feel grateful for SAFE’s go-to gal Daphne Jones. Daphne has been trimming SAFE horses for many, many years. When a new horse comes to the rescue, Daphne is almost always the one who gets the opportunity to find out if that particular horse is going to stand quietly for a trim or turn into a tasmanian devil. She’s been first to trim all of the baby horses that SAFE has cared for, and she’s rehabilitated some pretty awful looking neglected hooves for us as well. You can say that Daphne is a farrier or a barefoot trimmer, but that’s really not the whole story, at least not where the SAFE horses are concerned. In a sense, Daphne is a trainer who prepares each horse for a lifelong experience of foot care. She has a gift for teaching a scared or squirrelly horse to trust her and to allow her to do what needs to be done. She builds their confidence, encourages them, praises them, and shows them that trimming is nothing to worry about or fight against. She sets them up for success, and sends them on their way to the farriers that they will meet in their future lives.

So watching Chip getting trimmed, I was reminded of just how much Daphne prepared him for today’s experience, making it safe, pleasant, and really not a big deal. I was proud of Chip, of course, and told him over and over again what a good boy he was. But I also felt very grateful that the SAFE horse have Daphne to help them master this very important skill. So thank you, Daphne Jones! You’re a wonder!

What’s new with Chip?

ChipIn order to make room at SAFE Harbor Stables for the return of Bucky B Lucky, we decided to give Chip a bit of a vacation and send him to the farm of SAFE’s Executive Director Bonnie Hammond, home of the infamous Honeycutt and Bonnie’s two OTTB gelding’s Jay and Chance. We felt it would do Chip some good to spend some time with some other geldings and have an opportunity to work on his social skills. 

Bonnie reports that Chip has been an absolute angel since his arrival at her farm. He’s very sweet, well-mannered, and easy to handle. In fact, she’s found that when he’s worried about something, he’ll actually run to her for help and protection! He’s very curious about his environment, and he really likes to explore his surroundings and smell things. He’s had some time in the pasture to trot around and even stretch his legs by sprinting at top speed. The first night he was there, he was a little frightened by the sound of the coyotes that live in the nearby gully, but he seems to have gotten used to the night noises. 

Chip’s interactions with the other geldings have been very encouraging. He’s interested in his new friends, and apart from making some strange grunting noise when sniffing noses with them, he’s done no squealing or striking at all. In fact, Bonnie has had to limit their time together not because of Chip but because her horses have all been a little agressive towards him. When turned out with Honeycutt, Chip spends a lot of time smelling Honeycutt (and licking his hocks??) and Honeycutt will tolerate this sort of attention for only so long. When turned out with her older gelding Jay, Jay will pin his ears and lunge at Chip whenever Chip wanders too close. And when turned out with 7 year old Chance, the two horses immediately set off galloping together…but Chip couldn’t handle the footing and fell down twice! So Bonnie is keeping him in his own paddock unless she’s outside to keep an eye on things. Overall, his attitude toward the other geldings is very good, but he’s so much smaller than they are that she worries about him. (He’s really such a sweetie that you forget he was a big bad stallion until just a short while ago!) As they get better acquainted over the fences, they’ll get more and more time to interact as a herd and teach Chip all about being a gelding, which will be wonderful for him.

Bonnie’s only complaint with Chip is that he uses his stall for a toilet, despite having full time access to a paddock, and he tends to make a huge mess that has to be cleaned up before each feeding time. But we can’t really fault him for that, since he was trapped in a stall for who knows how long before he was rescued. Bonnie is hopeful that he’ll soon discover the joys of peeing outdoors, and she is grateful to him for being gentle and well-behaved while his stall is being cleaned. Also she is the first to admit that she is very spoiled by horses like Honeycutt, who only relieve themselves in one far corner of the paddock.

Chip has also been suffering from some type of allergic reaction that started before he left SAFE Harbor, causing strange hives to form on his face and body. He’s been treated with Benadryl which has helped, and we’ve got our fingers crossed that things are now under control. 

All in all, Chip is proving to be a delightful little horse who’s a lot of fun to be around, and we hope the future has great things in store for him!

New horses at SAFE

SAFE has agreed to take four of the horses that were seized by Pierce County Animal Control in late September 2012 from a property in Graham, WA. Three of the horses were transported to SAFE and NWESC today; the fourth is currently still at Frontier Park where PCAC has been housing the horses from this seizure.

Conditions at the Graham property

According to the Pierce County prosecutor’s office, the horses were discovered when a DEA agent came onto the property to serve a search warrant. The agent contacted Pierce County Animal Control who found 39 horses, including ten stallions, living in deplorable conditions in three run down barns and outdoor paddocks. The horses were living in stalls with “excessive accumulations of feces and urine” and shelters containing piles of manure one to two feet high. Some of the horses were underweight, and many of them were suffering from severe and painful medical conditions brought on by their neglect. The majority of the horses appear to have had very little handling, and were difficult to even put halters on. They were also suffering from a lack of hoof care, dental care, and other necessary vet care.

The horses were taken to Frontier Park in Graham, where they were cared for and given medical treatment. The defendant petitioned for the return of his horses, and on November 9, a District Court judge allowed the return of 11 horses, based on evidence that he had sufficiently cleaned and repaired enough of the property to accommodate them. The remaining horses became the property of Pierce County on December 10. Eight horses were humanely euthanized by PCAC, five due to medical conditions and three due to dangerous behavior.

After careful consideration, multiple visits to Frontier Park, and consultation with the Animal Control officers and the veterinarian on the case, SAFE elected to take four of the remaining horses.

Chip, prior to AC seizure

Chip is an 18 year old Arab/Appy stallion. He is a strikingly beautiful horse with unusual coloring — he’s registered as a chestnut, but he’s greyed out in a very attractive fashion. Chip was delivered to NWESC this afternoon where he will be gelded. He’s a fairly personable horse who responds to pressure, picks up his feet when asked, etc. He’s also a pretty lovely mover! We have high hopes for this boy. Click here to see more photos of Chip.

Logan is a 17 year old Arab gelding, who has a large rectal polyp that has caused him a great deal of discomfort and pain for quite some time. Logan is scheduled to undergo surgery at Pilchuck Vet Hospital on Thursday to have this polyp removed. It is the hope of everyone involved that the growth can be successfully removed because Logan is a really sweet horse who deserves to be comfortable. He’s gentle and really appears to want to trust and connect with someone, but right now he’s still pretty fearful.

Skye is a 7 year old half Arab, half draft mare who is built like a tank. She’s already at SAFE Harbor, and she’s having a little trouble overcoming her fear and confusion at being in a new place and adjusting to having a stall with access to a paddock. Fortunately she is being cared for by kind and patient people who are letting her take the “baby steps” she needs. With lots and lots of consistent handling, we think she will come around.

Cameo is a 4 year old Arab mare. Like the others, she is shy and nervous, but she appears to want to trust. She’s had a corneal scratch which required daily eye ointment so her opinion of humans may be a little strained at the moment, but she’s another horse that we think will come around with time.

Pierce County is attempting to find adoptive homes for the remaining horses in their care. Unfortunately SAFE is now completely full and unable to take any more. Here is a link to the horses on the Pierce County website.

Chip Intake Photos