1991 chestnut Morgan type mare
Type of Rescue: Owner Surrender
Intake Date: 7/28/21
Adoption Date: 5/22/22
Length of Time with SAFE: 10 months
ADOPTED!! by Manuela
Freya is a sweet, lovable, healthy Morgan type mare in her 30’s. She arrived at SAFE with another gelding, Nyx. Sadly, their owner was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and was struggling to care for them. Freya takes life in stride, loves other horses and looks out for her buddies. When turned out with other horses she was very respectful. When Manuela was looking for a companion horse for her Paso Fino mare, Mocha, she struck gold when she found Freya. We could also say that SAFE struck gold with Manuela because she assisted Freya in writing us a letter about her first week in her new home. Read below.
It’s not everyday we get a horse like Freya, who is not only sweet, but also writes letters! When Manuela adopted Freya and picked up her up last month we had no idea Freya would be the one who would keep us up to date on how she was doing. I’m not sure why we were so surprised, Freya quickly was a favorite among many of the volunteers and staff, so we should have seen this coming. Here’s Freya’s letter below:
Freya here checking in. Soooooooooooooooooo, Getting here was not much fun and I was stuck in that sweatbox called a trailer for over an hour and 20 minutes. But maybe detoxing isn’t all bad for my complexion. A gal my age has to do all she can to look youthful, right?
Once we got to that place in the country, the lady who said she would like to be my Mom, put me in a large paddock with GRASS, lots and lots of grass! Imagine my joy. While I was noshing on green morsels of blessed grass, “Mom” rubbed me down with a fluffy towel. Not bad. Imagine my surprise when, suddenly, another horse was near my grass, but on the other side of the fence. A younger gal who called herself Mocha. She says it’s an alias for ‘Sunny’s Starlight’. Huh. I told her my name was Freya because I come from a long line of Norse Goddesses. Mocha said, “huh.”
After a couple of hours, “Mom” (not sure if I really want her yet as my Mom), came outside and brushed both of us thoroughly. That was rather nice and I enjoyed Mocha’s company.
Then it was dinner time. A little Orchard, a little Alfalfa, and still more grass. I am so happy.
Got brushed, walked, fed, and spent the night next to Mocha. I head-butted “Mom” and she took it like a champ. I only heard a couple of juicy human Army words from her clenched jaw. Hahahaha.
Repeat from Monday. I tried to head-butt, but Mom was quicker. I think I like her after all. That evening, Mocha and I played a game where Mocha blocked me from getting into the shelter where the hay is and I was supposed to stare her down. Mom got really grumpy after a couple of hours and I had to stay in the neighboring paddock all night. There was shelter, hay, and grass, of course, but no Mocha! We were NOT HAPPY and we definitely expressed our displeasure of being separated by a fence ALL NIGHT (well, about every two hours we took turns squealing to make sure Mom woke up and knew we were mad.)
Mom looked a little hungover but I think she learned her lesson and put us back together. Now we are in the third paddock with two shelters. So now we can play musical shelters. We are happy, Mom is happy, she still ducks really fast.
Here we are, it’s Thursday. I must say, I am feeling my joints. I fell over this morning because I am so tired. Mom saw it and came running. But I come from a long line of Norse Goddesses and we are tough. I got up and shook it off. Nevertheless, Mom was standing in the paddock, phone in hand, ordering Golf course quality sand for me. She said it would help me lay down with more comfort. She also put me on Bute to help with the soreness until my personalized supplements get here. I say, I AM a Freya, I am a goddess, why do I have to wait for my supplements?? She worked on my feet this morning. Cleaned my hooves, massaged some special oil into them. Huh! Cool farm…cool Mom…I am going to adopt her as long as she keeps it up. Naah, just kidding, I really like her. She massaged my back too.
That’s all for now. I thought my staff at SAFE would enjoy hearing from me. I can send updates once in a while between my beauty treatments and grass intake.
Love you all.
Freya is a lucky lady. Not only does Manuela help her send us updates, but she also gets to be best friends with Manuela’s Paso Fino mare, Mocha. We look forward to hearing more updates from Freya on her new wonderful life.
One of our volunteers, Bob M. came to watch and participate in a horsemanship weekend at SAFE. Here’s what he had to say:
“A few weekends ago, I attended the first ‘in house’ horsemanship gathering that Terry organized and hosted. At the end, I got my first experience doing a bit of groundwork with Freya and found it very valuable. As I heard from others more experienced, Freya is ‘very soft’ and was a good partner to start with. Kaya’s insights on where to stand, move and use the lead rope were very helpful. It was clear the more comfortable and clear I am, the better I will be able to communicate with my equine partner.
Having attended a couple of Buck Brannaman’s clinics, as well as several at SAFE with Joel Conner, I know ‘softness’ is a high priority in this style of horsemanship. Interestingly, softness is also a foundational goal in Tai Qi, the Chinese movement practice. In my Tai Qi studies, the goal is to be soft, long and round in our movements. That may seem a bit incongruous with horsemanship, but I believe the principles are the same. For the horse, or the person, learning to let go of held tension and response patterns increases freedom of movement and supports the capacity for thoughtful responses rather than unconscious reactions.
Coupled with ‘softness’, and apparently a process to achieving it, is the concept of ‘pressure and release.’ This initially sounded like teaching through avoidance of something negative. My sense now is more of clearly defining boundaries so the horse can understand what is being asked of it. The ‘good deal’ is offered first followed by more intensity, and even a ‘bump’ when needed, to get more attention. All is done with the goal of getting to softness and an increased rapport and collaboration between horse and human.
Pressure and release has been a constant throughout the many exercises I’ve observed in groundwork and while watching riders. My ability to recognize it is growing, and I’ve had few experiences feeling it as well. In addition to my session with Freya, I have been working on ‘leading at a distance’ with Owen. He’s a very good teacher because he has a tendency to creep up and crowd a bit. This has given me the opportunity to be clear in my communication, to get him to step back and stay back, as we walk. We’re still a bit inconsistent, but now I can feel where he is through the lead rope – and he’s recognizing that a turn of my head means he needs to step back. I’m also learning how important it is to make sure a horse is ‘with me’ and paying attention – and that seems to depend on how clearly I’m with the horse.
Another observation from the workshop was watching Terry work with several horses to get them to be more comfortable seeing with both eyes. That’s a bit of an awkward way to say it, but it’s common for horses to favor one eye and one sense of direction. They are often very uncomfortable turning away from that ‘good’ side and so they are limited in their options of movement. It’s easy to imagine how knowing you can turn left and right would lead to being much more comfortable overall.
Ending work sessions on a positive note was also emphasized in the day. Rather than just stopping at a particular time or out of frustration with a difficult goal, emphasis is on leaving the horse with a feeling of accomplishment, however small it might be. I can certainly feel the significance of that in my own life, so it makes sense horses’ respond similarly.
Observing clinics has been an important part of my education at SAFE in this last year. Initially, all was rather overwhelming and I couldn’t really see or understand what was going on. However, over time that is changing and Terry’s ability to communicate what she and the horses are doing is extremely valuable. Input from Casey and Lisa and other horsemanship volunteers was very helpful as well. So much experience and generosity of learning at SAFE! I look forward to future clinics and gatherings and encourage volunteers to attend who want to understand how SAFE has such a positive impact on our incredible horses.”
One of our volunteers, Bob, had this to tell us about his Wednesdays spent with Freya:
“As a relatively new volunteer at SAFE, I’ve really appreciated my ‘horse time’ and all that I’ve been learning. One of my favorite teachers in the last few months has been our mare Freya.
Following Sue Coulter’s grooming class for volunteers, I started getting together with Freya on Wednesday afternoons for a general grooming session. I’ve enjoyed these a lot and feel pretty confident that Freya feels the same. Our sessions have been in Freya’s paddock with a halter and lead rope. She is steady and calm and there’s been no need to tie her. This is true even in with the other mares, including the younger Rae who often tries to get attention by butting in.
Since at least one side of Freya is usually covered with dirt, including her face, I assume she must like to lie down and roll. Fortunately, she really enjoys having her face groomed, around her eyes and ears, and especially along her jaw. During a session, she’ll usually guide me back to the left side of her face and neck for even more attention – so those are favorite spots.
Picking up her feet was a bit challenging at first, but once I learned to have her take a step or two, it’s been quite easy. She also didn’t care for the sound of the detangling spray on her mane, but after a couple of sessions that passed and it hasn’t been an issue since. One of Freya’s unique characteristics is a low sort of rumble she makes when walking on a lead. Perhaps she’s commenting on her day, but it always seems relaxed and a sound quite unique to her.
At around 30 years old, Freya is in great shape and very accustomed to herd dynamics. She’s probably seen enough so she doesn’t need to take much action to hold her place in the group. However, when necessary, I’ve seen her move others away with a very focused look or even a well-placed kick.
For me, it’s been quite something to work so closely with such large animals – and working with Freya has added to my comfort and understanding. It also been very gratifying to see her relax, lowering her head and even closing her eyes at times.
It sounds like Freya’s adoption process is underway and she will soon be leaving for a new home. It has been great to have such a calm and comfortable member of the SAFE herd for as long as we have. I’ve learned a lot working with Freya and will miss our sessions, but I wish her and her new family the very best going forward.”
Freya is a sweet and lovable Morgan type mare, and for a gal in her 30’s, she is very healthy! When our vet got a first look at her teeth they were impressed! That means she still gets most of her nutrients from the hay we feed her and doesn’t need to live off of grain like a many senior horses. We do give her a little seniorfeed, just for the nutrients, but overall, this lady is on no medications. Freya takes life in stride, loves other horses and looks out for her buddies. When turned out with other horses she is very respectful if the other horse is the boss. She says “Ok, no biggie, I’ll move out of your way.”
Her gentle nature gave us the chance to give our volunteers the opportunity to learn how to properly lead and groom a horse. With Freya as the model, we know everyone will be safe and taken care of. At this point in her life, she wouldn’t be good for saddling and going on long rides, but we would be open if a family occasionally wanted to put a kid on her bareback and take short walks. Her ideal home could be someone looking for a horse to teach their kids the responsibility of caring for a horse or maybe someone who needs a companion pet that they can groom and love on. Freya loves attention and stands enjoying each moment of her scratches and massages.
Freya is worth her weight in gold for how gentle she is and her sweet nature. Here at SAFE we are more accustomed to horses with behavior issues due to neglect and mistreatment, so it has been a delight having a gentle, wise mare like Freya. She just goes with the flow. Trailering, vet vistis, farrier, coming into a stall after many years, that is no big deal for Freya! In her short time here she has already helped our volunteers expand their education and is a joy to be around. We are excited to find Freya the perfect home to live out her golden years.
Freya was recently interviewed by The Limelight Pet Project to be featured on Fox 13. Check out their full interview here:
Freya is a healthy mare with good teeth for her age. She has had a dental float, and behaved well for the farrier during her hoof trim. In August, she had her vaccinations and booster shots, and is now ready for adoption as a companion horse. Freya has been moved away from her old friend Nyx, and is now living in “mare row” during the day, near the paddocks of Lacey, Sienna, Pepper, and Veronica. Freya has “had words” with Lacey, so we think she may be a somewhat dominant mare. She would be likely a suitable companion for a gelding or the right mare.
Two new friends arrived at our farm last week. Freya is a 30+ yr old Morgan type mare and Nyx is a very large BLM Mustang. Sadly their owner was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and was struggling to care for them. The two horses had very overgrown hooves and about a month ago, a farrier trimmed them way too short, causing them both a great deal of pain and discomfort. We have them in a paddock with soft footing and they’ve already seen the vet for checkups and floats! They even got a spa day (bath time) and both did great. We had xrays done for Nyx on his two front feet. It looks like he has thin soles after getting trimmed a month ago. Most likely just trimmed too much off, too fast, but luckily no rotation. We are going to give him time to grow his feet out and possibly get him shoes with pads on them. For now, we have him on soft rides on his front feet 24/7 to help ease the pain.
The two horses are very sweet over the fence, but they can be a bit pushy on the ground, so as soon as they’re feeling better, they’ll be starting with our horsemanship program to find out what they know.