description: 1997 chestnut Quarter horse type gelding
type of rescue: feedlot rescue
intake date: 7/15/2005
adoption date: 7/28/2014
length of time with SAFE: 9 years
Honeycutt’s Story: Honeycutt was pulled from a feedlot in Yakima where he was scheduled to ship to slaughter. He bore three brands that seemed to indicate that he was an ex-bucking stock horse, and his ability to buck removed any doubt. He was healthy and sound, but terribly afraid of people. SAFE made several attempts to start Honeycutt under saddle but eventually we realized that it was too much for him and that he would never be safe to ride. Despite his fear, Honeycutt had lovely manners and was a wonderful horse to be around. Once we stopped trying to ride him, his artistic side began to bloom. He wrote beautiful haiku poetry which he shared on his blog, and was also an accomplished painter who worked both solo and in collaboration with other artists. He helped with many of the SAFE horses, including Chip, Owen, and most notably, Sinatra. Honeycutt quickly recognized that Sinatra was Special, and did much to help him navigate the turbulent waters of life. Honeycutt and Sinatra were adopted together in 2014, but in 2019, they returned to SAFE.
Honeycutt and Sinatra have settled in to life at Safe Harbor Stables. They reside in the paddock closest to the gate where they can watch people come and go. From the far side of the paddock they can see lots of other horses, and watch our volunteers at work.
When the boys first arrived back at SAFE, they seemed astonished to see other horses again! They are living next door to an old friend named Owen, and all three horses seem to recognize and remember each other from their time in foster together. (Here’s Honeycutt’s take on the Owen situation, written shortly after we rescued the Curly Horse stallion.) Honeycutt remains a little shy, but he’s happy to stand and observe as Sinatra makes friends with everyone who passes by his area. Sinatra is older now, but he’s retained that childlike wonder through which he views the word.
Both horses have been examined by our vet, had their teeth floated, and their hooves trimmed. Sinatra was showing signs of lameness when he arrived, so we’re hoping that we can make him more sound by getting his hooves back in shape. He’s got a pretty big crack on the front of his left fore, but farrier Andrea feels that it will grow out and be gone in other trim or two. Both boys had very nasty thrush, but the treatments we’re doing to rid them of that appear to be working. We did a blood test on Honeycutt to confirm that he does have Cushings as we feared, so he’s been started on a medication called Prascend to help control it. We’ll have to control his diet and watch carefully for signs of founder, but hopefully he’ll be feeling better soon. Honeycutt also has four loose teeth that will need to be pulled. We can’t say for certain if this is just a symptom of aging, but it’s another reminder of why horses need regular dental checkups. And regular appointments with the farrier.
All in all, both Honeycutt and Sinatra are looking and feeling better than when they arrived two weeks ago. Their dreadlocks are gone, and both have enjoyed grooming and braiding sessions with volunteers. They’ve gotten accustomed to hay being delivered several times a day, and they’re getting the hang of those pesky slow feeders. Every day they get a little serving of tasty, tasty grain with their vitamins, and that makes them happy. And they’ve still got each other for company, although once their quarantine period is up, they may start making new friends and learning to be less dependent on one another. We’ll take it slow.
Many people have asked if Honeycutt will resume writing his blog now that he’s back in wi-fi range. He definitely plans to start writing again, once he’s feeling better. He wrote a haiku for his Facebook page shortly after his return that went:
This is a good place
Lovely hays come day and night
But I still feel strange
Here are some photos prior to Honeycutt and Sinatra’s farrier appointment (thank you Kristina Oden!):
When SAFE adopts out a horse, we make it very clear to the new adopter that their relationship with SAFE is just getting started. Most of the people who’ve adopted from us over the last 14 years remain in regular contact with us, whether through site visits, emails/phone calls, or our Alumni Facebook group. And most are more than happy to share updates with us, because they know we still care as much about their horses as they do.
So when an adopter starts refusing site visits…that’s a red flag.
Two of SAFE’s most popular and well-known horses, Honeycutt and Sinatra, were adopted together in 2014. The first few years were great and their adopter was in regular communication with us. Then site visits became difficult to schedule, and their adopter expressed irritation with SAFE for trying. Then they stopped responding to us. We continued to try to reconnect. We finally got through to them earlier this year, and again tried to arrange a visit. The adopter refused, then agreed, then became unavailable, all the while expressing considerable anger toward SAFE. It all came to a head last Sunday, when we told them we were coming down to get the horses. Thankfully, we were able to retrieve them both without incident, and Honeycutt and Sinatra have returned to SAFE.
The two horses had been living rough for some time, receiving minimal care on an irregular basis. They’re in decent weight, but their hooves are in terrible condition from lack of farrier care, and we have to assume that they haven’t seen a vet in some time either. Honeycutt is not completely shed out, which means he may have Cushings.
We’ll have a lot more happy news to share about Honeycutt and Sinatra’s return to SAFE, and how well they are bouncing back, but we’re still feeling a lot of distress as to how this adoption played out. It just shows how vital it is to keep contact with horses even after they go to new homes. But it also shows how hard we will fight to protect our horses, even if things get ugly. Because no horse should ever be forgotten.
Hello to all my friends! I have something wonderful to share with you, but first I have a question to ask: Adoption — do you know this thing? Adoption is when someone says “Oh horse! Please come to my home and live there forever. There will be lovely hays and tasty, tasty grain for you, and also friends and fields and little houses. I am a good peoples and I want you to be my horse!” That is the thing called Adoption, and that is the thing that has happened for me and Sinatra.
Me and Sinatra have been SAFE horses for a long, long time, and sometimes we thought we would be SAFE horses forever! But one day a nice man named Chris saw my picture on the Interwebs and thought that it would be nice to have a horse like me living on his big farm. He came over to meet me, and right away I liked him very much. Chris was very calm and quiet with me, and when I stood next to him I felt like yawning, and I did yawn many, many times. Chris and Mom talked for a long time about me, and Chris told Mom that he had a big ranch where I could live with acres of room to roam and lots of different animals to be my friends. Mom was very very sad to think about saying “So long” to me, but when she saw the yawning, she understood that Chris was someone who I could be happy with. She did not want to be in the way of me being happy, so she was brave and said that Chris could take me to his ranch and that would be my home for ever.
Now when Chris was meeting me, Mom told Sinatra “Oh Sinatra! You must be a very very good horse and maybe Chris will take you to his farm for ever and ever too.” But Sinatra did not listen to Mom, so instead of being a good horse, he was a very bad horse! He screamed like a goat every time he could not see me, and he banged and banged on the metal gate because he was too far away to be my shadow. He even escaped into the barn and helped himself to some tasty, tasty grain, and made Mom have to pull on him to get him back outside. Sinatra was a very bad horse the day that Chris came to meet me, and when Chris went home, Mom told Sinatra “Oh Sinatra! You will not be going to Chris’ farm with Honeycutt because you could not have been a badder behaved horse today.” Sinatra just said “Shoelace” and went back to being my white shadow.
But then Chris said something that made Mom and all the SAFE peoples cry a little with happiness. He told Mom that he didn’t think it would be right to take me away from Sinatra! He said that he could see that I am Sinatra’s rock, and that Sinatra would be very, very sad if I was to go away. So he said that he wanted to take Sinatra to his farm and that both of us would have a home for ever and ever.
So Mom put us in the moving box and took us to a place called Onalaska which is where our new home with Chris is. Our new home is a giant ranch that is so big that you cannot see all of the ends of it. The ranch is already home to many things called Cattles, and also the ranch is where bales of lovely, lovely hay come from! At first when we came to the ranch, I was quite startled by some very different sights and sounds and smells! There were a bunch of very ugly things in the barn that made scary gobbledy noises…Mom said they were Turkees, do you know those things? Turkees are giant birds that were up to no good, I think! I watched them from my new stall, and although I tried to be very very brave, there was a little quiver in my leg that showed how worried I was about Turkees.
Later when we went to explore the ranch with Mom and Chris and my friend Debi, I saw a giant black thing off in the distance called Bull, do you know THAT thing?! Bull was black and gigantic and when I saw Bull, I turned into a horse statue made of glass! Mom laughed and told me that Bull was very far away and would not hurt me, and eventually I changed back into a horse and then I could walk again.
My new ranch also many things called Cows and another big thing called Pig, and I keep a very close eye on all these things just in case they are up to no good, like Turkees.
Chris is my new Dad and even though it was me who he wanted to be his horse first, he has already formed a very good bond with Sinatra. He says that Sinatra is one of the sweetest and most lovable horses he has ever met! He even calls him a good little horse! Sinatra does like his new home very much, and seems to be calmer and happier than before. I still have to look out for him most of the times, but now he has two friends: me and Chris. Two friends is a very good thing to have.
I miss my old home and my old Mom, but I am very happy to have a home of my own that is forever with my new Dad and my new family. I can’t talk to old Mom as much anymore, but I can feel that she is still there taking care of my friend Jay and feeling love for me and for the Big Baby. She can’t see our bodies but she can still feel our hearts. Old Mom will always be part of my life even if I can’t see her every day. I know she thinks of me often, especially in the morning when she doesn’t hear me nickering like a foghorn for my breakfast. She misses me most of all at those moments. Sometimes I call for her in the morning from my new ranch home, and maybe she hears that in her heart, and gets out of bed to feed breakfast to my friends I left behind. That would be a nice thing, don’t you think?
Here are some pictures for you to see of me and Sinatra at our new home!
If you follow Honeycutt’s blog, you know that he shares a lot of secrets about horses and their interactions. Today’s update on Owen comes straight from the horse’s mouth…
Owen is a new SAFE horse who lives here with me for now. There’s something about Owen that is Different, and that thing is that Owen does not want any peoples to touch him. Maybe you are thinking that Owen is a baby horse who hides behind his momma? No, Owen is this many years old: six. Maybe you are thinking that Owen is a wild horse who has lived away from peoples all his life? No, Owen is a thing called a Curly Horse and Curly Horses don’t run free on the wild plains of Merica. What Owen is is a thing called a Neglected Horse, because he got to be six years old with no one touching him. Owen won’t even let Mom put a Face Harness on him, which means that when it is time to go to the field, Owen has to stay behind because before you go to the field, you have to let Mom put on your Face Harness and Owen just runs away.
Owen is also a thing called a stallion, do you know that thing? You should know that thing because I explained that thing when I told you about Chip. But I will say again that a stallion is a horse that you use to make baby horses. Baby horses are great, but when there are many many horses who need homes and many many horses who are pointy because of not enough lovely hays to eat, then maybe we don’t need so many baby horses to be made, now do we? Owen can make babies but he’s never done a single thing in his life worth passing on to a baby except be born a Curly Horse. Are we running out of Curly Horses? Owen is the only Curly Horse I have ever seen, but I don’t think that means there is a shortage of Curly Horses. We probably don’t need Owen to make any more Curly Horses.
I spent many times watching Mom work with Owen. She tells him he is a good boy when he lets her pet him on his shoulder, and I try not to laugh because I know that Mom has a thing called Low Expectations when it comes to Owen, do you know that thing? Low Expectations is when you don’t expect very much, so getting to pet someone’s shoulder is still a pretty big deal. Mom would probably not tell me I am a good boy for letting her pet my shoulder. Maybe she would, she loves me an awful lot. But anyway, she spends many times trying to pet Owen’s shoulder, and I watch them carefully to make sure that Owen doesn’t hurt my mom. Owen is scared. I’m scared too, but Mom says I am Different than most horses because even though I am scared, I am gentle and I have a thing called Excellent Ground Manners. Owen is not a mean horse, but he’s big and clumsy so Mom has to be extra careful when he gets scared that he doesn’t do anything to hurt her, even by accident.
Owen makes a pretty big deal out of things that are not very scary, and I think that is kind of dumb. But Mom says that Owen is very smart and that he thinks very hard about everything that is happening around him. This might be another case of Low Expectations. But I want to say to Owen, “Oh Owen! No peoples are trying to hurt you! So please stop making Big Deals out of Not Scary things, and let Mom put the Face Harness on you!” But I think that when Mom gets to put the Face Harness on Owen that maybe he won’t be a stallion any more, and I can’t really remember how you get to be not a stallion anymore. I’m not a stallion, but I’ve been Not a Stallion for a long time.
Boys will be boys, and these guys play rough…Honeycutt has some scary-looking moves, but he doesn’t actually do anything to hurt Sinatra.
If you follow Honeycutt’s blog, you know that he shares a lot of secrets about horses and their interactions. Today’s update on Sinatra comes straight from the horse’s mouth…
Now if you were to look out and see me, you would see something white right next to me. If you looked again a little while later, you would see the white thing again! The white thing is called Sinatra, do you know that thing? Sinatra is another SAFE horse who lives with me now, and he is always right next to me, being the opposite of my shadow.
Many years ago, Sinatra was something even more terrible than a Pointy Horse: he was a Pointy Foal! Thinking about Pointy Foals makes me want to hang my head all the way down to the ground and sigh. Pointy Foals are the most wrong thing of all. All foals should be round and fuzzy and run in big circles around their round mother. They should not be hungry and cold like Sinatra was. Sinatra is no longer Pointy, thanks to my friends at SAFE, but there is something about Sinatra that is still not quite right. Mom says Sinatra is Special, and I suppose that is why I let him be the opposite of a shadow because normally I am not the sort of horse that tolerates such behavior. Mom says she knew for sure that Sinatra was Special when she saw him eating my lovely hays right out of my lovely hay feeder right next to me! If Jay or the Big Baby tried to eat my hays right next to me, I would tell them to clear off pronto, and they would too! Sinatra just pretends he doesn’t understand and keeps eating the hays…and for some reason I don’t fully understand, I let him do this. Maybe it’s because he was a Pointy Foal, or maybe because he’s Special but whatever the reason, Sinatra is exempt from the normal rules of horses. So he is my white shadow, and I’m okay with that.
I have not been writing very much poetry lately, and that leaves a hole in my heart where art is supposed to be, so I decide to stand under the big tree and work on a new haiku. Sinatra was there, and he wanted to know what I was doing so I told him that a haiku was a very short poem with a pattern of five hoofbeats then seven hoofbeats and then five more hoofbeats. I wrote a haiku for Sinatra to help him understand:
Sinatra is white
He trails me like a shadow
A shadow that’s white
Sinatra loved the poem and asked me to write another one for him:
My hays are right here
And your hays are over there
But sure, we can share.
Sinatra would have had me writing poems about every single aspect of our lives together, but I told him that he could find great peace and wisdom by writing poems himself. He was very eager to try. His first poem went like this:
Hello! Who are you?
Who are you? What are you doing? Is that a deer? I am hungry!
Very quickly I realized that Sinatra is probably a little Too Special to start by writing haiku. I decided that perhaps he should attempt to write a knock-knock joke instead, do you know that thing? Here is one that is very funny:
Who is there?
Tasty, tasty grain.
Tasty, tasty grain who?
Tasty, tasty grain who I want to eat!!
That is a very funny knock-knock joke. Here is Sinatra’s knock-knock joke:
Knock knock knock knock knock knock knock
(Mom: Sinatra stop kicking the wall!!!!)
Knock knock knock knock who is there? who are you? who am I?
Knock knock knock knock
(Mom: Sinatra, I mean it!)
Sinatra’s knock-knock joke seems to be loosely based on his haiku. It may be a while before Sinatra’s Poem Book comes out.
If you follow Honeycutt’s blog, you know that he shares a lot of secrets about horses and their interactions. Today’s update on Chip comes straight from the horse’s mouth…
Today I am thinking a lot about friends. I have two good friends who are Jay and Chance. Jay has been my friend for many, many years, and Chance is a newer friend of mine. When you see us you will know that we are friends because we might be trying to bite each other on the face, or we might be standing near each other taking a nap in the sun. Friends are very important for horses, which is why Chip is living with us now. Chip is a SAFE horse who was a stallion, which is a kind of horse that is used to make more horses. Chip is not a stallion anymore, but when he was, he did not get to have friends and play outside very much. Now that Chip is a SAFE horse, he gets to learn how to be a regular horse, and it’s up to me and Jay and Chance to teach him.
Jay and Chance are not very nice to Chance some of the times — they make mean faces and chase him away when he comes by to say hello. This makes Chip very anxious and when Chip is anxious, he trots around and around with his head sticking straight out and his little ears pinned flat. Mom doesn’t want Chip to be anxious so Jay and Chance have to stay in their own area, and now me and Chip are together in our own area.
I have to try hard to be nice to Chip, but he’s kind of weird and tells crazy stories that I don’t believe about his old life when he was a stallion. But I know that Chip needs a friend, so I try to be that for him as much as I can. Mom was so happy when she came out of her little house yesterday and saw us like this in our little houses————->
In the before times, we would both stand in our houses but on opposite sides. Being on the same side is a big step, apparently. Also it doesn’t take much to make Mom happy.
For all the latest news about Honeycutt and his friends, follow Honeycutt’s blog at honeycutt.safehorses.org.
Honeycutt is also on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/dont.sit.on.me
After eating many hays, I have had time to think about the rescue that I will be making. I’m not so good with words, so maybe rescue is the wrong word. I can really only actually give hays and tasty, tasty grain to the two horses who live with me — and Jay and Chance really don’t need to be rescued. Also I think they get more hays and more tasty, tasty grain than I do because Mom says I’m too fat and they are not fat enough. It’s true that they are not as round as I am, but that’s because they are Thoroughbreds and not because they need to be rescued. It takes a lot more food to make them round, but I still don’t think they need to eat my hays and grains.
But if rescue is the wrong word, which is the right word? We could call it a Trust, but I don’t trust every peoples. Mom suggested Foundation. The Honeycutt Nation Foundation? Horses really don’t care for rhyming, did you know that? Most horses won’t admit that, but it’s true.
What I want to do is raise moneys to give to the SAFE horses so that they have all the nice things that I have: a little house, hays and tasty grain, a blanket for winter…and even the not-so-nice-but-still-important things like feet scraping, shots, and power drills in the mouth.
It’s called the Honeycutt Nation Fund.
Peoples can join the Honeycutt Nation by making an automatic monthly donation of ten dollars, or even twenty five dollars or even more dollars! When we worked together to buy PLY Woods, we raised more than 1000 dollars in just a few days! So we have a thing called a goal. The goal is to raise $1000 every month to sponsor two SAFE horses. So far we have four peoples in the Honeycutt Nation and together they send $50 every month! $50 is very very good but with more peoples joining, we can send $1000 to SAFE every month so that two of the SAFE horses have all the nice things that I have. They will be OUR two horses, and we can decide together which ones we want to help.
I am very excited to have a porpoise like the Honeycutt Nation Fund. To join us, just click on this thing called a link which is hiding under these words!
Here are the members of the Honeycutt Nation:
NEW MEMBER: Valerie Vaughn!
NEW MEMBER: Jeannette Parrett!
There is a new SAFE horse named Dixie, do you know this horse? She is very pretty but she is also very thin and sad. If I were near Dixie, I would not steal her hays because she needs to eat lots of hays and tasty grain and not be so sad. A horse should be a thing that is round, not a thing that is flat and pointy. How can someone look at a horse that is flat and pointy and think it is an okay horse? Horses are supposed to be round: round butts, round bellies, round shoulders and bright eyes. I am round and someday soon you will see a picture of Dixie and she will be round, and shiny too, and then she will be better than okay. But it will be a while before she is not so pointy.
Recent events have given me a lot to think about. When I said, oh friends! please buy a PLY wood, people bought PLY woods, and horse houses were built. PLY wood buying made me feel happy because I was helping SAFE horses. Now that I am back to just being a normal red horse who is not helping, I feel empty, like my grain bowl with no tasty, tasty grain in it.
Maybe I want to be helping again. Maybe I want to be helping all the times.
I think to best be helping I will start my own horse rescue. Mom says I need a porpoise, and she is right. I will start my rescue so I can raise up moneys to give to horses that don’t have the nice things that I have: a little house, a friend to scratch, some hays, some tasty, tasty grain. I will give my moneys to the SAFE horses so that they can all be round and happy like me.
I have to finish breakfast before I can start my rescue, but this I want to know: will you join me? Will you join the Honeycutt Nation? Oh friends! Let’s help the SAFE horses together!
Today is a day of buying PLYwoods and other things that are good for building horse houses. Once I knew for sure that I had all of my breakfast, I told Mom the secret I had about people buying PLY Woods for me. The secret was that these are the people who bought PLY Woods:
Elizabeth Leech – three PLY Woods
Heidi brandt – four PLY Woods
Jennifer Malocha – two PLY Woods
Leslianne Carbar – two PLY Woods
Victoria Guy – two PLY Woods
Nanette Schieron – five PLY Woods
Toni Burink – two PLY Woods
Eileen Carrel – two PLY Woods
Sheridan Jones again! – this time five PLY Woods!
We stood and thought about this number problem. That’s when I saw that my little house has a TOP. I said mom, are the PLY Woods good for making horse house Tops? She said not exactly, but then she told me about corrugated metal sheeting which is a big flat thing that is good for putting tops on a horse house. I am a horse and I don’t understand building materials, but what that sounds like to me is a PLY Wood that you don’t want to bite!
So we can still use all the PLY Woods that the nice people bought, and other nice people can buy more PLY Woods if they want to. Mom says that the people who buy the PLy woods – even the metal ones — will be “recognized” in a special way. So keep buying the PLY woods and the new SAFE horses will have horse houses!
And even if I can’t show it, I love my friends very much.
Now from outside my little house, I can see Mom through the windows of her little house. After I went around the other side of the barn to see if Jay got any hay (he didn’t!), I looked into the window and saw Mom walking around. So I called her to remind her about the hay. I used my deep, low nicker that sounds like a foghorn, or Barry White. Mom heard me calling her, and said Honeycutt! I forgot to give you your hay! She came right outside and gave us all our hay, and then today was a normal day.Now that you can see me eating my hay in my little house, it’s time to talk again about horse houses. SAFE people are building new horse houses for new SAFE horses this weekend. I asked everyone to help by buying a PLY Wood, which is a big, flat thing that is good for making horse houses. Three people bought PLY Woods* and now we have 5 PLY Woods. But if you look at the picture of my little house, you will see that 5 PLY Woods is not enough to make a whole horse house. 5 PLY Woods only make half a horse house. A horse with half a house might just as well stay outside! So won’t you please buy a PLY Wood for SAFE? We only need 16 more PLY Woods to make our horse houses. I have 112 friends on Facebook and I would think that a horse with 112 friends could get 16 PLY Woods, wouldn’t you? Wood-Dent Ewe?
One PLY wood is just $20! That’s not very much money for how much shelter a PLY wood can give to a lucky, lucky horse!
If you like buying a PLY Wood, maybe you would like to help build horse houses too? There will be a thing called a Work Party at SAFE in Monroe on September 17. If you want to come build horse houses, contact Debi at firstname.lastname@example.org!
*Those three people who bought PLY Woods were Sheridan, who was my foster mom, and Elizabeth, who bought three whole PLY Woods!, and also my mom, who listens to me when I make low, deep nickers from outside her little house.
Jay likes to take his food outside. He gets his food in his nice stall, but he likes to push it outside with his nose and eat it out there. Mom says, Jay! Don’t take your food outside! But Jay just looks at her like he doesn’t understand and then does it anyway. Jay is lucky that Mom loves him so much because something she doesn’t love is hay getting wasted.
So when I go around the barn and reach my head through the fence and eat Jay’s hay, I’m not greedy, I’m helpful! Jay makes a mean face if I try to taste his grain, but he doesn’t really care if I help him eat his hay. Jay is a horse that never was a rescue horse. People have always been nice to him and taken care of him because he’s handsome and funny. So Jay doesn’t understand what it’s like to not have enough food to eat. He doesn’t understand that eating is a serious thing that must be taken seriously! So when breakfast comes, I eat my hay for a while until Jay has time to take his hay outside, then I go around the barn and reach my head through the fence and eat Jay’s hay. Then when Jay’s hay is gone, I go back around the barn and finish my own hay. That way I get two hays. Mom says, Honeycutt! You’re as fat as a tick! Mom says, Jay! Don’t take your food outside! I want to say, Sorry Mom, but once there was no food, and now there is food but some day there might not be food and so I have to eat all the food that I can while I can. I am a rescue horse, and I probably will always worry about no food.
One thing is true and that is I have a nice place to live. There are nice stalls to go inside and nice houses to stand in when it’s too rainy or too sunny. The other SAFE horses have nice places to live too, but there are new SAFE horses coming and they need nice houses to stand in too! So the SAFE people are going to have to build a couple new houses for the new SAFE horses.
For new houses, the SAFE people need a thing called a PLY Wood. A PLY Wood is a big flat thing that is very good for making houses for horses. So would you want to help us buy a PLY Wood? One PLY Wood costs $20 and we need many PLY Woods to build new houses for horses. If you bought us one PLY Wood, I would be so happy that I wouldn’t try to eat any of your hay! Won’t you please buy us one PLY Wood?
If you like buying a PLY Wood, maybe you would like to help build horse houses too? There will be a thing called a Work Party at SAFE in Monroe on September 17. If you want to come build horse houses, contact Debi at email@example.com!
At the show I did many things. The thing I did most was stand in a strange stall with no door so I couldn’t go outside when I needed to poop. I had to poop inside the stall! That is a terrible thing for a horse like me. When I went out of the stall with Holly, there was so much to look at that I had to stand very still and look and look. I saw a hundred horses and I had to say hi to some of them, which my mom thought was very funny because I hardly ever talk to other horses at home. Sometimes people made loud noises with their hands, and that made me jump and look around, but mostly I just stood very still and looked.
On the second day as a show horse, my mom took me through a strange obstacle course and she said I did very very well and I was very very brave. Later she took me out of the strange stall and brought me to a place and then unhooked my rope! I said Bye Bye Mom! and tried to run all the way home. But there was a rope of flags and I couldn’t run all the way home so I trotted in big circles like a dressage horse and then Mom gave me a cookie. She said it was a game called Bribe Your Horse, do you know that game? I did not want to bribed, just to run all the way home and that was not part of the game. Everyone laughed and then I went back to the strange stall.
When I was done being a show horse, I came back home and Jay and the Big Baby were waiting for me. I was so happy to be back in my stall where I could see my friends and poop outside and have a nice roll and bite the Big Baby.
My other friend Bree is here and she brushes me until my coat is too shiny and red to even look at! I am so handsome, but I don’t know if I will be a show horse anymore. I tried hard but being at the show place made me snort and maybe I don’t want to snort so much.
My mom is working very hard on the SAFE Horse Show, but she is very happy because there are lots of horses who are coming to the show, and that means lots of dollars for the SAFE Horses and that is good. Mom is very busy but she still has time to come out to the barn and put on my hat so that the flies don’t bother my eyes. The Big Baby got a new hat because the sun made his nose red. Here is how he looks in his hat, which is silly————————>
I am very excited about the SAFE Horse Show because this year, I will be there. I have many surprises for the people who are there. One surprise is my painting. You are probably saying, Honeycutt! You already told us about your painting so that is not a surprise! But I painted another painting so now there are two. My second painting is a picture of Maeve Harris. I hope that if I paint her picture, she might paint my picture. She is a very fine painter person.
My second surprise is my Poem Book! My friend Brooke said I should make a poem book because I am a thing called a poet. There will be two copies of my Poem Book at the SAFE Auction and maybe you can see it, or even trade it for dollars! Here is my Poem Book. —–>
I am happy to be going to the Horse Show because I will get to see my friend Holly who is coming from far away to take care of me at the Horse Show. Holly and her family are very nice people who care a lot about me and SAFE. Last weekend they drove and drove to bring SAFE some donations from another far away person. That was very nice of them. I will be a very good horse for Holly so that I can say thank you for driving so far for SAFE.
I made a promise and that was that when 50 people sign up for my mom’s party I would show you my picture. There are 48 people signed up for the party and horses always round up so that makes 50. This is the picture that I painted that is going to be in the auction at the party. I painted it all myself. Here’s a picture of the picture that I painted!———->
If you say “Honeycutt, won’t you be sad when someone buys your painting?” I will say I won’t be sad because after I painted my picture, mom took it away and I never saw it again. Someday I will paint another picture and mom can take that one away too. I’m a horse and even though I can paint a picture, I still don’t understand why anyone wants to look at one.
Things have been different at my home. There was a girl who came to visit me and she did many things. She picked up poop and she brushed me and picked my hooves up and put on my face harness. Then we practiced being a show horse and she was very happy because I was smart and I walked with her without my rope! Then my mom and the girl sprayed my with the hose and made me look like a show horse, which means I got very clean. This is called bath, and bath is bad because mom sprayed my ear! She said Sorry, Honeycutt, Sorry! but I had to point my ear at the ground until it felt better. Sorry helped a little bit but pointing my ear at the ground helped more. Then bath was over and was the brightest, reddest, softest horse in the whole world, so maybe bath is not bad. Mom will be more careful next time.
So now I am these things:
- Red Horse
- Shiny Horse
- Show Horse
- Horse with two special friends
My two special friends are the girl who is Bree and my other friend who is Holly. Holly is coming from very far away to see me at the SAFE Show. She will make sure that I am not afraid which is a very nice thing to be.
Mom said we have to practice. I never practice, but she seemed to think it was important. What we practiced was being a show horse at a horse show. When Mom walked forward, I walked forward. When Mom stopped, I stopped. When Mom asked me to stand, I stood like a big red statue. When Mom asked me to trot, I thought she’d gone crazy. I had to walk really fast to keep up with my end of the rope, because she was running at her end of the rope! She ran backwards and said Trot, Honeycutt, Trot! I pretended I didn’t understand and just walked really really fast until she got tired. Then we did it again, and this time I couldn’t walk fast enough so I trotted after her. She said GOOD BOY, HONEYCUTT, GOOD BOY and that means I did the right thing! Then I knew what the thing was that she wanted me to do. We did it two more times, and she said GOOD BOY, HONEYCUTT, GOOD BOY and then she took off my face harness and that means I was a really good boy and don’t have to practice any more. Now I am a show horse. Will you come see me at the horse show?
Lots of days this happens: Mom gives grain to Jay and Chance, but when I look into my bowl, it’s empty! Then I have to stare at Mom to remind her that I didn’t get any grain. She says, Sorry Honeycutt, because I am too fat for grain eating every day. If I try to taste Jay’s grain, he makes a nasty face and that means go away! this is my grain! So it’s back to staring at Mom. If I was in the same area as the Big Baby, I could take his grain away because he is scared of me! But Mom keeps us apart at feeding time. All I can do is stare at Mom and wish I had some tasty, tasty grain.
A lot of you want to see my painting that is going to be for sale at the auction, but I told you that you people need to tell my Mom you’re coming to her party first. There are 21 people coming to the party so far, but I want to know that 50 people are coming to the party and then I will show you my painting.
And I am thinking about my poem book. I want to write a poem book, but I’m wondering, do you like my poems? Because most of my poems are about eating. It’s what I think about. So do you like a poem book that is about eating? I am not sure.
Today is a day of being not sure. But it was also a day of getting grain. I am the best grain eater in the world, because I always finish first. Then I ask Jay if he’s going to finish his and he makes a nasty face and that means go away! this is my grain! That means no grain for me.
Do you know my Facebook page? It’s https://www.facebook.com/dont.sit.on.me You can read my haiku there if you don’t want to wait for my poem book to be made.
There is a human thing called planning a party and being afraid no one will come. I know all about being afraid, but it’s almost never because of a party. Except for that party with the explosions in the sky, do you know that party? I don’t like that party.
My foster mom is planning a party called the SAFE Horse Show. She is working very hard on this party. She tells me she is worried that no one will come to her party! Being a logical horse, I point out that lots of horses came to last year’s party and that means lots of horses will come to this year’s party too. When she is worried or scared, I stand very very still and I let her hug my neck. This is a thing I am very good at.
But I did another thing to make her not be worried too. It was my secret and now I will tell you what it is, and then you will come to the party!
<——-What am I doing? I am painting a picture! Mom brought me paint and a canvas, and I painted a picture. A picture is something that shows something that is in my head; I can see it in my head but you can see it on the picture. My picture is a picture of a big field with flowers to eat. It is the field at my house!
Now you will come to the SAFE Show when you hear that my picture will be for sale at the SAFE Show. My mom says there will be an auction and I don’t understand what that means, but somehow my picture will go away and some money will come back to help the SAFE Horses! This makes me very happy. I want to paint more pictures so there will be more money for the SAFE horses and for horses that aren’t SAFE horses but should be SAFE horses. I am very lucky to be a SAFE horse because it means I get to paint pictures and give hugs. And no one tries to sit on me.
You want to see my picture? Not so fast, you people! First you have to tell my mom you’ll be at her party. Here’s the stuff about it: http://show.safehorses.org
Horses have to be careful that no one sneaks up on them but I was so warm and happy that I let my guard down for a little bit. And the worst thing that happened was mom snuck up and took my picture but I was so warm and happy I decided I would put the picture on my blog and let everyone see my big belly. I am handsome but not so handsome that I can’t laugh at myself once in a while.
Mostly I’ve been thinking a lot and not writing, but that’s because my mom has been very busy trying to earn money for SAFE and doesn’t have time to help me with my blog. So I have thought of a way that I can earn money for SAFE and when I told her about it, she was very happy and hugged my neck. (I let her hug my neck because she is very fond of me.) I could tell you how I am going to earn money for SAFE but I think I would rather have a SECRET. I have a lot of secrets that are bad (like “What are you so afraid of?) so I am very happy to have a happy secret now. I will tell you my happy secret very soon, and then I will earn money for SAFE.
My mom went somewhere today to see some people sit on white horses. (Editors note: Honeycutt is referring to the Lipizzaner Stallion performance that took place today.) I was not impressed until she told me about the horse that bucked. This horse was a fine, fine bucker. He did not have anyone sitting on him. His only job was to come out and buck so that people would clap. The white bucking horse was supposed to stand up on his hind legs and then jump up in the air and make an enormous buck. And he did do that! It was a very, very good buck. The white horse tried very very hard.
I think that I will learn how to do the special buck and maybe I can join the white horse show. Then it would be a red horse show, too. That would be good because I think it might be boring to only have white horses to look at. White horses are okay but it’s hard to hide from lions and bears when one is around. That is why the white horses always roll in poo.
My herd is made up of three mighty horses. When we run together, the leaves fall from the trees. My two friends were both racehorses and they both think they’re the fastest. But I know that neither one of them won any horse races. Me, I have my dignity to consider, but even if I wanted to run in a horse race, I’m the wrong kind of horse. Apparently. But take a look at this:
I’ve lived with Jay for many summers and winters. He has always been the boss of the herd, which is fine with me because it means that it’s his job to keep us all safe from lions and scary humans. We got a new friend named Chance who is tall and young, or in other words, a big baby. Maybe this big baby thinks he should be the boss of the herd because he is always bothering Jay. But here is the funny part: the big baby is scared of me! I always tell him to move and he always moves. So we have a funny herd dynamic: Chance tells Jay to move, Jay tells me to move but I tell Chance to move! I may be short but the big baby has to listen to me or I will pop him one.
Me and Jay have an agreement: you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours. This is good when I feel itchy. But sometimes Jay hurts my feelings because he will scratch my back when we’re alone, but if anyone sees us, he pretends he was not scratching my back at all. I like Jay but he is a big faker sometimes. Like when he starts to fall down and then he pretends he meant to do that. No dignity. Anyway, here is what happened one time:
As usual, my foster mom laughed and laughed. If she didn’t bring the food all the time, I might be really mad at her.
Nap time! Bye for now,
Everybody wants a horse they can ride. I say that any horse that would permit a human to sit on him has a serious lack of dignity. I say if humans want to go around in circles, they are fully capable of doing so under their own power. I had to do some righteous bucking before the humans at SAFE got the message, but they don’t try to sit on me anymore. Which is good for my dignity. But it leaves me with a lot of free time, so I’ve decided to try blogging.
My name is Honeycutt and I am the best of all the SAFE horses. That is why you always see my handsome face on their stuff. Someday I will show you their stuff so you can see for yourselves. But today I want to tell you what they did to me last Friday.
I live on a nice farm with my foster mom and my two friends Jay and Chance. We all get along great so long as my foster mom doesn’t do anything scary like make sudden movements or try to touch my face without permission. I have her pretty well trained. On Friday, some new ladies showed up at the farm. At first it was just like when the guy comes to scrape my feet; moms got my face harness on and invited me inside the barn. But then one of the new ladies bit me! or gave me a shot, and then I got really sleepy. Pretty soon I didn’t care if anyone touched my face without permission. My mouth got opened and there was a huge buzzing sound coming from inside my head and …a power drill…I distinctly remember seeing a power drill. Next thing I knew I was standing out in the sunshine! I let out a loud whinny to let everyone know I was okay, and then I went back to sleep for a while. While I was sleepy, moms thought it would be really funny to take pictures of me. She laughed and laughed. I don’t see what was so funny.
The new lady said I had a really good mouth. I’m not surprised. Most parts of me are very good. She also said I was fat. She’s gone now.
I need to take a nap. Goodbye for now.
SAFE is honored to have received the Equine Social Media Award for Best Use of Social Media by a Charity (International). The winners in this category were announced today during a video award ceremony, which you can view on ESMA’s You Tube channel or in the video embedded below.
SAFE would like to thank everyone who nominated us and voted for us in the finals. If you’re just arriving at SAFE, we welcome you and thank you for stopping by.
Special thanks to Honeycutt for accepting this award on our behalf.
Here’s a wonderful gift from SAFE’s HeARTist of the month, Liz Stabbert Photography!
A free desktop wallpaper calendar featuring Liz’s portrait of Honeycutt!
Our Featured HeARTist, Liz Stabbert is just going all out to make January her SAFE month & there’s still time to take her up on her amazing offer to support SAFE when you purchase Gift Certificates or SAFE related photos!
We were worried that Honeycutt might have troubles adjusting to his new foster home, as change is hard for him as he is such a worried, timid horse. We needn’t have been concerned, he has settled in just fine. 🙂
Yesterday Honeycutt was moved back to Silverdale to once again live with our VP Bonnie at her farm over in Silverdale. Honeycutt lived there for over two years previously so this is a bit of a homecoming for both of them, although still temporary. She reported that Honeycutt settled right in and this morning she caught Honeycutt and her horse Jay grooming each other in the pasture, just like they used to. Aw!! Sweet boys!
I always hoped that some day I could come to this board and announce that I had adopted Honeycutt….but financial concerns made me hesitate to take on the long term responsibility of another horse. I’m very sad to say that I have made the decision instead to sell my farm in Silverdale. Not only can I not afford it any more, I also have finally admitted to myself that keeping up a five acre property by myself is just too hard.
Yesterday I delivered Honeycutt to Jaime’s where he will spend the next week before moving on to a new foster home. Jaime can tell you more about it, but I know that it is a beautiful place where he will be very well cared for.
I love this horse, and it breaks my heart to say goodbye to him. I feel like I’ve let him down, because I promised him that I would always take care of him. I have to keep reminding myself that SAFE will always be there for him, and that he will be more than fine in the future. But I am going to really miss him.
Finally, a beautiful, sunny day for the horses to enjoy! Honeycutt has been shedding pretty profusely under his blanket so today he got turned out in the big field without it so he could roll and get rid of some of that hair. I was pleased to see that he’s still a little butterball under his blankie, and he was very happy to get out and stretch his legs.
Poor Honeycutt stepped on a nail somewhere in his pasture and ended up with an icky wound in his heel bulb. He was an amazingly good boy through this ordeal, including a trip to the vet hospital — he hopped right in the trailer without a fuss.
He had to endure 4 days of shots (penicillin), 12 days of twice-daily oral medication (SMZs, yuck!) and 3 weeks of daily bandage changes and a Davis boot. And I cannot even begin to stress how great he was for all of this.
In fact, I had lots of occasion to appreciate Honeycutt during his recovery from his owie. You all know that he’s an uncontrollable bucker who is very skittish and very scared of people. But have I ever told you how GENTLE he is? He’s so amazing. I could walk into his paddock every day carrying a syringe of SMZs and halter him with one hand. He didn’t like his medicine but he would stand politely for me while I forced it down his throat. Same with irrigating his wound — it hurt but he let me do it. And he never kicked, pulled away, pushed me over, stepped on me, anything! His biggest rebellion was to refuse to lift his foot for me, and even that was done carefully and gently. He never pulls or rushes while being led; he never crowds you, even if you’re holding a scoop of grain. He is just so amazingly gentle.
He’s such a good boy.
As part of the first SAFE art auction, HeART of the Horse, artist Amanda Koh graciously volunteered to create an original painting right at the event that would be auctioned off at the end of the evening’s festivities. Amanda set up her easel and paints, unfurled a large stretched canvas, and she set to work on her latest masterpiece.
The end result was a painting entitled “Honeycutt Loves You (Even if he can’t show it)” The winner of the painting at the live auction was SAFE Vice President Bonnie Hammond. The painting commands a place of honor in her home to this day.
Resting with friends:
Here are some nice shots of Honeycutt and his two friends, SAFE horses Benny and Sinatra.
Honeycutt was the poster boy for the SAFE Benefit Horse Show poster starting with our 2008 show held at Bridle Trails. Here is the poster, along with some outtakes from our photoshoot. I did not have an assistant for the photo shoot, but Honeycutt stood still for me and never once tried to wander off. Honeycutt has never had the opportunity to win a blue ribbon like the one he is wearing in these photos, but he will always be first place in my heart.
Honeycutt in the snow
Photos by Leah Anderson
These images are so lovely. Click on them to see for yourself.
A few samples from the Honeycutt Photoshoot from May 15, 2008.
All photos by Liz Stabbert.
Liz Stabbert of Liz Stabbert Photography came by yesterday and donated a photoshoot of Honeycutt. I know we often joke about Honeycutt becoming a model….well apparently it’s no joke to him! He stood nice and still for his close-ups, and conveyed a lot of emotion with his eyes and forelock. But when we turned him back out with the other horses, he put on a show for the camera the likes of which I have never seen! I am dying to see the pictures because if they came out half as gorgeous as what I saw with my own eyes, then we’re going to have to make an all-Honeycutt calendar!
Over and over again, he displayed his long gorgeous floating trot with his tail and head held high. Seriously I was blown away by his beauty. Plus he had this uncanny ability to choose the best light to run through…
Here is a link to all of the photos taken by Liz Stabbert that day. If you are a Honeycutt fan, I think you will really enjoy these.
oh, here’s a funny thing about Honeycutt I haven’t shared…I have a couple of cavaletti set up in my back pasture which I lunge Jay over on occasion…or try to….I swear that horse will do ANYTHING to avoid jumping over a foot tall obstacle. (I’ve seen him jump a 4 foot obstacle from a standstill to avoid free- jumping a tiny crossrail.)
But Honeycutt, when galloping in the pasture, will purposely jump the cavaletti! In fact the other day, he jumped two cavaletti set up as trot poles, only he jumped them diagonally! I was aghast!
Pity he can’t be ridden! He’s quite the little athlete.
Honeycutt had a visit the other morning from a little girl and her mom. Honeycutt was as good as gold, and was quite fascinated with his guests.
Honeycutt and his friends all got their teeth floated today. I was extremely pleased that when my vet arrived, Honeycutt was very interested in him and showed no fear toward him at all! He was actually quite outgoing today…reaching through his feed door to take hold of my collar and snuffle my hair, watching with great interest as Jay and Oliver got their floats done before him. Once it was his turn, he was an absolute champ about everything, and I have to say that both my vet and his tech were really impressed with him! They both thought he was extremely cute and sweet, and my vet called him a superstar for his incredible behavior during his float. I swear, everyone who meets this horse just falls in love with him.
His teeth were in good shape, just in need of a maintenance float. He also got shots and a sheath cleaning.
We talked a little bit about what we’d like to see in an adoptive home for Honeycutt and my vet remarked that he has clients who are often looking for companion horses especially when their older horses pass away leaving a single horse alone. I told him that I’d put together some information on SAFE and mail it in to his office. It got me thinking that if any of you have the occasion to talk to your vets about SAFE, it would be nice to have a packet of information that can be passed on to them if they are interested. So I’ll get to work on that if the rest of you want to get to work on spreading the word!
Poor Honeycutt. He does not like this weather at all. There’s a huge pine tree branch that fell into his paddock last night….he is eyeing it as if to say “Hmmm, could I somehow fashion that into a boat to sail away in?” We are all thinking about building an ark…that is how much it is raining here right now. Add to that the 7″ of snow that fell yesterday that has completely melted, and you get one great big wet mess.
I would take a picture of Honeycutt, but I don’t want to bum anyone out. He looks very very sad when there is rainwater dripping from his forelock…
Honeycutt got his feet trimmed yesterday. He was a pretty good boy for the farrier….he’s getting better and better at dealing with new people. There was one little incident that really surprised me….he had a moment of panic while in the cross ties, and he went flying backwards with his head in the air…I had a hold of his lead rope…and as I went towards his head to unsnap the cross ties, I spoke to him and he actually listened to me and stopped struggling! I was so surprised and pleased because from the look in his eye, he was outta there! But he overcame his fear once again. I unhooked the cross ties after that and we did the rest of the trim with just me holding him, and he was good as gold. I know this story is not very dramatic, but for Honeycutt, it was a huge accomplishment.
I love this horse. I had a bad day a few days back and needed a shoulder to cry on, and Honeycutt was there for me. So add that to his list of good points: he soaks up tears and will even give you a hug if you need it.
New blanket day!!
Honeycutt got his feet trimmed yesterday, and he was a superstar for the farrier. Of course we did it all very gently and carefully, but still, he did great and I was very proud of him.
A couple days ago, I decided to try lunging him with a surcingle on…he stood stock still while I was putting it on, and then he kinda scrambled out into his paddock and I thought he was going to start bucking, but he didn’t. (Of course Jay saw an opportunity to maybe bite him over the fence so he might have gotten distracted.) He stood there in his “horse statue pose” and then he slowly walked back to me to be petted and reassured. I wasn’t sure if we should continue, but I decided we’d keep going as long as he wasn’t too upset. I had no trouble putting a bridle on him, and to start with, I just led him around the pasture. Then we tried lunging…but it was not too successful since he was less likely to move forward and more likely to swing around to face me and start backing up. So I worked with him to try to get him moving forward and help him to understand that that is what I wanted him to do. Once he managed one full circle, I called it a day.
Again, this is totally in keeping with his normal behavior. He feels safest when he is facing you head on. So I am making a point of standing to the side of him whenever I can, and laying one arm over his back and rubbing his shoulder with the other. We also do carrot stretches which, I hope, reinforces the idea that good things can happen when a human stands to the side of you.
He is such a sweet horse. He’s starting doing things like following me around when I’m cleaning and hovering nearby until I come over and rub his face. He has this way of looking at me that just makes me want to cry….and promise him I’ll take care of him forever…which at this point, I really can’t promise so I don’t say it…
Anyway, all mushiness aside, he continues to do really well. My farrier declared him to be FAT yesterday…bummer…so no more grain treats for HC for a while. I wish Jay had that problem…
PS I wish I had a video camera so I could film him and Jay playing together. They are so funny together. Honeycutt can spring into the air with all four feet off the ground and his head between his knees like a rodeo horse. And man, can he rear!
Honeycutt is doing very well, and I believe that he is happy living here. He is quite well behaved and easy to handle, and I do feel that I have gained at least some of his trust. I subject him to being touched and petted and patted on a daily basis and he’s quite tolerant of that, and will even approach me for attention. I’m trying not to baby him so much, so occasionally I will make sudden movements or appear suddenly and he will still jump out of his skin but then I pat him and tell him “Hey, it’s no big deal, you’re fine!”
We do groundwork exercises which he is really quite good at…in fact, a little too good…he is hyper-alert and always has his eyes glued to me to see what I’m going to do next. As a result he is really really sensitive to body language. But what we haven’t achieved yet is relaxation…the whole business just makes him so tense and nervous, even though he pretty much never puts a foot wrong and so is constantly being praised and reassured. He just needs more time.
For something new, I brought him into the barn aisle and cross tied him (well, I only hooked up one but he stood perfectly in place as if they both were attached) and then groomed him for a while and worked on achieving some relaxation, and I’d say he did pretty well with that. He certainly was well behaved anyway and almost seemed to enjoy being groomed. Then I worked with picking up feet because he’s desperately in need of a trim, and I wanted to see how he might do with having his feet handled (of course he’s been trimmed numerous times by SAFE’s farriers and his trainer’s farriers). He did quite well with his fronts, a little iffy with the hinds, he would pick the foot up and relax it backwards, but then immediately pull it forward again…he appears to be a little stocked up in his hind ankles (he may have kicked something a few days ago…like the barn…) so it might have been a discomfort thing. Anyway, we’ll keep working on it so that he can have a good experience with the farrier.
He has a lot of fun with Jay…the two of them run and play and jump in the air (although Honeycutt has a far more impressive buck than any of my other horses…) I’m not sure what is going on with him and Oliver…there may be a dominance thing going on between them, which is funny to me because Buckie used to push Honeycutt around a lot…but maybe HC sees an opportunity to move up in the herd now that Buckie is gone.
Anyway, that’s pretty much what Honeycutt is up to. I enjoy having him here, he really is a sweet horse. Spend any amount of time with Honeycutt and you start to feel really protective of him. I find myself wanting to promise him that I’ll take care of him forever. *sigh*
Honeycutt was purchased from an Eastern Washington feedlot in July of 2005. He came with no information whatsoever regarding his background, apart from three brands that led us to believe that he was cut from a bucking horse string. We guessed his age to be around 8 years old. From the start, Honeycutt displayed a strong fear of people, and showed signs of significant abuse or mistreatment in his past. Physically he was fine, but he was tense and wary around people, very easily spooked or startled, and initially, quite difficult to catch. He spent his first year with SAFE at our farm in Monroe. He got along quite well with other horses, and gradually became easier to catch once he figured out that no one was going to hurt him. He was gentle and polite when handled on the ground, well behaved for the vet and farrier, and something in his eyes made us believe that he truly wanted to connect with someone, and to be able to trust. But we knew from the start that convincing Honeycutt to let go of his fear was going to take a long, long time.
Initial attempts to ride this horse were unsuccessful, so the decision was made to send him to a professional trainer. He was taught the basics of groundwork, which he responded very well to, and he was carefully started under saddle. Things began to look quite promising for Honeycutt.
But after several months of good progress with his first trainer, Honeycutt started to backslide a bit. Most times he was fine, and his trainer was riding him out on the trails which he really seemed to enjoy. But sometimes, out of the blue, he would start bucking after being saddled or being mounted in the round pen. This began to occur more frequently, until finally his trainer told us that she felt she must have missed something in his training…and she didn’t know what that something might be. She recommended that we send Honeycutt to her mentor, Bill Basham, and have him finish the work she had started.
Bill began working with Honeycutt and discovered a few things. One, Honeycutt was very sore through his back. Two, Honeycutt’s conformation was such that his back sloped downward towards his withers, making saddle fit very very difficult. And three, Honeycutt was a very talented bucker. In addition to these things, Bill felt that Honeycutt did not have the solid foundation of ground work that he would need to establish trust, and that his previous trainer had been “riding his good will” rather than riding a solid foundation of training. And because Honeycutt was so very very tense, they decided that it would be best to go back to basics for a while before trying to ride him.
While Bill’s wife Angie did bodywork on Honeycutt to try to relieve his soreness, Bill worked on the saddle fit problem. In the end he tried about 17 different padding solutions, but nothing really fit this hard-to-fit horse. And Honeycutt continued to escalate his episodes of bucking in the round pen, despite every attempt to saddle him in a way that he would be comfortable. He did make progress while with the Bashams, he started to relax and let go of the tension he carried in his neck and back, and with continued groundwork, they got him back to the point where a rider could ease onto his back from the rail of the roundpen. But Bill said he never felt that it was safe for the rider to even move the horse forward off the rail more than a step or two. Because some days Honeycutt would be fine, and some days he would be explosive. It could not be predicted. So rather than risk anyone’s safety, he chose not to push Honeycutt past that point.
Bill’s final assessment of Honeycutt was that he was too committed to his fears to ever be a safe riding horse. Honeycutt had made it abundantly clear that having a person on his back was unbearable to him. In the end, we decided to listen to what he was telling us. Honeycutt would be available for adoption as a pasture pet or companion horse, and no further attempts to ride him would be made.
Honeycutt is a puzzle, because even after years of careful, gentle and consistent handling, he still remains a very fearful horse. He was cared for three years by one person, someone who loved him very much and did everything she could to gain his trust, and somehow he still never gave up his fear. He is a perfect gentleman, a very neat and clean horse, easy to handle on the ground, the sort of horse that never does anything wrong. Despite his fear, he is not a dangerous horse; he is gentle, careful, and very kind. He has a way of looking at you that is so hopeful and soulful that will break your heart every time. Whatever happened to him in the past, it was bad enough that Honeycutt will probably never recover from it. But there is something absolutely extraordinary about this horse.
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!