description: 2005 dark bay draft cross mare
type of rescue: King County Animal Control seizure
intake date: 1/19/2010
adoption date: 3/7/2011
length of time with SAFE: 2 years, 2 months

ADOPTED!! by Eileen D

Delilah was one of five horses seized from their owner by King County Animal Control because of neglect. Animal Control officers found numerous dead farm animals on the property, and those who survived, including the horses, were living in mud and manure more than a foot deep. Delilah came to SAFE underweight, with overgrown, chipped hooves and a mouth full of ulcerations from lack of dental care. She was also approximately nine months pregnant.

Delilah gave birth to a healthy colt on March 26, 2010. She had some initial problems allowing the youngster to nurse at first, but within about a day and a half, she was allowing him to nurse without intervention, much to our relief. Sampson was a strapping baby boy with a lot of energy who kept his mom on her toes until he was ready to face the world on his own. Once he was weaned, Delilah was ready to start a new life as a riding horse, and was sent to Andrea Lucianna to be started under saddle. She did so well under saddle that one of Andrea’s students decided to adopt her and kept her in Dressage training with Andrea. Delilah qualified to compete at the dressage regional championships at both Training Level and First Level.

SAFE Alumni at the SAFE Show!

It was so delightful to have six former SAFE horses come out to compete at this year’s SAFE show. We love nothing more than seeing our old friends again, and nothing beats seeing them shine in the show ring! Thanks to these lovely photos by Karen Wegehenkel, you can share some of their stellar moments:

Strawberry Shortcake, also known as Maggie

Stella and Maggie were sailing high in the hunter arena! The pair took home 4th and 5th place ribbons in some very large classes, and were quite impressive together!

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Miss Hot Too Belle of the Ball, also known as Bella or Opal

Bella and Lys competed in the English arena, winning ribbons in Halter, Walk Only, Walk Trot, and Walk Trot Canter!  This pair has come a long way in the last year!

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It was simply delightful to see Lucy again! She was an all-around horse at the show, competing in English, Western, and Trails with her adopter Diane. As you can see, Lucy is just as cute as ever!

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When we heard that Jenny Lucianna would be bringing River to the show to perform their Musical Freestyle routine, we were not prepared for what a treat we were in store for. Their performance was magnificent to say the least, and it was awesome to see our boy shine on the dressage court in partnership with his new owner. We can’t wait to see more!

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We were also treated to two incredible performances from Andrea Lucianna and Delilah, who demonstrated their prowess at First and Second Level. Then Delilah’s  adopter Eileen took over the reins and rode her Intro Level test wearing a SAFE Show t‑shirt! Spectators could not believe that this magnificent mare was a formerly neglected rescue horse, and we’re so pleased that we got the chance to share her story!

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We don’t have any photos to share yet, but Nicole and Annie dropped in at the show on Sunday to compete in the Western ring. The pair won 2nd and 3rd place ribbons in the Walk/Jog classes, and looked lovely together!!

KING‑5: Rescued neglected horse set to compete in equestrian event

Rescued neglected horse set to compete in equestrian event
Posted Sept 20 2013

A neglected and near-starved horse that was rescued three years ago by King County animal services is now thriving and set to compete in an equestrian competition this weekend.

Delilah was one of five horses seized from a southeast King County farm in January 2010. Officials found the then-pregnant, underfed mare standing in knee-deep mud. Other animals on the farm were also in various states of neglect; some died or were euthanized. The animals’ owner was cited for animal cruelty and fined.

Regional Animal Services of King County (RASKC) took in Delilah and, with the help of Save a Forgotten Equine (SAFE) in Woodinville, rehabilitated the horse and gave her a new home. Shortly after her rescue, Delilah gave birth to her foal, named Sampson. Both have been adopted by families.

Screen Shot 2013-10-06 at 6.41.05 PMWhile in our care, she put on muscle and now looks like a completely different horse,” said Bonnie Hammond, SAFE Executive Director. “We recognized Delilah’s natural talent during her recovery, and we are thrilled to see her now competing in dressage.”

Delilah and her rider will be at Donida Farms in Auburn this Saturday afternoon for the Region 6 Dressage Championships. In dressage, considered an Olympic sport, a horse and rider perform a standard series of movements designed to showcase the horse’s athletic ability.

All of us at Regional Animal Services will be cheering for Delilah,” added RASKC Manager Dr. Gene Mueller. “To see her thriving now is very rewarding.”

Mueller says financial support from pet licensing fees and donations from the public allows Regional Animal Services to help animals like Delilah.

For more information about Regional Animal Services of King County, visit To learn more about Save a Forgotten Equine (SAFE), go to

KING 5’s Liza Javier contributed to this report.

Delilah — Adopted!

Congratulations to Eileen D. of Everett, WA on her adoption of Delilah!  Eileen takes lessons with our trainer, Andrea Lucianna, and fell in love with Delilah while she was in training.  Eileen had to put down her wonderful gelding, Spencer, last year due to a suspensory injury, and she didn’t think she would ever find another horse to fill that hole in her heart, and then she met Delilah.  Delilah will remain in training with Andrea and be boarded up at Half-Trak Farm.  We are so excited about this match and very happy for both Eileen and Delilah!  You can read Delilah’s entire history at SAFE by clicking here.

SAFE Journal — Feb 12, 2011

Another busy day at SAFE! This morning Allison, one of our volunteers and myself hauled Annie and Zanadu up to the Evergreen Fairgrounds in Monroe where they participated in an event for the Snohomish County 4H called Equine-O-Rama. Dr. Hannah Evergreen gave a talk about her non-profit, Northwest Equine Stewardship Center, and talked about the process of rehabbing a rescue horse. I spoke a bit about SAFE and Geri Vincent from Equine Aid was also present with one of her rescue horses, Scarlett, as well as her donkey and mascot Petey.  Annie was a superstar and absolutely loved the crowd of admirers that gathered around her after the talk.  Zanadu also got a lot of attention, although she was perplexed as to why we hauled down there just to stand around and thought we really should be doing something.  She also was VERY interested in Petey!

While we were busy at Equine-o-Rama, our volunteer Abby gave a farm tour and talk for a couple of students from Bear Creek School’s Equestrian club.  Thank you Abby for handling this for us since we couldn’t be in two places at one time!

Tia seems to have settled down and is no longer agitated as long as she is in her stall, but her left eye is still bothering her quite a bit and very swollen and oozing.  She may have banged it during her bout of anxiety, or its possible she is having a uveitis flare-up.  It is also possible that her anxiety is caused by the fact that she is losing sight in her left eye as well.  For now we have held off on giving her the steriods and are hoping that she remains calm.  The good news is she couldn’t be in better hands at NWESC.

Delilah and Baxter both went on trail rides this week at the Pilchuck Tree Farm!  Both did great, Delilah was relaxed and on a loose rein and Baxter was also extremely good.  Sara was able to ride him in a lesson on Thursday, he gave her one buck at the canter but she rode him through it.  Delilah did have one mishap with her rider this week.  She doesn’t like cantering to the left much and her steering is still kind of rough, and at one point she decided to flip her leads (a clean change!) and just go right and her rider continued going left without her.  Oops!  But her rider landed on her feet and Delilah just cantered on to the right seeming not even to notice she had lost her rider.  No big deal, just get back on and back to work!

Corona is doing very well.  Dr. Hannah has spoken to the vet who saw him earlier this week and she feels like the injury is relatively minor once we get the infection under control.  We have had several people contact us that know him from his show days and received the below pictures of him.  Doesn’t he look wonderful?  We have high hopes for his adoptability once he finishes his rehabilitation and is ready for adoption.

Lastly, we have heard that the PBS story on Bucky B Lucky will air on Friday, February 18th, at 7pm.  This will be on channel 9 and in HD on channel 109.  We are hoping to set up some viewing parties for those that want to get together with other horse folks and watch it with us, so more on that soon!

Training Update on Baxter & Delilah — Feb 12 2011

Delilah and Baxter both went on trail rides this week at the Pilchuck Tree Farm! Both did great, Delilah was relaxed and on a loose rein and Baxter was also extremely good. Sara was able to ride him in a lesson on Thursday, he gave her one buck at the canter but she rode him through it. Delilah did have one mishap with her rider this week. She doesn’t like cantering to the left much and her steering is still kind of rough, and at one point she decided to flip her leads (a clean change!) and just go right and her rider continued going left without her. Oops! But her rider landed on her feet and Delilah just cantered on to the right seeming not even to notice she had lost her rider. No big deal, just get back on and back to work!

Delilah Update — Jan 20 2011

Delilah is coming along beautifully in her training and is going walk/trot/canter under saddle. Today we put shoes on her as she has been a little footsore ever since the ground was frozen. She immediately was moving much more comfortably. The trainer called me today and said that her and her mother (who owns the farm) have really taken a liking to Delilah and think that she might be a good match for a couple of her students as a potential adoption. They wanted to offer Delilah another month of free training and 1/2 off the board, so that they could get Delilah a little further along in her training and give her students a chance to ride her in lessons. We were of course thrilled with the offer! Delilah will therefore be staying at Half-Trak Farm in Stanwood at least another month, but we are currently accepting applications for her! Her adoption fee is $1000.

Seattle Times: Animal-cruelty charges filed against Enumclaw woman

Animal-cruelty charges filed against Enumclaw woman
by Christine Clarridge
Originally published Friday, March 5, 2010 at 2:53 PM

An Enumclaw woman who has been blamed for the deaths of more than two dozen farm animals over the course of two months was charged Friday with two counts of first-degree animal cruelty.

If convicted, Karen E. Thomas, 46, would face up to a year in jail, prosecutors said. According to prosecutors, King County Animal Care and Control officers were first called out to Thomas’ property in the 23500 block of Southeast 448th Street in November and found a dead horse, a dead sheep, 10 dead chickens and nine emaciated horses. A veterinarian found that the nine starving horses were too sick to save Read the full article at

Delilah Update from Dec 1 2010

Since Delilah’s adoption did not work out, today we sent her up to start training with our trainer. I think she’s going to be a super nice horse, just need to be mindful of her alpha status and her size with other horses. She loaded and hauled perfectly…can’t wait to hear the reports of how she does under saddle!

Delilah Update from Oct 25 2010

Unfortunately, Delilah got into it with the other dominant mare in her foster-to-adopt situation and Delilah did a bit of damage to the other horse. The other horse will be ok, but as Delilah clearly isn’t going to work out in her herd long-term, Delilah is once again being made available for adoption. She will continue to be fostered at her current location in Sultan. During the time she has been there she has already done quite a bit of groundwork with Delillah in the roundpen and has generously offered to continue her training and start her under saddle. 

Click here to view videos of Delilah being worked on the ground at her foster home:

Delilah Update from Sept 6 2010

Sampson was weaned today! It was the most low-drama weaning ever, we put him in with Lola and Bubbles and he was so busy running around and playing with them he didn’t even notice Delilah leaving. I think he called once and it was over. Delilah was more than happy to leave him and is now off on her own adventure, on a foster-to-adopt situation!

Delilah Update from June 25 2010

It’s been a while since I have given a Delilah and Sampson update! I will work on getting new pictures this weekend, he is GINORMOUS! He’s a little monster but a cutie…and he is TURNING GRAY!!! Lots of white hairs all over his face and ears where he has shedded out. He is now just over 3 months old, can you believe it? I have decided that he will be weaned at 4 months, a bit earlier than I like to do it but he is really sucking the life out of poor Delilah, who is eating and eating and still looks skinny. He’s very independent and she’s not really all that interested in being a mother anyway, so I think it will be fine. Delilah already has a couple of people interested in her!

Delilah Update from May 25, 2010

Delilah did end up getting her teeth done today, and we figured out a way to do it with Sampson by doing it just outside the fence where he could still see and touch her and he was perfectly fine with that. She had quite a few sharp points and also one small wolf tooth which was removed.

Delilah Update from Apr 8 2010 and April 19 2010

Sampson got his own photo essay this morning. He’s strong in mind and body — and there is not a shy bone in there — he takes after Delilah in that respect. Jet and I tag teamed on the attention, or all the pictures would have been closeups.

I wish the sun had been shining like it is this morning (in Seattle, anyway), because he did some amazing sprints but it was hard to photograph! He is thoroughly paparazzi-despooked already, fortunately, and didn’t mind the flash one bit.

There are some more pictures on Facebook too.

Video from April 19, 2010:

Delilah Updates from Mar 27 2010

7:23 am:

Unfortunately, Delilah is not taking to motherhood as well as we had hoped. I have been up every two hours all night because she will not stand to let him nurse without being held and forced to. Dr. Evergreen was just here to do the iGg test and he looks healthy, but we are concerned. Delilah gets agitated when he starts chasing her around trying to nurse and has swung her butt at him and acted alternately protective and aggressive. Our vet is going to consult with the repro specialists at Pilchuck to discuss options. In the meantime, we may need extra volunteers on hand to handle feeding shifts.

I am now beyond exhausted, but if I hadn’t gotten up every two hours, she wouldn’t have let him nurse at all. :-(

12:44 pm:

We consulted with Pilchuck and they said that this will probably resolve in the next 48 hours, and if it doesn’t, it probably isn’t going to resolve. But she’s not out and out rejecting him, she just doesn’t want him to nurse. If I hold her, she resigns herself to it fairly quickly, but if I don’t then he just chases her around and when he gets anywhere near her side she pins her ears and swings her butt INTO him (knocking him over, into walls, its pretty scary to watch).

Yes Chelsea, I expected this and was prepared for it for the first nursing and used a chain on her for that, and she was squealy and kicky as expected, but I wouldn’t have expected it to last this long. The poor mare is streaming milk and I just wish she would realize how much better it would feel if she would just let him nurse whenever he wanted.

12:52 pm:

Thanks to everyone for the offers to help and suggestions with our mare and foal. Right now we have things covered and as Delilah is a bit protective/nervous I would ask visitors to hold off for a while. We’ve had a lot of people just dropping by to see the baby and I think it would be best if we limit visitors for the time being. Thanks for your continued help and support!

10:51 pm:

If you haven’t seen the update on Facebook, Delilah started letting him nurse without intervention late this afternoon. So far, she’s continued to do so although sometimes she still isn’t in the mood initially but after walking away from him a few times she resigns herself to it and stands. I do think, and the vet concurs, that if we hadn’t intervened the baby may not have lived through that first night. Either he would have been incredibly weak, with a very low iGg score and require plasma, or he would have been injured or killed by her. Every time I would leave them alone, go take a nap for two hours, wake up and watch them on the camera hoping for the best, and every time I would see the same thing…and increasingly frustrated colt chasing momma around the stall, and a mare who was getting more worked up and aggressive towards his efforts, and I would finally have to run out there to get her to stand to nurse the colt both to get him fed but also for his own protection. He would be so hungry by then he would nurse for 20 minutes straight and then immediately lie down and crash. Now that she is giving him more consistent access, he nurses for only a couple of minutes at a time.

In any case, I am hopeful that the worst is over. Bonnie drove over from Silverdale and arrived just as she started letting him nurse on her own. She just left and I actually turned the light out in the barn to really let them rest by themselves tonight. I feel comfortable now leaving them alone now, but definitely not last night or today. We also were able to give them a little bit of turnout time in the arena today and I think Bonnie took some video of that. He’s back in the stall tonight because it started getting really windy and cold out. He’s adorable and so sweet and curious!


Here you go…many more pictures to come but I need to feed horses, myself, take a shower, eat, and maybe take a nap first. But mom and baby are doing great and he’s a healthy, strapping big solid dark bay colt. He’s been up, nursed, and all the things he’s supposed to do. Vet will be by at 5am (yes, you read that right! Has to be between 8–12 hours after birth) to do the iGg test and check them out.

Click here to view the complete photo album of the colt’s birth!

Foal Watch 2010

March 24

Nope…no foal…! But man, that is one big mare and she can make one HUGE mess! Have I mentioned how much I hate cleaning a stall bedded with straw? UGH! And she is drinking about 6 full 5‑gallon buckets of water every day and then peeing it all back out about every 20 minutes. I have pelleted bedding underneath the straw to help absorb all the urine but its ridiculous how wet and disgusting her stall is by morning, and I clean it several times a day, including right before I go to bed. Today she is the same, relaxed, but looking uncomfortable. Lots of crusties on her teats today but no active dripping that I can see.

March 25, 10 am

Still no baby! We had some restless activity last night…a little bit of kicking at the belly, pacing…but nothing. She has huge globs of crusted milk on her teats…its gotta be soon, right? I wish she was a mare that would allow her udder to be touched, and I had one of those milk test kits…but unfortunately she’s not and I don’t, which means, we just have to keep waiting and watching. She’s got all the signs…squishyness around the tail head, limited tail-clamping ability.…hopefully soon!

March 25, 10 pm

Ok I will probably regret saying this but I really, really think she will go tonight. She’s dripping milk when she walks, her udder is huge, she’s periodically kicking at her belly, turning around and looking at/biting her belly, and tonight she had some cow patty manure instead of the nice firm manure she had before. I’ve got her stall all cleaned (once again), waters full, fresh straw down, a big pile of hay, and now the plan is to leave her alone and monitor from the house. She’s quiet now and eating her dinner. But I really, really think she can’t go much longer.

March 26, 12:39 am

I am convinced she’s in labor now. VERY restless, lots of kicking her belly and staring at her sides going on now. I’m dying to go clean the poop out of her stall that I can see on the camera, but holding off because I want to give her as much peace and quiet as possible so she’ll DO THIS THING!

March 26, 9:30 am

Well I knew I would jinx myself if I said that! After all that pacing, pawing, kicking.…she settled down and was mostly quiet the rest of the night. Still no baby. My newest prediction is.…August. She’ll have the baby in August. *sigh*

March 26, 11:30 am

They do not induce horses, but yes I would assume she is having some early contractions. I took a couple of photos this morning of her udder and the splashed milk down her legs. We now need to worry about the loss of colostrum because she’s been losing so much milk, which may mean the baby will need plasma to get the antibodies she should have gotten from the colostrum. We’ll need to make sure we do the IgG test on the baby right away after he/she is born.

March 26, 2:42 pm

We had a quiet morning but she is back showing signs of active labor again…butt pressing, kicking, and acting like she wants to lay down. Timing isn’t great since I am trying to balance work and watch her at the same time, but at least I am done with meetings for the day, finally.

March 26, 6:20 pm

OK, any time now…she’s been in heavy labor for a couple hours now…no more resting. Been pacing and pacing and trying to go down. Very soon.


Delilah Update from Mar 20–21 2010

Hoping to get some updated photos of Delilah today. She’s bagging up and getting close I think. She’s huge and uncomfortable and has lots of edema under her belly and between her front legs. Yesterday she got a little excited and tried to do a little head flip/mini rear and her hind end went out from under her and she fell down…poor girl just has no coordination right now. I’m not technically on foal watch yet, but I have her separated in her own pasture and took her blanket off just in case. I’m going on vacation April 5–11th, so I would really appreciate it if she would either give birth before or after I am gone!

I think we are going to have a baby soon…we have dripping milk! She’s totally quiet now and eating her breakfast but I wouldn’t be surprised if she has the baby in the next 24 hours.

We’re ready! We did a quick job of taking out the wall between my stalls and making her a birthing suite, put down straw, got her tail wrapped, the foal cam set up and working in the tv in my bedroom, and she’s happily eating in there right now and seems quiet.

Delilah Update from Feb 20 2010

Is Delilah looking more pregnant or what? Now 4 1/2 weeks post-rescue:

Delilah Update from Feb 10, 2010

She’s doing great! She’s such a sweet girl. When we groomed her last weekend the baby was all on one side and she looked huge on that side, flat on the other. I wish we had some idea of when the baby might be due, but we’ll just have to keep watching her udder for changes and hope she waits until spring and warmer weather.

Observations on Delilah

Excerpt from “Hoofbeats Across My Heart” by Jeannette Parrett

All of the mares are getting noticed on the SAFE message board but Delilah seems to be stealing hearts left & right. I’m not sure if it’s her maternal status or the fact that she looks like a giant teddy bear. Her photos don’t necessarily show her ravaged body. The pregnant body and long winter fur (or long parasitical evidence?) disguise her neglect at first glance but when you get up close to her the protruding bones and lack of conditioning tell a very different story. In fact, Monica first brought to my attention what appeared to be some kind of growth on her shoulder, until we determined it was actually her shoulder bone. For those of us who have fairly normal horses, you can’t just wrap your fingers around their shoulder bones and hold on to it like you can with this mare. 

I’m not sure anything prepares you for this, no matter how many times you see it in different cases. This particular case has it’s own distinctive set of moments that just make you question, “What was that person thinking?” …The only answer we’ll probably ever get is that they weren’t thinking at all! Unfortunately it’s history repeating itself. We see this over and over….”

Read the entire blog post here.

Delilah Update from Jan 28 2010

Delilah got her feet trimmed today and those long, flared feet trimmed up. Here’s the summary I sent to AC:

Delilah was showing lameness in her left hind right after having her hoof flexed for trim and then set back down for a few steps and then got better. Seemed to be originating in fetlock or stifle area but not sure — not sensitive to hoof testers. Delilah had several older abcess tracks in her heels and pus pockets in her frogs but nothing that was currently draining.

Delilah photos

Delilah Background and History

Delilah is a 4 1/2 ‑5 year old dark bay/black Percheron or Percheron X draft mare seized by King County Animal Control on January 19th, 2010 and currently residing at the main SAFE facility. She has a BCS of 3 and is at least 7 months pregnant. She is approx. 16.2–17h, very sweet and easy to handle. She was living with 3 other mares and several other farm animals (live and dead) in a small area with about a foot of mud and feces. Her feet are long, overgrown and chipped and she has ulcers in her mouth from lack of dental care but she is in otherwise fair condition.

At this time this is an active case and limited information can be shared. Charges will be pending with the accused neglecter of this mare and the other animals on the property.

She is likely bred to either a QH or Thoroughbred stallion. She is not available for adoption at this time.