2020 Mustang filly
Suitability: In Training
Height: 13.2 hh
Weight: 630 lbs
Adoption Fee: TBD
Frosting is pretty little Mustang filly, who was seized along with three other horses, one of them her dam, by Animal Control in Snohomish County. During her neglect, Frosting was nursing, so she was less affected by starvation than the rest of her friends. She arrived at SAFE as a woolly little thing but eventually she shed away her long matted coat and has blossomed into quite a lovely mare!
Frosting has recently been started under saddle, and when the time comes, will be adopted out as a riding horse. She still needs some time to grow up a bit, and spends the majority of her time playing out in a herd with her other mare friends. But his little mare is a sweet and smart girl, and we are delighted to continue to watch her grow and be a part of her transformation!
All SAFE horses are adopted with a no-breeding clause, no exceptions.
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.
There are, according to Buck Brannaman whose style of horsemanship we follow most closely, multiple ways of moving the hind. 5, specifically. One of them, and in my opinion one of the most mystical, involves bending the horse using the rein only and simply… waiting for them to figure out that you’d like them to rock their hindquarters, please. Truly nothing speaks to a horse’s intuition and intelligence more than when they fill in for our unspoken desires (occasionally before we even know what those are ourselves), and it is certainly a little bit like magic when we ask of them something they have never been asked before and they find the answer.
Frosting, like all horses, possesses this ability to intuit. Here you can see the process in real time of her coming to the conclusion of what is being asked of her, a process that doesn’t take her very long at all. And then, once she’s learned it, replicating the answer is quick and easy.
Frosting is really coming into herself as nice little mare! Hers is truly an ugly duckling story — it is hard to believe the scraggly, ratty little creature who arrived at SAFE is the same mare who stands before us now, a true beauty. But looks aren’t everything, and we would love Frosting just as much had she not had such an impressive metamorphosis.
She was started under saddle earlier this year, and has since had around 10 rides. We ease our youngsters into their riding careers gradually, with a great emphasis on allowing them to grow up in between their work under saddle. Frosting spends the majority of her time turned out with her herd, where she plays at being boss mare while being bossed around by the true leaders of the pack (hence all her little scrapes and scratches!).
Recently, we switched our main arena to our covered outdoor, a new location for a lot of our horses. Frosting took it all in stride, barely batting an eye at the new sights and sounds.
Frosting also began work in the bridle. Previously she had only been ridden in the halter, but more and more work was done to transition her into the snaffle. This looked like a ride that began in the halter, and finished with a little bit of work in the snaffle bit.
The ride below shows the very first time Frosting’s ride began in the snaffle, with no prior work under saddle in the halter.
The Frosting who arrived at SAFE at the beginning of 2021 was a scraggly creature, barely half a panel high at the wither, and covered in a ratty, matted coat. She was just shy of a year old then, and still clacking at every horse around her to remind them that she was little and therefore, not a threat. She spent some time at foster, growing up alongside mother-figure Fancy, and when she came back to SAFE some months later, she had shed that stinky (literally) hair and had transformed into quite a sleek looking young lady. Taller, too. Being at foster had also helped her learn some manners, taught by both horse and human, and back at SAFE we were able to experience first hand the joy of getting to work with a horse who knew more good experiences than bad.
This meant that preparing Frosting for a saddle, and subsequently saddling her for the first time, went far more smoothly than it does for some other horses who carry the baggage they often arrive with. With Frosting, the experiences she had here were new and novel, and we could help her find understanding without the fight of having to unlearn any bad habits or braces. In short, what is often a difficult thing was made much easier.
Here, you can see Frosting’s first saddling and her first ride. As always, the videos we post are only a small snapshot of the full story. Hours upon hours are spent preparing even the readiest of horses for a saddle, for a rider. Frosting handled both new experiences phenomenally well, but plenty of work was done beforehand to ensure said experiences would be as pleasant as possible for her. Glimpses of this include things like: sending her out in the roundpen after cinching up so she could move out freely, getting her accustomed to the feel of something on her back, the swing of the stirrups on either side of her, the touch of both front and back cinches. It includes tons of groundwork, touching her all over with flags and ropes, helping her differentiate when a stimulus means something and when it doesn’t. It includes bumping her up to the rail so she knows what it’s like to have a human over top of her, putting weight in the saddle in preparation to ride. And then of course, the first rides, more about going with her than anything else. Little emphasis is placed on steering, more on learning that she can move out freely with a rider. In a full circle kind of moment, Frosting’s first ride was assisted by her old friend, Fancy, who helped move her out around the round pen. Still helping her learn, just in a new capacity.
Because she is still young, we will not ask very much of Frosting at this point. It is mostly about giving her positive foundational experiences that we can continue to build upon as her education expands. But we are extraordinarily proud of this little mare, and cannot wait to continue undertaking this journey with her.
Our sweet filly Frosting sure is growing up quick! This little lady is really growing into a beautiful, feisty mare and has a new opportunity to figure horse things out in her new herd. Having been supported by her aunt Fancy for the last year, Frosting is ready to make some friends and live her rebellious teenage years with her fellow youngsters (while of course running back to the support of Fancy when necesary). Frosting has made good friends with both Rae and Nova and seems to be doing really well understanding how to live in a herd. She’s showing some strong characteristics of a herd leader and it seems likely that she’ll become the boss mare as she grows up. Frosting loves a good scratch and pet, but we’re making sure she gets to live her young life learning how to be a horse and not learning how to ignore or push on people. Hopefully she’ll be an easy project to start next year and get her going as a nice riding horse! In the meantime, Frosting is happy to play and nap and eat with her friends.
Take a look at our little “ugly duckling’s” transformation into a swan this spring! What a difference good food and care has made! She is turning into a gorgeous young mare — it’s almost hard to believe she’s the same horse as she was when she arrived!
Check out this photo Frosting’s foster mom sent us of Frosting and her BFF, SAFE Alumna Fancy, enjoying a nap in the sun together. There’s nothing quite like basking in those rare wintertime rays with your buddy by your side!
Frosting’s foster mom, Casey, wrote an update on Frosting and here’s what she had to say about her:
“Frosting is a great companion on the farm! Right now, we’re just giving her time to grow up and learn the basics. She is pretty fearless and has no trouble with blanketing, mane and tail spray, hosing, grooming, leading, etc. Even when Frosting’s paddock mate is away for a ride, Frosting remains unconcerned.
Frosting is also as entertaining as ever! She is constantly getting into shenanigans, and paddock buddy Fancy certainly thinks she’s a pesky little sister. She loves to pull tarps into their paddock and run around with them as if on a victory lap. I once left Fancy’s rain sheet too close to the fence, and that got dragged around. Luckily no damage done, just a soggy blanket. She was given a Jolly Ball (horse toy) for entertainment, and it does work, but much like a cat, the free old tarp is much more appealing. She also likes to be as dirty as possible, so it was a relief when a new rain sheet was delivered! Rolling in the snow is her new favorite thing, which is a welcome reprieve.
Night check is my favorite. The girls are usually in the same stall, and one or the other is laying down taking a snooze. As much as Fancy thinks Frosting is pesky, she appreciates her company, too.”
Frosting is currently at foster with Fancy’s adopter, one of SAFE’s volunteer riders. While Frosting is fostered, SAFE will continue to pay for her veterinary and farrier care. Frosting had her first visit with the farrier and was a brave little mustang throughout the process, although she gave the farrier and her handler a good run for their money. Frosting needs continued work on having her feet handled. The stress warts that Frosting had on her nose upon arrival at SAFE have mostly cleared up. These were most likely caused by a too abrupt weaning. Frosting is losing her fuzziness and is turning into a real beauty.
Little Frosting is away at foster and is living her best life. When Casey, one of our volunteer riders, decided to adopt Fancy, she wanted to have a friend for Fancy and also continue to be part of the horsemanship program at SAFE, even though she recently moved farther away. So Casey decided to always foster a horse from SAFE and Frosting is the first lucky girl.
Casey’s property is perfect for multiple horses and gives Frosting the chance to grow up with the best guidance we could offer her. With both Casey and Fancy as her teachers, she will be set up for success when she finally returns to SAFE ready for adoption. Right now, she gets to enjoy being a young little thing hanging out with her big sister, enjoying sunshine and a little grass.
Witness Frosting’s first moments at SAFE after Animal Control dropped her off. Having Veronica as her neighbor was a highlight for this young mustang who makes sure Veronica knows she is a baby by clacking her teeth.
Frosting is an 8 month old Mustang filly who was one of four horses seized by Animal Control due to neglect. Having just taken in seven ponies from another county, SAFE was not able to take all four of the horses, so one went to Pony Up and two went to a private rescuer. Frosting, being so young, will likely be with SAFE for a few years, since we prefer to start horses under saddle before offering them for adoption.
Frosting is absolutely adorable. She’s a scruffy little girl with big eyes and a wavy mane that flutters around her head. She’s shy, but extremely curious and she seems to want to make friends. She’s certainly done her best to make friends with her next door neighbor, Veronica. The two play together from either side of the fence. Like many foals do, Frosting will often “clack” at older horses with her mouth, a gesture that’s meant to say “I’m just a little baby, please don’t hurt me!” Again, absolutely adorable.
Frosting was seized along with her dam, so she was able to maintain decent weight while nursing. This is something we’ve seen before in rescue: thin, starved mares who give birth to relatively healthy foals. It’s remarkable how much a mother will give of herself to her offspring. But we’ve also experienced the heartbreak of losing foals that were born into neglect situations, because their needs weren’t met when they were small. So we’ll be keeping a close eye on Frosting. She’s a lovely filly who is full of life, and we will do all that we can to keep her that way.
1. Tiffany L.
2. Stephanie L.
3. Brie C‑D.
4. Bear C.
5. Gayle S.
6. Janet H.
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!