description: 2000 palomino Quarter Horse
type of rescue: Owner surrender
intake date: 1/28/2014
adoption date: 2/26/2018
length of time with SAFE: 4 years, 11 months

Finn’s Story

Finn was adopted by his foster Carrie G. in Woodinville in February 2018. His puppy-dog personality that made him a volunteer favorite at SAFE made it hard for Carrie to let him go, and her property was a great fit for his laminitis and navicular issues.

Unfortunately, in March 2018, Finn developed a hard lump on his jaw that grew quickly in size and made it increasingly uncomfortable for him to eat. It was diagnosed as bone cancer. Its location in his jaw made surgery a poor solution, and he was not a good candidate for therapy at age 18. With hay and grains growing too difficult to eat, he was at last turned out on grass. In April 2018, Carrie and SAFE volunteers who had come to love Finn said goodbye when he was humanely euthanized in April 2018.

Before coming to SAFE, Finn suffered a pasture injury and his owner was unable to afford to have a vet out to treat his infected wound. We offered to take him into our rescue program, and ownership was signed over to us. Finn was taken straight to NWESC where Dr Hannah treated him for a 5″ deep infected puncture wound in his shoulder, which healed completely after a few weeks of intensive care. We were told when we took him that Finn was unable to be ridden due to an old injury he sustained when he was started under saddle, but we were not able to determine exactly what that injury was.

However, Finn had some serious hoof issues that required special care in order to keep him comfortable. He had chronic laminitis, and needed to be kept off grass to prevent any further flareups of that condition. He also had navicular syndrome, or caudal heel pain, and for a time he wore Soft Ride boots while in dry lot turnout in order to keep him comfortable. Through careful trimming and a grassless diet (much to Finn’s dismay), his feet improved and he was able to go barefoot, except for walks on the Tolt pipeline, which required Easyboots.

Our last update on Finn

Our last update on Finn

Finn was adopted by his foster Carrie G. in Woodinville in February 2018. His puppy-dog personality that made him a volunteer favorite at SAFE made it hard for Carrie to let him go, and her property was a great fit for his laminitis and navicular issues.

Unfortunately, in March 2018, Finn developed a hard lump on his jaw that grew quickly in size and made it increasingly uncomfortable for him to eat. It was diagnosed as bone cancer. Its location in his jaw made surgery a poor solution, and he was not a good candidate for therapy at age 18.

With hay and grains growing too difficult to eat, he was at last turned out on grass. In April 2018, Carrie and SAFE volunteers who had come to love Finn said goodbye when he was humanely euthanized in April 2018.

Carrie wrote:

There will never be another horse like Finn, and I’m so lucky I found him through SAFE’s fostering program–and even luckier to have been able to have him in my backyard for almost 3 years! I only wish it had been longer.

We will always miss his cheerful smile–he really did smile–and his cuddly teddy-bear winter coat that left giant piles of fuzz in the springtime. He was such a gentleman for all of those hoof treatments early on and always wanted a snuggle, even when he had plastic bags taped around his feet. We spent a lot of time grooming, and him grooming us: he’d scratch our shoulders, and he learned how to work zippers on coats (in his never-ending quest for treats, of course).

Finn was one-of-a-kind and once in a lifetime. He was very much loved and he’ll be missed forever.”


New friends!

Banjo & Finn visit Safe Harbor

Our WONDERFUL foster mom Carrie brought the Finn and Joey for a visit during the last Joel Conner clinic. She had this to report about the experience:

The boys both enjoyed their field trip out to SAFE for the Joel Conner clinic! They loaded into the trailer like it was no big deal, and even though neither Finn nor Banjo had been to the new barn before (or left my place for a year, except for walks on the Tolt Pipeline), they settled right into a dry lot next to the arena.

Banjo and I participated in the groundwork clinic in the outdoor arena while Finn stood by munching hay and whinnying–he was lonely being 20 whole yards away from his buddy. Joe was easily distracted as I’m pretty sure he’s never been in an arena with 10 horses before, let alone the new SAFE property, but we worked through the jitters and by the end, he had really sharpened up. We worked on him getting his feet moving under himself, which is hard for him due to stiffness in his hind end, and also some space issues–he was crowding me going right at the start of the clinic. Joel helped snap him out of that and we’ll keep working on it at home.

He was so relaxed by the end that he was falling asleep standing up, and he did his ridiculous eye-rolling, body-shaking yawns that he has a hard time stopping once he gets going. He makes the best faces.

Now for the foot report, since they’re both so special. Finn’s feet have much improved; he hasn’t been in Softrides for over a year. He mostly goes out barefoot and braves the short walk over gravel to his dirt paddock just fine. When we go out on the Tolt Pipeline for a walk, he wears his Easyboot Gloves. Joe’s coronary band issues have calmed with prednisone, and they look mostly normal now that the cracks have healed and his hair’s laying flat–even his flaky frogs with the deep crevices have evened out over the summer. His hooves themselves are super tough–no issues with chipping like Finn. It looks like we’re going to have a fast transition to wet fall weather so I’ll keep a close eye on things!


A Visit with Finn and Banjo

Jessica paid a visit to Finn and Banjo at their foster home. Here’s what she had to say about it:

As anyone at SAFE knows I jump at the chance to spend time with Finn, so I was very happy to finally get the opportunity to pay him a visit. Yes, while there I had to get my quota of Finn cuddles and kisses.
Finn and Banjo looked amazing. They are both incredibly sweet and quite handsome too! Carrie had them beautifully groomed.

Finn in still really cuddly and soft. I think he is a teddy bear and not a horse! Banjo is quiet and a bit more reserved but still affectionate.

Carrie had both of them trot and canter a bit. Banjo is very floaty when he moves! Finn was really more interested in trying to find grass from under the fence but still looked nice when he got moving. Carrie is doing an amazing job with both boys and all her love and care really shows. They both looked really happy. 

Here’s Finn:

And here is Banjo:

Foster Update: Finn & Banjo

Finn, Carrie & Joey (From left to right)

Finn, Carrie, & Joey

Here’s a wonderful update about Banjo and Finn from their foster mom Carrie!

Here’s a Finn & Joey (aka Banjo) update! 

Finn’s just as cuddly as ever. His feet have been doing well this summer and is spending most of his time out of his Soft Ride boots, though he’s very tender when barefoot on gravel for 2–3 weeks after his trim. We’ve been going on walks on the Tolt Pipeline trail, with the longest distance of 3 miles round trip (in his Soft Ride boots!) and while he seems to enjoy the change in scenery, he’d probably rather be eating hay.

Joey, on the other hand, loves taking long treks! He’s got a good motivated walk and seems to want to go on forever. He’s curious and brave–unlike Finn, he doesn’t try to hide behind me when we encounter something new–and when he spooks, it’s in place. He hasn’t batted an eye at bikes or dogs…but there was a scary traffic cone once!

Joey’s feet have improved quite a lot with the dry weather, and while they’re still not “normal,” they don’t seem to be sore, not even after long walks on the pipeline. His central sulcuses have dried out and his coronary bands are best on the front feet with the hair mostly laying flat with little to no swelling. We’re still working on the hind feet which have been slower to heal, due in part to his habit of stepping on his coronary band and re-injuring the area. (The skin that grows there is flaky and lumpy, and it’s easy to knock off chunks and cause bleeding. It’s clear it’s painful for him.) For the last few weeks I’ve been wrapping his hind with vet wrap and topping with bell boots and that seems to help both with the injuries and the healing.

I’m attaching a bunch of photos you guys can use. Joey’s really filled out and I was happy to see some dapples come through. The photo with Joey and Finn in the barn was taken when we had family visiting. They entertained three very excited little girls–Finn taught them how to groom, and Joey taught them how to give treats. 🙂



Foster Update: Banjo and Finn

Here are some great photos of Finn and Banjo (aka “Joey”) and their foster parents Carrie and Derek. They are taking wonderful care of these two boys. We are so lucky to have wonderful fosters to care for and love our companion horses!

Banjo and Finn: Foster Buddies!!

Like 2 peas in a pod! Banjo & Finn

Like 2 peas in a pod!

Banjo spent about a month at Safe Harbor Stables before heading out to a foster home with Finn. These two Palomino geldings are like brothers!  After a little “play fighting” to establish that Finn was the boss, they have now settled in and are good buddies.

This is the perfect foster home for Banjo and Finn!  Both horses need to be kept off the grass for the most part due to their tendency towards Insulin Resistance and the concern of foundering. Their foster home has a large dry lot for them to hang out in during the day and deeply bedded stalls to come back to at night. Perfect!

Their foster mom, Carrie, is taking excellent care of the boys and paying extra attention to their hoof care needs. Banjo’s hoof problems have been improving but there is still a lot of work involved in cleaning and treating it with anti-fungal and antibiotic creams.  

We are very grateful for Carrie’s efforts to get Banjo’s hooves healthy and for taking such great care of these two sweet gentlemen.


Finn Gets a Photo Shoot

This fall Finn got a visit from one of his favorite volunteer friends Jessica. She took some beautiful photos of him and his foster mom Carrie. What a pretty boy he is! Thank you Jessica for visiting him and taking these pretty photos! You can see how much Carrie loves this boy!

Foster Update: Finn

We have found a fantastic foster home for Finn. He is alone for the moment but has an entire herd of horses across the street to keep him company until his foster person finds a horse of her own. Finn’s hooves seem to be feeling better on the soft hogsfuel footing at his new foster home and he continues to improve with each shoeing.

Here is the update we received just a few days after Finn arrived:

New digs!

New digs!

I think there’s been a mistake. I was expecting a horse, but you guys left a yellow lab here instead! He’s awful large for a dog, and you somehow attached hooves where his paws should be, but the way he follows me around and checks in for scritches every few minutes is more canine than equus. I even got him to roll over. Tomorrow we’ll try playing fetch.

No, seriously, he’s so easy. He’s whinnied a bit in response to the horses across the street, but then he gets back to his hay net and looks relaxed again. He’s been exploring and the first thing he did outside was roll over eight times…eight! I should have videoed but didn’t have the presence of mind. He was so confused poking around out there; he was looking for grass so hard but there just isn’t any.

I’ll let you know if we hit any bumps in the road. I get the feeling he may be okay here! 🙂

Finn gets new shoes

We got to visit Finn recently and see how he is enjoying his new foster family. Our farrier Marla Karabinos was kind enough to travel to the foster’s home near SAFE Harbor and continue to shoe Finn for us there. The set up is perfect for Finn and his hoof comfort looks to have improved with the new pads Marla gave him 6 weeks ago and the turnout on hogs fuel. He looks overall very happy. I took him in the arena to see how he looked at the trot and he was only slightly off on his right front. Love that he is comfortable and feeling good! It maybe a good fit if his future adopters could keep him in a similar set up with out gravel, I think he likes it better. Here are a few photos from the day:

Dental Day at Safe Harbor

annabelle_07_15_2015Yesterday was a marathon day of dental care for the horses at Safe Harbor Stables. Dr McCracken of Rainland Equine did seven floats and some lameness consultations along with them. Here’s a rundown of how each of the horses did:

Annabelle was not terrific about getting injections for her sedation, but considering it’s probably been several years since she’s seen a dentist, her teeth were in reasonably good shape. Some sharp points but nothing significant.

Jewel was a pill for her shots, but her teeth were in great shape. Dr M said that based on her teeth, Jewel is well into her 4th year and could be closer to 5! (For the record, we’re going to leave her at four!). Nothing too conclusive about her thickened left front knee. Dr McCracken said Jewel could have had soft tissue damage at some point and has some arthritis in that knee. It’s unlikely that it’s a bone chip since those generally happen more in the knees with TB race horses, but we might x‑ray at some point to take a look.

Oscar's eye examinationOscar did considerably better for his shots, and his teeth looked good, but he does have some extra large spacing between some of his teeth on one side, which means that food can get trapped there and cause decay. She cleaned it out and said if he is good for us we can help by squirting water into his mouth to help flush his gums and remove anything that gets stuck in there. Dr McCracken also flushed his left eye to see why it is always tearing. There was no clog in his tear duct. She also examined his eye using a little stain to reveal ulcers and scratches, but everything looked normal.

Bridgit was an angel for her shots! Her teeth looked good too. But here’s another surprise: Dr M puts her age closer to 3 years old!! She is still losing baby teeth! Bridgit popped a splint a week or so ago and Dr M advised us to give her another 3–4 weeks off until there is no heat in the area. No that means that Bridgit won’t be at the SAFE Horse Show this year. In fact she may end up going back to foster along with Sophie, which would be awful for her because she’ll have nothing to go all day but graze, snooze, and play in a huge pasture. Poor Bridgit!

Lola we knew would be bad for her sedation, so we did an IM sedation to start and let that soak in, then came back to start the dental. She was still too awake so did have to give her more drugs this time IV and still not great for it. But her teeth were in good shape which made the procedure quick and painless. We will need to work on Lola’s aversion to seeing the veterinarian. She can be very difficult to handle when she sees them coming. Fear based issues can be hard to overcome but it is important we help her through just like any other training issue. Lola has her strong opinion and self preservation and while we love her for it, it’s what makes her our endearing “sass-apolussa mare”, we need to help her stay safe and understand vets are there to help her feel better.

Khianna was good for her shots, but her teeth showed more sharp points than you’d expect to see considering she was floated in January. Dr M suggested that we plan to have her teeth looked at and possibly floated again in 9 months.

Inside Finn's MouthFinn also handled his shots like a pro, giving Dr M the chance to do an in-depth evaluation of his jaw, which has had some unusual swelling for about the past month. The swelling has gone down some and she thinks it will just take more time. His teeth are very, very weird with the right top long, right bottom short, left top short and missing some and left bottom extremely long. She took a lot off the tall areas and it took a little work but she did get to a point where there was some contact now on both sides. It is a slow process to correct his teeth and he will continue with the 4–6 month dentals for a few more times. Dr M can only take so much off at a time and keep the tooth alive. He is a very sweet boy even with his funny teeth.


Farrier/Foster Update: Finn

Finn has really been giving us fits trying to figure out how to keep his hooves comfortable! Our amazing farrier Jake Cowden recently decided to take Finn on as a foster horse, moving him to his home to be able to closely monitor him and make more frequent and subtle adjustments to his shoeing. Finn is such a sweet boy, it would be great if we could get him comfortable enough for light riding. But if we can’t find a way to make him comfortable then we will find the best way to keep him pasture sound and retire him as a companion horse. We haven’t given up yet on this boy and hope to find the right fit in shoes but understand if he is unable to be ridden. He is a GREAT companion and a very good buddy to any horse. The hard part will be to find him a home where he can be kept off the grass and his sugar intake carefully monitored. 

Training Update: Finn

Unfortunately Finn has come up lame this month. We had Dr Krauter out to asses him and she found that the root of the lameness is in his left stifle. He is getting some time off and a loading dose of Pentosan. We will reassess him at the end of the load but we are now 3 weeks into it and he is still stiff on that left leg. At the end of the Pentosan loading we can also try him on a daily dose of Previcox to see if that helps. Sadly we may have to reclassify Finn as a companion horse instead of riding horse if things do not improve, but we will see how the Pentosan trial turns out. 

Finn, Making Progress

I have been riding Finn for about a month now. He is a gentleman for tacking up, he stands for mounting and dismounting, walks off and halts when asked and yields his hindquarters and shoulders from both the leg or guiding reins. He is comfortable at the walk but has some hesitation when asked to trot. We have been working to get him sound and comfortable and we have found that the shoeing package in the fronts has almost completely fixed his front lameness. Just over a week ago however, he became very stiff in his left hind leg. We had Dr Krauter from Pilchuck Veterinary Hospital out to evaluate him and she feels that there is probably some arthritis in his left stifle from the over compensation he had to endure for so long when his front feet were in pain. She would like us to try a loading dose of an intramuscular joint therapy to help reduce inflammation and give him comfort from any joint pain due to arthritis. After a month we will reassess and if needed try him on Previcox to help inflammation and joint discomfort.

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!

Finn Update


We’ve had a setback with Finn’s soundness this month. He has had some slight stiffness and isn’t looking as comfortable as he had been. When farrier Jake came to put on his new shoes last week, we noticed a bruise next to his frog on the right front. There was no indication of a rock or anything lodged under the pad. One thought was that the pads with built in frogs may be putting too much pressure on the soles of his feet. After trying a few ideas, we decided on a flat pad.

A few things to note: Finn has extremely soft hooves and Jake is very careful to lightly clamp the nails down. Too much clamping and the nail pulls straight down. Finn had a hard time with nails this shoeing. On the right front, his “better” front hoof, the nails would go in fine, but when it was clamped, Finn would take off steps. This happened when we were trying a bar type shoe that would wrap around the heel. The pain may have been from too much heel pressure.

Now he is 80% sound compared to where he was before. If he’s not back to normal next week, we may put him back on Previcox for a week to see if that helps. Jake also thought that we could try some dental impression material inside the pad next time to help stabilize the hoof. Finn’s heels are almost too expanded and as he steps this extra flexing on soft hooves might be part of the pain.

Another area of discomfort is his right shoulder where he had the puncture wound prior to his intake. When Jake holds that leg in a certain way, it is clear that Finn doesn’t like it. He also will take a few bad steps after this leg is worked on. He also looks very stiff and somewhat sore on the hind legs. We had the chiropractor come out last week to work on him, but it didn’t seem to help much. He tends to drag both hind feet and “shuffle” the hind to trot.

Finn is a darling horse, and we are working hard to figure out the answer to relieving his discomfort. We are still holding out hope that we can make him sound enough to at least carry a rider at the walk.

August Training Notes

Phoenix: Going well under saddle with strengthening exercises in the walk including: shoulder fore, hauls, halt rein backs, and collected walk. He’s up to 7 minutes at the trot and continues to look sound. We’ve been working in some trot poles during the rides.

Skittles: Skittles is doing well with riding. She will have good days but others she is stiff and unhappy to use her back if I don’t give her a long warm-up

Jewel: Doing well at foster and looks to have filled out quite a bit this summer. She been turned out with Ruby and everything seems to be fine, the two are “cohabiting” well.

Lola: Lola continues to do well with both ground manners and riding. The canter has been our main focus this month and she is now consistently picking it up when asked and is learning to keep the gait for longer amounts of time. She is a bit grumpy about this at first but it is getting better. Some nice long canter moments have been happening. The key to improving this is achieving a true inside bend. This will take a bit of strength building but she is getting some lovely forward and soft canters now.

Kai: He does still have his moments of exuberant energy so I am continuing to work him in hand only. He is doing well over the trot poles and is stretching nicely. I have raised them up to keep them challenging and added polls to both sides of the arena. When he isn’t showing his nutty side, he is very lovely.

Sapphire: I saw Sapphire 3 weeks ago at Kim’s. She is looking happy and was sweet when I came to talk to her. Kim is lunging her and has some very loose side reins on her and she is doing well.

Oscar: He’s has three months off work, and he’ll have another three before we trot him again to evaluate soundness. Helga said she can trot him on the lunge for us to see if he is sound when the time is up.

Finn: While he remains sound with the work there is still a slight “offness” when traking to the left. I have to think this may always slightly be there but it is dramatically better than it was before the shoe package.

Cameo: Working on a nice balanced trot and feeling much stronger. Her left shoulder is still much more developed than the right due to the club foot. I have to use a pad with buildup of the right side so that the saddle sits level and on the middle of her, otherwise it will slide crooked the entire time.

Skye: Skye has been a really great girl this last month. So much that I used her as my riding demo for the Chamber of Commerce evening. She was great with the crowd and did a nice walk, trot, and canter for them. She is a beautiful girl and a lot of fun to ride! We continue to work on trailer loading and things are going well, all 4 feet into the trailer and quietly coming out.

Ruby: Doing well at foster. We’ve been talking about her growth and whether we should wait to start her until she has more time to grow. I think not putting too much weight and heavy rides on her are a good idea. If this is SAFE’s choice, I suggest since her personality can be a bit young, big and head strong, would be a great idea to start getting the basics on her and working towards saddling well before she has a rider.

Misty: (From Kellie:) Bottom line is that Misty has improved, but, not as much as I hoped.  She is better at bending left and taking weight on the left hind than she was before the stifle injections. Fewer missteps as well. However, she is still very stiff to start out, for about 15 minutes, and this is in addition to the lunging time.  Sometimes she gets a short lunge if she is not too silly and other times, she might be lunging 15 minutes. She has also improved from the donated chiro and the muscle relaxants.

As the chiro vet said, it is best to bring them back to full work/strength slowly with the stifles. My goal is to get Misty out 4–5 times a week again, like she was before her May “stiffnesses and swollen legs”, but still low key work.  Some riding, some lunging, and to start some trot poles.

I guess it was too much to hope that the stifle issue was going to be a “ quick fix.”  Since, it has probably been going on for awhile– just like a person with a similar problem—it is probably going to be a longer rehab period for her.

Lucky: Doing well WTC. The 7 doses of Pentosan have helped him look less stiff in the hind end. He shows no more hesitations going into the trot. He does fuss a little when first asked for the canter but the next transitions up are usually better. He still looks a little stiff when tracking to the right. Also he is pretty tender on his front feet so we’re looking at putting front shoes on.

Finn Update

finn_07_29_2014_01As we talked about in his last update, Finn needed some special treatment and thanks to Jake Cowden, he has been able to get the shoes he needs to feel great. We gave him a few weeks after the first set of shoes to getting used to moving in them. When we trotted him out, we were very happy to see how much better he looked. Last week he got his second pair of therapeutic shoes and everything is going very well. He has been introduced to trot poles, and while he is a bit clumsy over them at first, they help him get a nice rhythmic trot, free up his shoulders and pick up his hooves. We have reintroduced the saddle and bridle again and he is less concerned with them going on and working with them. He remains a constant gentleman, easy to handle, groom, bath and exercise.

I decided to introduce him to a new girl friend, Skittles, this past week. At first they both pretended to ignore each other but by the end of turnout I could see a friendship budding. When I took them back to their stalls they each called out to each other checking in on one another. Finn is a very sweet boy and anyone would be happy to call him their friend.

Thank you, farrier Jake Cowden!

We’re starting to understand Finn’s lameness issues a little better, thanks to Dr King who has determined that Finn a few hoof related problems going on. He does have chronic laminitis, but that does not appear to be the cause of the lameness we’ve seen. The lameness is likely being caused by navicular syndrome. Navicular syndrome, more accurately called caudal heel pain, is a chronic progressive disease caused by degenerative changes to both the navicular bone and associated soft tissue structures. Often it is treated with joint injections, but Finn’s chronic laminitis prevent us from treating him with steroids. So, we’ve been advised to make shoeing changes to deal with this condition, in hopes of keeping him comfortable and sound.

finn padsFarrier Jake Cowden has been donating his services to SAFE on Finn’s behalf since he arrived at SHS. In light of Finn’s diagnosis, Jake donated his time and materials to provide an extensive shoeing job for our horse. He built a full pad to give him support all the way around and help him land more comfortably on his heels as he walks. Jake also rolled up the toes of his new shoes to speed the breakover. Finn was trimmed, using x‑rays as a guide, with shorter toes and lowered heels. Jake believes that this new shoeing will help keep Finn sound, and if it does, he will need to continue to be shod this way.

We want to thank Jake Cowden, not only for his generous donation in support of SAFE, but also for his incredible skill and talent when it comes to helping horses like Finn who have complicated problem feet. Finn is a terrific little horse, and we very much want to see him remain sound and comfortable. So thank you, Jake, for making that happen for him!

Saddle? No problem!

finn_04_07_2014Mr Finn was a superstar yesterday! He wore a saddle for the first time since coming to SAFE and was completely unfazed by the experience. Terry says was a perfect gentleman! Way to go, Finn!!

As we’ve mentioned before, when we took Finn on as a SAFE horse, we were told that he was not sound for riding due to an injury he sustained when he was started under saddle as a young horse. He has a consistent lameness on his RF at the trot. Putting the saddle on was an experiment to see how he would react. We don’t know at this time if he will accept a rider with as little excitement as he did the saddle. Terry is in the process of trying to arrange the donation of a lameness exam so we can hopefully get some information about the nature of his injury and whether or not it is treatable. We should know more in a week or two. 

April Training Notes: Finn

We’ve had some difficulties keeping Finn’s shoes on recently. His feet seem to be pretty soft and his shoes have just fallen off a few times. But they seem to be holding better now, and hopefully with better nutrition and hoof care, his feet will improve. We treated him for some deep splits in the frog and those are beginning to look better. He continues to do well with the ground work and retains what he is learning from session to session. He is still showing off and on lameness when going to the right and on small circles, which could indicate a possible shoulder or leg issues. We’ve also noticed some stiff movement from him when at liberty in the arena. He is gentle to be around and easy to groom.


Finn Photos, by Lisa Carr Photography

Finn training update

Finn has been in ground work for the past several weeks, and he’s been very impressive! He’s made a big impression on Laura M who has been coming to Safe Harbor Stables a couple times a week to help Terry with ground work. Laura is very enthusiastic about Mr Finn…she wrote this update after the first time she worked with him:

Laura and Finn

Laura and Finn

OMG I am COMPLETELY in love. Utterly, ridiculously besotted – the kind where you scribble the guy’s name all over your school notebooks and work his name into all the silly songs on the radio. The kind where your friends roll their eyes every time you start a conversation because every other sentence starts “Finn says…” or “Finn did this funny thing the other day…”. Smitten. Head-over heels.

This “Channing Tatum” of a guy is just everything that *I* personally want in a horse…now of course, I’ve only worked with him once and he’s only at the very beginning of his training with us, and everybody’s tastes and needs are different — but I can’t help thinking he’s going to make a heck of a companion for some very lucky person. There is SO much potential there.

To start with, Finn is built like a TANK. Stunning dark palomino color with thick salt-n-pepper mane and tail and mounds of muscle. He’s not tall – maybe 14.1 or so (we haven’t measured him yet) but I bet he weighs 1,100lbs if he weighs an ounce…big wide chest and a butt that won’t quit. He’s short and stocky on powerful little legs, and he can MOVE on them. His stops and turns are lightning-quick and seriously powerful – I’d definitely want a horn to grab onto!

He ground-ties to groom no problem. He isn’t super-helpful with picking/holding his feet up to be cleaned, but I am guessing that less-than-awesome foot care (and thrush) means that there’s some discomfort associated with his feet, so that’s no big surprise. He doesn’t snatch them away, but is reluctant to pick them up and will kind of fidget with them while you handle them.

He backs so easily on just the second day we’ve asked for it from him; it’s wonderful. He’s still not super-comfortable about being asked to do stuff – a little on-alert – but very attentive and willing, and tuned in to his handler. He takes cues so readily, and wants to please – he’s just not got a lot of experience and is a bit nervous.

Lunging him is pretty easy – he’s not super-balanced, and is SO light in the halter and watchful of his handler that he’s over-bent to the inside most of the time. I think that will become less and less of a problem as he gets more experience.

He is super-responsive and eager; it’s best to keep to very quiet, steady cues. I can see how he might ramp up quickly if he gets too worried or frightened, and he’s SO heavily-muscled and athletic that it can probably be pretty dramatic if it happens. He needs to build confidence and trust. He seems like a steady kind of guy who hasn’t been handled much and is simply in a new situation now with more demands than he is used to. He needs time to become more experienced with people and all our weird requests for behaviors from horses (backing, lunging, moving various body parts around, picking up his feet, etc).


Laura and Finn

He did quite a bit of head bobbing at the trot to the right, unfortunately. I am not sure but I would guess that the pain is somewhere in his right shoulder or leg – that is the foot with the crack in the hoof, but also supposedly he had a knee problem (?), and it’s the shoulder where his puncture wound was – so we can take our pick of causes. It does come and go a little bit, and seems to get better as he warms up. It’s much better on a large circle than a small one. He seems mostly sound at the walk and also the canter, though he couldn’t maintain the canter very long.

To the left, he seems pretty much sound – didn’t see head-bobbing, though he over-bends that way more, so his movement is kind of stilted and odd anyway.

Overall he is still new enough to lunging that it’s hard to get consistent gaits and really judge soundness with any degree of detail– but he’s definitely lame SOMEwhere when he trots to the right. I don’t see it so much when he’s at liberty, but he’s mostly moving in straight lines then.

We worked on flexing, and even though he is really light in the halter under other circumstances, he’s tough to flex. He’s got a very short, thick neck, so it’s probably not the easiest thing in the world for him to do, too. But again – he’s so willing and eager to please, he made good progress.


March training notes: Finn

Finn is such a nice horse! He’s happy just to have his halter put on and be taken for a walk – he loves interaction and physical contact. Loves to be loved on!

We set him loose in the arena, and he had lots of pent-up energy to burn. He ran around and around, kicking and farting, having a good time. Never a laid-back ear or hint of a bad attitude…just joy at moving his body. Where many (even most) other horses tend to look outside the arena as they run around and are very much on their own agenda when first put at liberty, Finn always had an ear or eye on the people in the arena, and stayed at the end close to us most of the time. He is very, VERY social – though not at all pushy. Without even trying, most of his direction changes were to the inside.

He’s quite athletic, and we didn’t see any signs of obvious lameness or unsoundness. Very quickly he was willing to come in to us and never showed anything but pleasure at being approached. No standoffishness at all.

Began working on some basic groundwork. He’s attentive and calm with everything, and is SO willing. He backed like a dream once he caught on to what was wanted, and he just naturally yields his hindquarters. He is quite submissive, but not in a fearful or reactive way. He just simply watches to see what you want, and then does it. Loves praise, no false pride – very workmanlike and calm, but interested and has good energy. He desensitized to the rope on his body and legs very quickly, and even when he was a little afraid at first, he stayed supple and soft to just one finger on the halter. He naturally looks to people for direction on how to stay safe and what to do – he is really incredibly sensible, willing, and smart – everything Quarter Horses are justly famous for!

I am guessing he will go best Western – he’s definitely not the usual build for English events, and judging from his movement at liberty, it’d be quite an effort for him to get that stocky body over any kind of jump. I can’t see him ever having that long, elegant lateral drift like a TB or Warmblood – it’s more the down-n-dirty athleticism of a cutting horse.

As long as his feet get good care and assuming there are not permanent repercussions from his old injuries, he’s got an amazing ability to get low into the dirt, rock over his hocks, engage that magnificent rump and execute serious power-turns, so he might make a great roping or “fun-show” level reining prospect – or pack you along trails until the end of time. He’s short, but stocky enough to carry an average adult. He is a bit older so I wouldn’t want to see him pushed TOO hard as he ages – but he’s got a lot of quickness left in him if managed and conditioned properly. For right now we will build up his strength with liberty and ground work and help him shed some pounds in the process.

Finn at SAFE Harbor

Finn was released from Dr Hannah’s care this week, and is now part of the herd at SAFE Harbor Stables. He’s already found one new BFF in Jewel…the two of them are quite smitten with each other. They are a nicely matched pair, about the same size and very similar in color as well. They spent some time hanging out in the arena together today, and there was some definite smooching going on!

Upon his arrival at SAFE, Finn got reacquainted with Terry. Finn’s puncture wound is almost completely healed and he’s feeling a lot better!

Finn gets his toes fixed!

Farrier Jake Cowden made a special visit to Dr Hannah’s Cedarbrook Veterinary Hospital to visit Finn. Finn came in pretty overdue for a trim, so his feet needed someone pretty immediate attention. He has a crack in his front right cornet band that, as it grows out, creates a crack all the way down to the tip of his toe. This may require him to always keep shoes on his front feet but it remains to be seen if it affects his soundness. He was a very good boy for the work even though, as you can see from the photos below, the puncture wound on his shoulder was still in the process of healing. We are very thankful for Jake’s experience and kindness towards Finn.



Meet Finn

We have a new horse to introduce. His name is Finn and he is a 14 year old Quarter Horse gelding. Finn was injured in his pasture when he impaled himself through the muscle of his right shoulder. His owner was unable to afford to have a vet out to see him. She treated his wound herself for a few days but when it began to become infected, she called SAFE for help. Fortunately with the recent adoption of Nora, we had a space available and were able to take him. 

Finn was signed over to us, and we delivered him straight to NWESC so that Dr Hannah could see to his wound. She discovered that while the wound was extremely deep, it was angled in such a way that it was draining well, and she found no debris remaining in the wound or signs of necrotic tissue. Finn will remain at NWESC for further treatment of the wound, as it is important that it heals correctly from the inside out. 

Finn’s previous owner told us that he was injured while being started under saddle as a young horse, but we are unclear as to the exact nature of his injury. He has a badly cracked front hoof, and the crack appears to be growing from the coronary band. Other than these issues, and his injury, Finn is in good health and is in fact a bit overweight. We’re getting him up to date on teeth and shots, and we hope that he’ll be released from NWESC in another week or so. He’s a very sweet horse, and we have high hopes that we’ll be able to find him a new home where he’ll get the care that he deserves.


Finn’s Ten Friends:

1. Kacie S.

2. Sara E.

3. Ann C.

4. _____________________

5. _____________________

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 Finn!