2015 Yakama Reservation mare

Suitability: For Advanced Rider

Color: buckskin
Height: 13.2 hh
Weight: 800 lbs
Adoption Fee: $4,000 (will increase with training)

Online Adoption Application

Esme and two geldings were obtained through a now defunct rescue organization by a family that moved to Washington state hoping to keep horses on a rented property near their home. They soon discovered that the property flooded rather badly during the fall and winter months. With no other options available to them, these horses just had to live in the wet. Thankfully, they were able to survive under these poor conditions. Their owner turned to SAFE for help after coming to the realization that caring for these three horses was more than they could handle.

The timid mare who first came to SAFE is a far cry from the sociable, curious creature Esme is today. She has been started under saddle, and is going very well as a nice riding horse. She is a very forward, sensitive horse at this point, and still green. She is a brave girl and has been successfully out on trails with buddies. She will do best with consistent work with a rider that can continue her education. Esme is ready to meet adopters and find her forever home!

All SAFE horses are adopted with a no-breeding clause, no exceptions.

Esme’s Abscess

Esme’s Abscess 

Pop Quiz: your horse, who was sound as a music note yesterday, walks out of her stall with a major head bob the next morning. Do you:
A. PANIC! Something serious must be wrong, and the vet needs to come out immediately!
B. Treat it like an abscess — soak the foot in warm water and epsom salts, and slap that thing in a duct tape boot.
C. Do nothing. She’ll walk it off, right?

While it is never a bad idea to get in touch with your vet and/or farrier depending on the ailment, in our experience, a sudden onset lameness that presents at a walk is oftentimes indicative of a stone bruise or an abscess. We chose ‘B’ when this situation happened for Esme, who despite being perfectly sound the day before, was now displaying a head bob at the walk.

She was an absolute champion for the abscess treatment procedure, tolerating the 15 minute soak and subsequent doctoring of the foot in question (right front). The hoof wrap parfait consists of an epsom poultice, diaper, duct tape boot, and, if we can find a good fit, trail boot to maintain the integrity of the duct tape for more than a few hours. Abscesses can take a varied amount of time to blow, but typically you expect to see a horse who was Lame with a capital L one day be perfectly sound the next, sort of an opposite of how they come on. But after about a week of no real improvement, we decided that it was time for a pair of more professional eyes on the foot. We called our vets, and set an appointment to evaluate her for any additional lameness that we may have missed by treating it like an abscess.

The vets were out to do a partial lameness evaluation on Esme. While it was no longer super evident at the walk, the lameness was very apparent on a trot circle to the right. Flexions on the front limbs were not indicative of any additional lameness. We chose to block the right front, which resolved the lameness. We also chose to proceed with radiographs of the right front to see what was happening under the hood.

The answer? A deep gas pocket in her heel region that indicates an abscess. We also were able to see her sole depth, which was a little less than 1cm (aka, very thin). Even though her feet are very hard, with a sole depth that thin she is still prone to hoof issues. Once her abscess blows, we will shoe her to help elevate the foot.

Because her foot is so hard, we kept it in an animalintex poultice pad for several days to help soften the hoof to make it easier for the abscess to blow. We have since switched over to the good ole fashioned epsom salt poultice. It’s deep, so it might take a while to surface, but in the meantime we are keeping her wrapped and waiting patiently for her soundness to return. We are also getting really good at duct tape boots!

Q1 Report Card: Esme

Q1 Report Card: Esme 

Health & Feeding:

  • Has a little bit of extra padding at the moment, but as it is winter, will not drop down her food amount. With the introduction of grass in the spring, will lower hay to account for extra calories.


Esme is a sensitive mare. Can still be evasive occasionally about being caught in the paddock. Head mare in her group.

  • Has a lot of life, but that can translate into flightiness/overreaction
  • Sensitive about the rope around her HQ, things touching her back legs (we opt for a tail strap blanket vs leg straps to avoid potential issues escalating from volunteers blanketing/unblanketing).
  • Influenced by environment easily — can have an ‘ADD’ feeling
  • Has tied in the trailer with other horses and a hay bag, done well
  • Working on more movement (under saddle) where she’s really turning loose, as she can bottle up
  • One goal is to get intermediate riders riding her more. Doesn’t love legs on her squeezing/pinching, working on developing a ‘stop’ button as she has a lot of GO.
  • Working on short serpentines under saddle to help place the front feet, as she goes off the line.
November Clinic Report: Frosting, Wren, Veronica, Artie, Esme

November Clinic Report: Frosting, Wren, Veronica, Artie, Esme 

We finished off 2023’s training program horsemanship clinics on a high note. The incredible dedicated volunteers were like a well-oiled machine over the intensive five days. Wednesday and Thursday, we got our hands on 21 SAFE horses! From the barely haltered to those loping out on loose reins in the arena and some starting leg-yields and counter canter.   

I had the pleasure of working 5 horses during the 3‑day clinic. I joyfully started every morning with a smile on my face and sweet nuzzles from our dear Frosting. This year she has been growing and for much of the summer was sadly in a very “ugly duckling” phase. I felt that she lacked the growth and physical maturity to really get on the “payroll”. I would pull her out a few times a month, dust off the groundwork and do a short ride. Each time she picked right off where I left her and felt good about letting her have time to grow.  

This weekend she felt great! While I still think she needs time to fill out and muscle up into a riding horse, she felt ready to play with the big kids in class. We worked for about half of the class on building and keeping life, balance and freedom in her movement. She was a willing partner with a good expression and a ton more focus than we had earlier this year. I finished with her in the round pen with quick ride each day. The work we did in class helped these rides immensely. She had a good amount of life and checked off all the boxes quickly. She is going to be a nice pleasure horse for someone. She is a very willing, a kind hearted and well-behaved young mare.  

For the second half of the morning ground work class, I took our recently started Wren. This special mare is hands down one of the nicer horses to come in this year and going to become a great riding partner. She has a ton of try and after working on freeing up her feet, she is becoming confident and relaxed. I can see the horse she will become and let me tell you, I like her! She will be sensitive and have a good amount of life as well as being a brave and willing partner.  

I was very impressed with her changes throughout all 5 days of work. The last day Joel really helped her get her legs underneath herself and showed her how balanced and relaxed she could feel when she engaged her hind. He is remarkable with the horses and it was impressive to watch her transformation. After class I took her each day to the round pen for a short ride. We got some great changes and I could feel her each ride pick right up where we left off the day before. If she keeps this trajectory, she will likely become one of my favorite horses to ride at SAFE. It is said that the last horse you started is always your best and better than the ones before. I am grateful for all the horse that have taught me over the years. It is nice to see all the lessons they gave me, now helping Wren.   

In the riding portion of class, I took in Veronica, Artie and Esme. I am literally jumping up and down with excitement for all three of these horses. Each one of them have come so far in the last year of riding.  

Starting in June 2022 when Joel visited he would put a few rides on Veronica. I still remember feeling trepidatious when he handed me the reins in the fall and said she’s yours now. A lot of responsibility was transferred to me that day and with-it the stress to not mess her up! This week, I started calling her my war horse. SHE WAS SO BRAVE!! Anyone who has watched and followed her during her tenure at SAFE will agree, we were never 100% sure we could help gentle her, let alone if she was going to make it as a riding horse. She was up there as one of the hardest mares to come out of the Fall City Forty herd. There were many days that I thought she was going to come running through the panels and hurt herself. Her instinct to run away from anything and everyone was very strong. Today, she is one of the easiest horses for our volunteers to catch and lead. And in this clinic, her first riding experience with 14 other horses in the arena, she was a STAR.  

The first day the wind and rain decided to not play nice. We had gusts of wind making roof insulation flap above our heads and leaves on the ground suddenly without warning flying towards us with. It would have been very acceptable for her to be nervous or jump, heck I even looked at the craziness around us and shook my head. She was a rock! I felt safe and confident that she was carrying me and that she trusted me, not only to keep her out of danger, but that we were a team. I love all of our horses, but I can say honestly, I really like the horse Veronica has become. I know that part of our success is the hours of relationship and trust we have built. I hope in the months to come to help her explore more of the riding world and introduce her to her future family. Joel said that he liked the freedom in her movement which is a great compliment for the tight and flighty mare we started last year.   

Artie is done being called a slow poke! This clinic he showed us all that he has a GO button now! What a flashy pony he is becoming. We jumped into the riding class about half way through and he seamlessly fit right into the group. He was very punctual in his responses and his gaits started to open up. I asked Joel to help walk me through supporting him in backing circles to the right. This has been a sticky area and I wanted to make sure I was helping him correctly. Joel helped me work him through it by freed his feet up backing straight and timing up a release when he could hold the right flexion. Artie still has some rough spots like this where the wild man we took in shows up. I am very mindful how quickly things could go wrong if he didn’t have a confident rider. He can still get wide eyed at new things and takes an experienced rider to support him. But I know he is worth the effort! Just a year under saddle and feeling like he is path from here is bright. It is wonderful to see this once difficult stud turn into a gentleman gelding. He is making steady progress and really is a hoot to ride. 

Lastly, I brought Esme out to work the last day of the clinic. She had two days off and as expected was a bit tight in the beginning but after some good ground work settled into the ride. After a year of riding, Esme is still very tight mare. She is like a little ball of energy and it has been a struggle to get her to fully relax and unwind. She has a very curious and has a genuine kindness about her but when in a bind she still feels trapped and become anxious. Out of all the horses I am working right now, she is the tightest. We get along but if something externally grabs her attention, she is not quick to relax. The biggest help has been on working on her feeling free to move which helps her letting down. When she relaxes, you can see her strides lengthen and her movement less balled up.  

She isn’t the most troubled or difficult horse but I do have to manage the rides and support her to unwind. There is zero filling in for the rider and she would not give a young or novice rider any confidence. I was pleased that during our ride she was following my line nicely and finished comfortably at the end of the ride with a lovely walk, trot, lope and stop on a loose rein feeling of me. I trust that with the tools we have now she is going to make it. She will just take a bit longer to become the relaxed ride most adopters need. Hopefully with some good work put in this winter, others at SAFE can start riding her and she can maintain relaxation.   

Esme’s First Trail Ride

Esme’s First Trail Ride 

Esme started her time at SAFE as a curious, yet standoffish mare, spending her days playing chase with Jacob and Edward out on the grass field they shared. She was challenging to catch, requiring a practiced (and patient) touch. And while there are still some days where she enjoys giving you a literal run for your money, Esme’s progress in so many realms has been astronomical.

She has remained a quick witted and quick footed little horse, but these days does much of her thinking and moving under saddle. She is definitely more ‘go’ than ‘whoa,’ which certainly makes her a fun ride for those with more experience who enjoy motoring around. Recently, she went for a ride out on our neighboring trails — her first time ‘off property’ in the (not so) wild woods. She had been for walks around the property before, which is a feat in and of itself, but the loop trail we most commonly use is somewhat of a different animal, filled with ticklish ferns, unknown scents and sounds, and the ever present threat of bikes, dogs, and other horses.

Overall on her first ride out, Esme did very well. She’s a confident leader, not afraid to forge ahead at the front of the pack, even into the unknown. Over bridges and, well, not quite through water, but close enough to hear its rushing, Esme trekked bravely. The undergrowth brushing against her legs did give her a startle at one point, but nothing earth-shattering by any means, and she soon faced (or stepped on, rather) her fears by repeatedly encountering that which tickled until it lost its scare factor.

Esme is still available for adoption to the right person. She still needs a confident partner to help guide her, and one who is not afraid of all the life she brings to the table. But she is brave and willing, and will make some lucky person a really wonderful riding horse!

Back to (halter starting) Basics with Esme

Back to (halter starting) Basics with Esme 

Even though Esme has been going well under saddle for a bit now, there are still some basics that she is in need of revisiting. Because Esme was improperly halter started once upon a time, she still has a difficult time coming off of pressure. In the below video, Joel helps Esme learn how to follow a float and a feel by dallying her from his saddle horse.

This is also important work to help Esme learn to tie. In teaching her to come off of the pressure of the line instead of fighting against it, he makes it so it is less likely Esme will pull back when tied. He also helps her learn that if she feels she needs to move on the wall, she can do so laterally instead of sucking backwards.

Esme — Ready for Adoption!

Esme — Ready for Adoption! 

Esme, started under saddle last fall, is coming along very nicely as a riding horse! She is a cute little mover, and is soft on a loose rein, walk trot and canter. She recently had her very first rides in the outdoor arena, and did great, even amongst many would-be distractions. She is beginning to work a bit in the soft feel on two reins — a really exciting development from the horse who two summers ago could barely be caught!

Speaking of being caught, now Esme practically insists on it. When you enter the paddock she currently resides in along with Darla, Tanis, and Tiva, Esme presents herself front and center. Regardless of what your plans were, she thinks that she is the one you should be paying attention to. In her current herd, Esme has established herself as the boss, but she is a kind leader. Yes, she may decide that the hay box you’re eating out of is actually the one she needs to eat from, but you can understand that, right?

Esme is soft and responsive on the ground, and has become a mare who is safe for nearly anyone to handle, brush, and blanket. She can still have her moments of being a bit wriggly, but overall has really matured into a sweet and even tempered girl. Esme is going to make a wonderful horse for an advanced rider looking for a lovely partner, both inside and out.


Giddy Up, Esme!

Giddy Up, Esme! 

Following in the footsteps of her two “older brothers,” Edward and Jacob, the horses she came in with, Esme has been started under saddle. This sweet little mare made it clear early on that she was going to take a bit more time, but that has never been an issue. After all, it just means getting to spend more time with Esme, and that’s never a bad thing!


Esme didn’t fuss much over having a rider on her back. Each horse is different of course, and have different experiences in their pasts that contribute to their present day responses, but we do our best in each case to prepare them for things like wearing a saddle and carrying a rider so that when the time comes for these things to actually happen, it’s not a huge deal.


Joel put the first ride on Esme, before passing the reins to Terry. Riding a colt is a very different experience than riding a broke horse – to avoid getting into a wreck and confusing the horse, the rider must simply ‘go with’ them as they move out. I don’t think the phrase ‘easier said than done’ even applies here, because I don’t think it is either easily said or easily done. Gripping and squeezing a horse, what I would argue are two very common and innate moves we humans tend towards as the thousand pound creature below us starts to move, sends mixed signals. So the best thing to teach your legs to do is to be inactive, to flop there like two noodles, meaning nothing to the horse when you don’t intend them to. It is easy to get in a horse’s way, and for those first rides especially, it is important to stay out of it.


Often, during those first rides, the horse and rider combination will often be flagged up through the gaits by a third party. This is also for the horse’s benefit, to keep them soft off the ask, so that the communication is very clear. The first ask would be with the seat, where the rider sits ahead, and the horse understands that means go. Legs come after, but there is always a clear progression. For horses who are dull or just learning, having someone with a flag to help the ask means the release for the horse can come a lot sooner, therefore making the message a lot more clear. By the time they have a rider, the horse is already very familiar with a flag’s meaning, the feel of a person telling them to increase their energy, so it typically takes very little to tip the horse up into the next gait when aided by someone on the ground. That way the rider can focus on being clear about their ask versus overly focused on getting it done.


I digress – all of this to say that for her first rides, Esme was a rockstar. No shenanigans, no real fuss. Patience with her riders – what more can you ask from a girl?

Training Update: Rope work with Esme

Training Update: Rope work with Esme 

Esme has had a busy summer, spending much of her time learning to wear a saddle (some days, it’s easier than others) and drilling the groundwork basics on the regular. One big hurdle for Esme has been getting comfortable with the rope touching her — her back, her legs, even the area where she already knows the saddle goes. In the video below, Terry works with Esme to help support her through her discomfort in being touched by the rope in different positions and conditions.

Not every horse will have to deal with situations like the ones Esme is preparing for in their lives. Most horses we adopt from SAFE will spend their days working in ways that do not include circumstances where they might be regularly exposed to a rope around their feet or hind, but showing Esme that she can handle the pressure of a rope helps to prepare her for the unthinkable. This work helps to show her that if she ever does get caught in a similar bind — say she were to get tangled up in a fence or have a dangling vine brush her during a trail ride — she can handle it without blowing up in a reactionary way. She may not be quite there yet, but with every groundwork session, she gets a little closer!

Esme Loves to be Groomed

Esme Loves to be Groomed 

One of our horsemanship volunteers, Sue, had this to say about Esme.

Esme has come a long way from the wary mare who was hard to catch, and careful who came close. She spent some time in the rehab paddock next to Pepper, and was always very curious when I groomed Pepper. What is happening over there?  Should it be happening to me? After a few days she would actively go to the fence line to watch, and to the gate when I approached. She is long past this now, and happy to have attention whenever she can. She loves to be groomed, and knickers when people approach. For a while she shared a paddock with Pepper and was quite pushy about demanding her turn if Pepper was groomed first.  She has a gorgeous flashy trot. I can’t wait to see her blossom.”

Esme Makes New Friends

Esme Makes New Friends 

Esme came to SAFE alongside Edward and Jacob, and while they all got along quite well, being the only girl in a herd of boys does have its downsides. She could certainly hold her own, but the boys picked on her a bit, as horses figuring out herd dynamics are want to do. Eventually we split the trio up, and for a while, Esme was in a paddock by herself – across the street neighbors with Edward, but given a moment outside of having to deal with essentially older brothers.

When Pepper hurt her leg, she was moved to a paddock beside Esme’s, and the two were fast friends. For a time, Esme was not keen on being caught by anyone aside from her main trainer, so she was living outside 24/7. At turn-in time, when Pepper would leave to go inside for the night, Esme would call to her, and in the mornings when she returned, it was clear Esme was happy to see her back. Once Pepper’s leg was healed, we decided to turn these two girls out together. 

It was a success. After some brief initial squealing on the halters, the girls were turned loose without much hullabaloo. There was one kick from Esme, but no one was injured, and the tension dissipated immediately. For the most part, the girls just explored the new space together, Pepper following on Esme’s heels. 

The very next day, the two were sharing hay from a hay net together, clearly destined to be best buddies. When Pepper left the paddock for a trail walk one afternoon, Esme called out to her friend – “where are you going without me?” – and was very delighted to see her return. 

In addition to this new friendship, Esme has also started coming into a stall in the evenings. Wary to be caught at first, she quickly adjusted to coming in at turn-in time, and soon was trotting right up to the gate, even more eager to be caught than Pepper. Seeing her now, it is hard to imagine that she is the same flighty and fighty girl who arrived last summer – she has become a gentle friend to Pepper, and an easy, respectful horse for her handlers.


Saddling Esme

Saddling Esme 

Esme did well at our colt starting workshop in November. She was able to be saddled every day and became more and more comfortable with carrying the saddle. As with Jacob and Edward, we are going to spend the winter months getting her more comfortable and better prepared for the first rides. No use in causing trouble that isn’t there with a ride done too early in haste to get it done. A set-back with a sensitive horse could be a lasting issue we don’t need to cause.  

The biggest issue facing Esme is her comfort level with things touching her in her blind spots. She is very quick to kick out at anything touching her hind legs. Work on this issue is important to help insure a lifetime of safety ahead. Not only will her comfort with this help the gentling process and her becoming a riding horse, but it will also help her accept pressure. If she were ever to get caught in fencing, we hope that lessons to give to pressure on her legs would help prevent her from panicking and hurting herself kicking at whatever she is entangled in. Seems like a simple thing, but can be a lesson that save her from serious injury or loss of life.  

Esme has had a few successful farrier visits and is now fully vaccinated. We continue to monitor her fecal content, worm, and recheck her to eliminate the heavy parasite load she had upon arrival at SAFE. She has been treated with Ivermectin and the double five-day dose of Panacur. With a small load still present, we will be worming her for a third time. She is getting fecal checks regularly and hopeful we will soon have all the parasites eliminated. Years of going untreated without regular checks and treatment can create incessant parasites that take time and multiple treatments to get under control.  

Edward, Esme, and Jacob Updates

Edward, Esme, and Jacob Updates 

We are moving at a fairly good pace with Edward despite his continued breathing issues. He is still very wary about people approaching him to be caught but each time he is quickly haltered and doesn’t have the opportunity to get away, he finds the event less and less stressful. Part of the problem with horses that have had some halter work in the past is that they have learned where the “outs” are from getting caught. They have been rewarded time and time again, for evasion when people have tried to halter them and failed. That is a learned behavior and a very hard foundation to change. 

At this time, I am building trust with Edward and he understands that my patience will outlast his maneuvers to get around the issue of getting caught. Sadly, the poor haltering in the past also taught him to pull a bit of a nasty expression and he has tried a few times to take control and move my feet. Luckily when he charged me, I was able to get a change that has carried over in the days that have followed. Simply put, I rewarded the smallest of tries, made the wrong thing difficult (not impossible) and the right thing easy. Horses naturally are going to move away and don’t try to aggressively come towards a person’s space unless they feel trapped and are given no other options. Those who have learned that pushing into a person makes person back off will try this as a way to get people to leave them alone. Edward is at a crossroads in his life, and we are thankful he made it to SAFE. Here can help him bring about the changes needed so he can have a safe and happier life with people. 

He still needs a lot of work. We are helping him search for the right things by making them always the easiest and rewarding his try. He is rewarded when his feet are free and he finds balance with all four feet reaching equally. He tends to push and become heavy on his inside shoulder. Once he finds balance he will be move more comfortably and won’t be heavy or stuck in his feet. Right now, we continue with clear short amounts of work that help to “get life”, energy and freedom in his feet. 

Health-wise, he is now at a great weight. He’s seen the farrier for trims on all four hooves. He’s also been vaccinated and is scheduled for a dental next month. We have introduced him to a nebulizer to administer medication to help with his breathing. Training for that has gone well and he has begun a course of twelve days of medication. If that improves his breathing, we will wean him off the prednisolone we’re currently giving him. If all goes well we will be able to lower the nebulizer treatments to a few times a week as maintenance, which he may or may not need for the rest of his life. 

Esme has been great to halter and was well prepared and well behaved for her first farrier visit. Since she has been easy to catch, she has not gotten as much attention in the groundwork as the other more difficult new intakes. Well that stops now! Time for this little one to get busy. She was poorly halter broke coming into SAFE and needs to relearn the foundations of haltering. Like Edward, she had learned through her previous experiences with people where her outs are and that she can run over the top of her handlers. Our first goal is for her to learn that she can move freely without pushing on the halter. Just plain better halter starting work. Learning to back and to freely bring her front across, being consistent with the freedom all four feet while backing and moving them equally will continue to help this cute little mare improve.

Esme has a very sweet personality, but can get a panicked expression since she was never taught to freely move around on the halter. The work we’ve done has already shown us a more relaxed and peaceful mare that should make changes quickly and move towards becoming a riding horse in the next few months. 

Overall Jacob has been a gentleman to work with and is very kind-hearted. He is not over reactive and has accepted the work very well. He has been vaccinated, wormed, seen the farrier (was prepared and had absolutely no issues picking up all four feet), and is scheduled for a dental next month. He is a big handsome dude horse and will move through the training program quickly. His main goals currently are to bring up his energy, and give him a big reward for his try. Overall he looks relatively sound but has some muscle atrophy along his left hind side. We will work to help him strengthen his hind quarters and if needed, have his soundness evaluated by our vets. These three horses were living in very poor conditions for many years so the process to full health and recovery will take time. We have a very good feeling he will make a great riding partner and we will give him all the support needed to make that a successful endeavour. 

Haltering Esme

Haltering Esme 

Meet our new intake at SAFE, Esme. She is a 6 year old Yakima Reservation mare, who has not had a lot of past experience being lead. Esme is very friendly and interested in people, just a bit frightened by the halter. This is our third day working with her and things are going very well. We have been able to brush her, give her a lice dusting and she did great for a blood draw for the veterinarian.

Edward, Esme, and Jacob Update

Edward, Esme, and Jacob Update 

Life has changed in a big way for Edward, Esme, and Jacob since coming to SAFE two weeks ago. They’re now enjoying time together in the pasture located behind their Quarantine paddocks each day. They seem to be getting accustomed to the activity of SAFE, and they have no complaints whatsoever about the continuous supply of yummy hay they’re getting each and every day. Edward seems to be feeling quite a lot better now that his asthma is under control and his breathing is better. He’s been a very good boy for all his meds and treatments, and we’re impressed by what a sensible horse he is showing himself to be.
The three horses took their first steps toward becoming gentled by working with Joel Conner and the SAFE horsemanship team last week. They are all getting used to being caught, haltered, and led; and they’ve started some basic groundwork as well. These lessons are already paying off. Jacob now has the confidence to approach people and accept being touched and petted without a fuss. Esme is still a little more shy, but she’s curious and will approach people cautiously to say hello. They have been treated for worms, and are looking much less bloated and unhealthy. Esme has beautiful dapples, and her unusual mane and tail coloring make her a gorgeous little mare. Jacob is getting shiny, and we’re seeing some shine come back into Edward’s coat as well. All in all, things are looking up for our three little wildlings, who really aren’t all that wild!
Introducing Edward, Esme, and Jacob

Introducing Edward, Esme, and Jacob 

When we got the call that three horses living on the Washington coast were in trouble, we thought they seemed a bit familiar… Edward, Esme, and Jacob are Yakima Reservation horses, which is means they came from the same place as the older horses in the Fall City 40 group. Their storyline, fortunately, was quite a bit different than that of the Fall City 40 horses, but they still ended up in a situation where they needed our help.

Edward and Jacob are both seven year old geldings, while Esme is a 6 year old mare. They were obtained through a now defunct rescue organization by a family that moved to Washington state hoping to keep horses on a rented property near their home. They soon discovered that the property flooded rather badly during the fall and winter months. With no other options available to them, these horses just had to live in the wet. Thankfully, they were able to survive under these poor conditions. However, Edward has apparently been suffering from equine asthma for quite some time, resulting in severe weight loss that has left him quite emaciated. The other two horses look better, but that’s somewhat deceptive because they have large parasite loads, making their bellies look big. Their owner turned to SAFE for help after coming to the realization that caring for these three horses was more than they could handle.

As with most of the horses that SAFE takes in, there are lessons we can learn from what these horses have experienced in life up to now. While these three are not nearly as wild and feral as the Fall City 40 were, they are still untrained and fairly shy about being handled. Terry has already been able to get halters on them and even deworm them without a great deal of trouble. But what people need to understand when deciding to take on a wild horse is that Terry has years of experience working with horses like these. She has put in countless hours of practice, and she’s invested a ton in her own education to improve her already considerable skills. When we hear someone say that they want to take on a wild or young horse and figure out how to tame them as they go along, we literally cringe. This is a bad idea that can put the horse at tremendous risk for a difficult and challenging future. So many horses end up in the rescue pipeline because they didn’t get a good foundation in basic handling at the beginning of their life. This is why we strongly encourage people who want to be involved with horses to invest in a well started horse that they can learn from and enjoy. But alas, not everyone is listening, and that is why horses like Edward, Jacob, and Esme need SAFE to rescue them.

As mentioned, Edward is painfully thin, and battling equine asthma which is a lower airway inflammation, formerly known as heaves. Untreated equine asthma can cause massive weight loss very quickly for two reasons: one, because overuse of respiratory muscles can burn a great number of calories and two, because they don’t eat or drink as much as they should because it’s hard to breathe and eat at the same time. Edward was in respiratory distress when he arrived at SAFE. At his initial vet visit, Dr Lewis from Rainland Farm Equine immediately gave him a steroid medication and within 10 minutes, we saw an improvement in his breathing. He’s been prescribed a range of medications to help him, including steroids for the inflammation and bronchodilators to open the airways. He was also given a short course of an antibiotic (naxcel) as his bloodwork showed signs of a secondary infection. We’re wetting down his hay to reduce dust, and he’s been taken off the hay he’d been fed prior to his rescue since we suspect it contains mold. Our hope is that when his asthma is controlled, he will start putting weight on again. Fingers crossed that this young horse and his two friends will make full recoveries, so we can get them into the SAFE horsemanship program and start them on their way to brand new lives.

Vet and feeding expenses for these three horses will be quite costly, so if you’d like to take part in their recovery, we welcome donations to be put toward their care. Thank you so much for your amazing support and please keep your good wishes coming for Edward and his friends, as well as Cameron!

Edward (photos by Kristina Oden)

Esme (photos by Kristina Oden)

Jacob (photos by Kristina Oden)










Esme’s Friends:

1. Ellen H.

2. Carrie S.

3. Jeanne A.

4. Judith C.

5. Couren Smith

6. ___________________

7. ____________________

8. ____________________

9. _____________________


Every horse deserves at least ten friends! Even a small monthly donation can make a difference. Plus, SAFE horse sponsors receive discounts at local businesses through the SAFEkeepers program!

Click here to sponsor Esme!