|SEX: Mare||BREED: Mustang||REGISTERED NAME: None|
|COLOR: Chestnut||MARKINGS: Blaze, two socks|
|DOB: 7/4/2012||AGE: 7||HEIGHT: 13.3||WEIGHT: 872 lbs|
|LOCATION: Redmond||ADOPTION FEE: $1,000||Online Adoption Application|
Lacey is a young mustang mare who was born at a wild horse sanctuary. She and Stevie were adopted by a family who fell in love with his photo. Unfortunately their adopter was forced to rehome the two youngsters due to personal circumstances. Two years later, the original owners were contacted by the person who had taken them, who also was unable to keep them. Concerned for their safety, both owners turned to SAFE for help. We evaluated the horses with the assistance of our veterinarian at Mt Rainier Equine, who found them to be in decent health and soundness, but pretty thin. (Lacey needed to gain about 75 pounds.) The two horses were surrendered into our care. After groundwork and saddle work had started at SAFE, Lacey went for 90 days professional training to be started by Joel Conner. She did well with the riding but some of her ground manners still needed to be confirmed.
Lacey has mellowed into a sweet girl who loves working outside, hitting the trails, and cuddling on her person. She is a pretty dominant mare, though, and can test her handlers, so she’s best suited for a confident adult rider.
At 13.3 hands, Lacey needs a smaller rider, but she has a stocky frame and doesn’t ride small. She’s a fast learner with a forward trot and canter, and a great stop. She’s brave and attentive on the trails and would benefit from a rider with the experience to focus her energy. With a solid Horsemanship foundation–including good ground manners for the vet, the farrier, and trailering–Lacey is ready for the right partner to finish her education.
SAFE was honored to be invited by Pet Connection Magazine and Dirtie Dog Photography on an exciting new television project called the Limelight Project. Their goal is to bringing more exposure to rescue organizations to help adoptable horses find families while increasing awareness about the work of the rescues interviewed. SAFE chose Lacey to spotlight for the interview. Here is the wonderful video and GORGEOUS photographs of this most deserving and adoptable mare! We cannot thank Tracy and Marika enough for their time and kindness to SAFE and Lacey.
At the beginning of every ride, Lacey asks me the same questions. She asks, “Are you sure we have to ride today? Don’t you want to just groom me some more instead?” Then she asks, “Will you let me be a dull pony today? Because I don’t really feel like putting in a ton of effort.” It takes me about 5 minutes of warm-up and bending each time I get on her to convince her that my answers to her questions will always be, “Yes, I’m sure we have to ride today,” and, “No, you don’t get to be a dull pony.” Once we get through that initial conversation, rides on Lacey are really fun and rewarding. We’ve been working on improving her response times to my aids. She’s showing improvement there. We’ve also been working on lateral movements with improvement there, too. One thing’s for sure with Lacey, though: she is not a push-button horse (at least not yet). You have to really be present during the entire ride in order to communicate well with her. In my opinion, I think Lacey expects that if she’s going to put forth effort, her rider had better put forth effort, too. But if you’re willing to put in that effort, she’s one heck of a fun little horse.
Lacey has nice gaits. She has a smooth little western pleasure jog but also a nice forward trot when you ask for one. Her lope also has a forward and a relaxed setting. She’s very responsive to her rider’s seat aids, and it’s easy to bring her down from forward to relaxed with just the change in your own energy. She will also stop and back up off of just seat aids, although right now the back is sluggish without any reins.
I end up having a soft spot for all of the SAFE horses that I get to ride and I’d take any of them home if I could, but if I was truly in a position to be looking for a riding partner of my own, I’d consider adopting little Lacey. She’s not really “my type,” but she’s proving to me that size doesn’t really matter—it’s what’s inside that counts.
What a remarkable job Kaya is doing with this little feisty pony! The growth in Kaya’s horsemanship and dedication to Lacey this winter was inspiring. All the hard work shows in how well they did in the clinic this past weekend. Kaya’s enthusiasm and commitment to the horsemanship has made her a wonderful addition to our rider program. Lacey had a great learning clinic and the changes were very evident in her behavior and attitude. Here is what Kaya had to say about working with Lacey:
This was a great clinic for Lacey! I am super proud of how far we’ve come this winter and we were able to get some serious changes this weekend! As is usual, Lacey was lacking life, making pretty much everything except stopping difficult. We recently had some incidents outside the arena of sudden explosions of life generated by outside stimulus, one of which left me on the ground, and when we asked Joel about these, his solution was to find life in the arena so we can get used to it and it will become less of an explosion outside.
I logged this information away and continued to try to inspire energy and forward motion in Lacey. Joel showed me a way to move my leg that could be more effective, and it definitely was! Lacey’s hind quarters and front quarters motions were much more lively after this. And, fortunately, this continued through the rest of the weekend!
Lacey and I did have a moment on Saturday that made me nervous. Her energy felt very similar to the day when I came off, so I rode into the center and dismounted. I told Joel of this feeling and he equated it to PTSD. He got on Lacey and was able to use the life that had made me nervous and showed me that, even though she had life, she wasn’t troubled like she had been before. I was still a bit nervous but conquered my fears a bit and finished the day on a good note. On Sunday, Lacey started to show a similar life and, instead of letting my nerves take over, I was able to help her use it in a positive way. I’m so glad we had this moment to help me conquer my fear! I’m excited to keep trying to fight both my anxiety and Lacey’s dullness. We’ll both be so much better for it!
A sweet update from Kaya on working with Lacey, post-snow storm:
With snow falling off the roof of the arena, Lacey and I have been focusing exclusively on groundwork for the past few days. This is totally fine with me as we have a lot to work on! Today we went into the indoor arena (a place we very rarely go) and encountered some scary obstacles!
At first, the arena itself wasn’t too scary, but I could tell Lacey was almost walking on tiptoes waiting for something to jump out at her. She had no problem with the pool noodle obstacle, but the cat litter box on the corner demanded a lot of attention and snorting.
We moved past this pretty easily and went to the other end of the arena where there were voices and shovel sounds from outside. This was where Lacey started to get pretty nervous. I’ve been working on keeping my own calm in situations like this, so it was a great opportunity for both of us! After getting busy with hindquarters and front quarters, she settled down and started licking and chewing. Then the tractor started outside and we started all over. This was a bit more difficult to bring her back from, but in about five minutes, she was walking steady and about five minutes after that she was licking and chewing again, even with the tractor still making a lot of noise! After all this, Lacey was even more settled than when we first entered the quiet arena. It seemed like she actually looked to me for support, which was a big change from past incidents!
While the tractor was still running we went and played with the tarp which, to Lacey, is a fun toy rather than a scary crinkling monster like it is to other horses. When the tractor was quiet, we went back to the places she had spooked before and she maintained her playful, but not anxious mindset. After today, it is clear to me that we both need more successful moments like these so that we can both practice staying calm in unknown circumstances!
We have some amazing volunteers at SAFE and the connections they have with the horse are inspiring. Kaya has been dedicated to helping Lacey through some trouble and giving her the attention and miles she needs to find a home. This Christmas, Kaya had something extra special for Lacey:
“Merry Christmas to Lacey! This sweet pony really deserved some toys this year. She loves nuzzling soft things like saddle pads, so I thought she needed some stuffed animals. We have also been playing with the big yoga ball in the arena a lot lately, so she got one of those for her paddock as well! She has such a childlike personality, so curious and playful, I knew she would love opening presents. I love how she was a little spooked by them at first, but kept trying to get close to them to check them out. It reminded me of when we were on the trail and she started trotting after the biker! Chase the danger! This afternoon when I went to get Lacey out of her paddock, her ball was sitting about 20 feet away outside the fence. I guess she was playing a little too hard!”
Lacey is making great strides in her riding work and improving immensely with Kaya’s consistent care. We recently took Lacey out on a trail ride. She had a good amount of energy and life out on the trails. She was brave and attentive to Kaya. She did feed a bit off the other horse’s high energy and became “hot” when a runner came from out of nowhere. Kaya did great getting her to work and get busy to regain her attention and peace. It took a little time but she came to focus and Kaya was able to regain a calm and relaxed ride on our way back home.
Here is Kaya’s update about Lacey in the last Joel Conner clinic at Safe Harbor Stables:
This was my second clinic with Lacey and I was a lot more confident this time around! I have come to realize over the last month that Lacey is not generally bothered by outside factors like weather, other horses, commotion, things that might make other horses nervous or flighty. Lacey is one solid pony! That being said, fighting her dullness is a constant struggle. Saturday was great and we were consistently picking up the correct lead and transitioning between gaits with ease. Sunday, however, she was really tired and a lot more work. Joel gave us instructions to focus on short rides that inspire life until around January.
Besides focusing on life, Joel also helped us with front quarters. He noticed that Lacey was really heavy on the front end and gave me tools to help her be more free there. Lacey is such a special horse, I feel so lucky to get to be her friend. Lacey definitely has a lot of love to give, but she’s a little selective about who she gives it to. Though some people may think that Lacey is just grouchy and mean, that is so not true! She is one of the most cuddly and lovey horses I’ve worked with and is so much fun. She has so much to give and is going to make an amazing partner for someone in the future.
SAFE horsemanship volunteer Kaya M rode Lacey in the October Joel Conner clinic:
Honestly, I was a bit nervous about riding Lacey in the clinic, since I had only recently started working with her, and we were still feeling each other out. I am now so glad that I had this opportunity to improve my horsemanship and have fun with her! This weekend really helped improve not only our communication, but also our partnership. Lacey even nickered to me when I came to take her out of her paddock one day!
While we are now a more solid team, we still have a lot of work to do! Joel helped us learn how to be safe about picking up the hind feet of a horse that likes to kick, and this will be incredibly helpful for me and Lacey. We also worked on improving my cues so that Lacey would be more responsive to them. Lacey can be a bit dull, so I need to now how to escalate my ask in a timely manner. This improved quite a bit over the weekend. By the end of the clinic, Lacey was even moving into a canter off of my feel alone!
Her left lead, however, is going to be a continual challenge for me. Prior to the clinic, I had never been able to get Lacey to pick up the left lead. Joel helped me with this a lot and we got it once on Saturday. On Sunday we managed to pick it up once on our own and three or four times with Joel’s help. I’m hoping that as I work on creating more life in Lacey, this will be easier. I also need to work on being able to feel the difference between trotting on the correct vs. incorrect lead. Overall, Lacey is so much fun and I am so glad I got over my nerves and rode her this weekend! I can’t wait to keep working on getting changes and developing our partnership.
Lacey and Erika participated in the June Joel Conner clinic at SAFE. Here’s what Erika had to say about the experience:
Clinic report from SAFE volunteer rider Erika:
This clinic was not the first time I’ve worked with Lacey, but it was the first time I’ve spent so much time working with her.
The first day, Friday, we really worked hard to get to a soft feel, and we got to where she can hold it for a couple of strides. Part of learning the soft feel with Lacey is learning how to have her respond to my legs and my seat, so that she continues to move forward. That was definitely the most challenging piece of the puzzle for me. To add to that, I have a tendency to lean on my hands a lot, which Lacey does not respond well to. With Lacey, once she gives a soft feel, I have to remember to give her her head immediately, or she’ll start to pull on the bit and be less collected in the hind.
Saturday, we worked more on the soft feel and my seat and leg cues. She felt more forward as we progressed, and we held the soft feel for a few more strides than Friday. I worked that day to make my leg cues sharper. Another thing that Lacey does not respond well to is unclear cues, so I tried to make my leg movements crisp and clear for her. She responded positively, and we did better with turning a circle on a loose rein that day. As I was improving my leg and seat cues, Lacey was better at moving out, as well as slowing, stopping, and backing.
Sunday we worked even more on those puzzle pieces: soft feel, not leaning on my hands, and clear leg and seat cues. We got to where Lacey was more collected all over, and would hold the soft feel a little longer, and we even got to the lope (with a good expression on her face!) Sunday really felt like the culmination of the whole weekend, and was my favorite day. Lacey worked hard all weekend, and I’m really excited to start working with Lacey regularly.
thank you to Kino McFarland for this video and to rider Alicia for helping find the softer side of Lacey!
Since November, Lacey has been ridden by SAFE volunteer rider Alicia. The two are getting along great and Alicia has found out how sweet this mare can be when you get to know her and she respects you. Jessica came out on a rare dry winter day and got some great photos of Lacey in our outdoor arena. The more miles this mare gets the better she is! She would be suitable for an intermediate rider now. She can still be a baby and her handler needs to be aware of her but overall Lacey is ready to meet her future adopter and hit the trails!
Volunteer Rider Alicia has started working with Lacey. Here is her report on how things are going:
Lacey and I have been getting to know one another for about a month. She took a few meetings to respect and trust me but now we’re beginning to enjoy one another more on the ground. She occasionally tests our relationship, but we continue to grow each time we’re together. Lacey has really comfortable gates and fantastic downward transitions. she has slowly started to respect me as a rider and will move forward more willingly. Lacey and I recently rode in my first Joel Conner clinic and learned a tremendous amount. We work regularly on our upward transitions and moving freely in each gait. The walk and jog have made improvement already and I expect the lope to take a bit longer. Lacey is a lot of fun to ride and loves pets, kisses and being told she’s beautiful.
Here’s an update from Terry, who rode Lacey in the recent Joel Conner clinic:
Lacey did wonderful in this past Joel Conner clinic! She was forward and willing and kept a good attitude for most of the workshops. She is still young and at 4 there is just only so much arena time you can take in a day so I was mindful to take breaks and to put her away on a good note and not make her work past what she could handle. Since the clinic there have been some great changes in her and we are having a lot of fun. She is very connected to me and tends to be respectful once she knows you. Since she still tries to be naughty some times, we are only having the barn managers or volunteer riders handle her. This has made a big difference and she is leading better and more respectful to her handlers. Baby has to try right? I am really pleased with how far she has come and excited to hit the trails more with her this summer!
We have been working hard in the arena over the last few weeks and Lacey is improving every day! She has been doing a lot better with things touching her hind end. While she still might squeal and kick out from time to time, it has improved a great deal. I can now get the rope tossed over most of the time without a reaction. She is good about grooming, bathing and tacking up. However still needs to be watched because she will still try to bite or kick from time to time. She is my little work-in-progress but she does have a very sweet side to her. She loves to rub her lips on anything soft she can find, like the saddle pad after I take it off of her. She is so mature, I sometimes forget she is just 4.5 years old. She has a very playful side too! We have been playing with the yoga ball in the arena and she loves to chase it and kick it. We have a little soccer pony on our hands for sure!
Yesterday was our first ride into the large outdoor arena, followed by a short little trail ride. She did fantastically outside and was forward and comfortable. Heading up our driveway to the trailhead, she looked at a few things but was brave and kept moving. She was perfect over the bridge for the first time and I was able to stay on a nice relaxed rein the entire time. We saw out first bike on the trail and she reacted but I yielded her hind around as he came towards us and then asked Lacey to follow him as he rode away. This gave her confidence because it made her feel she had made the bike move away from her. I was very pleased at her response. I bet she would be great with cows!
We have some homework to do and lots more miles to cross before she is beginner ready but she is progressing well and a ton of fun to work with. One thing I hope to get help from Joel Conner this weekend at Lacey’s first riding clinic is addressing her reaction and behavior as other horses approach or pass her. With all the other horses in the arena, I will really need to work on correcting her aggressive behavior, and keep her listening to me and not worrying about the other horses. This will be a very important lesson if she every goes to a show or if someone passes us on the trails.
Lacey is not ready for just anyone to come jump on and ride her but would be a great project horse for someone who can see her potential and is willing to put the time into training her. She is very special and I know is going to be a fantastic riding partner in the future. Not to mention that she is cute as a button and loves snuggles!
Lacey, Lacey… Lacey… Where do I begin? To love horses you really have to accept everything about them. They have good and bad days; they have personalities and little quirks just like us. I think I will write this report like my teacher did in my parent-teacher conferences… like an Oreo cookie the good, the challenges and then some more good.
Miss Lacey went to Joel’s to get started a few months ago. She did very well turned out with the other mares and the saddle work was typical for a green horse. She is a little “cold backed” so even with months of saddle work; she is a little tight to start each session but nothing a little groundwork in the beginning doesn’t fix.
There are two issues we are having with her: food aggression and extreme sensitivity to things touching her rump or flank area. Joel called me halfway through Lacey’s training, concerned that he just wasn’t seeing changes in these two areas. She had done well accepting a rider and being taken into all the gaits. However, if any thing or anyone touched her hind end, she would squeal and kick out, and if he approached her while she was eating her grain, she would strike and bite at him. He worked at it for a long time and never saw the sort of lasting change that he hoped for. In the end, he and I decided that there was nothing more he could do for her and that that hopefully, with some more time and continued work at SAFE, she will get better.
To rule out any health issues, we had her checked out by Dr. Fleck, who performed a pelvic ultrasound. Everything looked normal. He is having us try some hormones to see if balancing out her cycles could help with her sensitivity in her hindquarters. She is on a 10-day trial of Regumate to see if it makes a difference. We are glad there was nothing found in the ultrasound that was causing her pain. It is always good to rule out underlining medical issues and I am grateful that SAFE takes the time to do this for our horses.
As far as the food aggression, there is probably always going to be something there and whoever is around her will need to be mindful. When she is in her stall eating and you enter her space, she will pin her ears. If you let her, she will try to bite or strike at you. The best way to change this behavior is to “move her feet” and change the leadership dynamic. I don’t get angry with her, I just simple ask her to move away from her food dish. She will then drop the aggression and look to me to find out what I need her to do. She becomes much more docile. I can then touch her and then invite her back to her hay. This is something that will get easier over time, but right now, someone who is timid or not sure what to do with this type of behavior should not be around her when she is eating.
There is a lot of heart and sweetness in this mare’s eyes. Working with mares in general is a special thing. They are smart and deserve respect. She is making progress and is definitely a one-woman horse. Her size makes her attractive to kids, but unfortunately she is too young and too green to go to a family with small children. She tends to like a soft approach where there is a lot of kindness behind the requests but also clarity as to what being asked. I also think she is very brave and gets along well as the lead mare in the herd. I am excited to see how she is on the trails so we will hopefully be out there a lot this summer. Lacey is my special project, and I hope that we can start showing her to potential adopters later this year.
Jessel and Lacey made their way over to Ellensburg to start working with Joel Conner. They are both doing well and I checked in with Joel this week to see how the girls are doing. The plan is to give Lacey 90 days of professional training and let Jessel winter over with Joel. He’s going to lightly start her under saddle and keep her exposed to professional, consistent handling to ensure she is learning the best manners possible.
Here is what Joel had to say about the two girls:
“JWOW (aka Jessel) is doing really good she’s been wonderful to saddle and ride. She is acting a little bit bothered by the road behind her so we’re getting her over that. Also she is learning how to move away from you when she’s tied up and not kick.
Ol Snooki (aka Lacey) is getting better every day. She is learning how to stay on the wall and walk trot lope. We are also working with her on making sure that she doesn’t kick when she’s tied up. We’re working with her with the rope and the mighty fart noise!”
So a little explanation might be needed here…Joel always comes up with nicknames for the horses and this time we just had to share! Snooki and JWOW are quite a pair and the names are just as fun as these two young mares! Also the “mighty fart noise” is something interesting that we found out about Lacey when we started to work with her here at SAFE. She absolutely hates it if you make a kiss sound or “fart noise”. She becomes quite agitated, tossing her head and overreacting! We work on getting her used to it here but Joel is still having to work on getting her to relax about. It.s pretty funny but also a bit puzzling…why would she react to a noise this way but be okay with a tarp hanging off her back? Silly ponies! Sometimes you have to just scratch your head, smile, and tell her she’s going to be alright and a noise will not hurt her.
Both of these horses were my training projects while they were here at SAFE and I grew to love their personalities. They both have a very sweet side but before we could see that sweet side, they needed to learn to respect their handler. I am very excited to see the work Joel is doing with them and thrilled to have such good report cards coming in. I miss seeing them at the barn but know this is an important time in their lives and trust Joel’s skills 100%. It is amazing to be able to work with such a gifted and heartfelt trainer, I know the girls are going to turnout to be wonderful riding horses!
Here are some photos of them at Joel’s:
Sunday morning, three young redheads were saddled up and worked in the roundpen at the start of the clinic. This included Jessel (who met the saddle for the first time at yesterday’s clinic), Sophie, and Lacey. Here are photos from this session:
Sweet baby Lacey! She is a doll and we are enjoying getting to know her. She is already a volunteer favorite! Here are a few photos that Jessica Farren took on our 3 week from intake.
We have taken them slowly through the re-feeding process, starting with just what they were getting for hay when they came to us and slowly increasing that to the full amount required. Horses need between 2-4% of their body weight in hay. Our flakes are about 5 pounds each so since Stevie needs to be around 900 pounds to be at full weight he requires 18-36 pounds of hay, Lacey requires 13-26 pounds per day. In our big 3 string bales of Eastern Washington Timothy hay, at 5 pounds a flake, Stevie will need 4-8 flakes a day and Lacey with 3-6 flakes. From what we estimated, Stevie and Lacey were sharing around 10 pounds of hay per day. It is clear why these two were not thriving and why they both were so thin. For the last 3 weeks we have been increasing their hay a small amount every other day and soaking it for 30 minutes rinsing off extra sugar as they adjust to getting more hay and preventing them from colic.
They were allowed to start a simple vitamin that covered the basic needs and contains the selenium that our Washington hay is lacking. They also were allowed access to the salt mineral block in their stalls right away and of course access to clean water 24 hours a day. Lacey was found many times chewing on her mineral block, a very good indicator that she was in need of them and had not been getting them before coming to SAFE. After working to the full amount of hay and slowly transferred them to dry un-soaked hay, we could begin adding a mash. This week they are begin to get a mash 2x a day to add more calories into their diets. Since they are so thin they simply can’t eat enough hay in one day to recover from their starvation. The mash helps them get more calories while they recover and this too is added slowly over the next few weeks. They will maintain on free choice hay and 2-3x per day mashes until they are up to weight. Then for some time after that as we slowly start them into work as to not slide backwards in their recent weight gain. They will ALWAYS need 2-4% their body weight in hay. Depending on the level of work a horse is in the 2% in the minimum needed to be at weight. This can fluctuate depending on how much grazing time they are able to get in summer month but is a good rule of thumb.
Please join us in welcoming the two newest faces at SAFE! Stevie and Lacey are two young mustangs who were born in the wild, then rounded up and sold at auction. They are now three and a half years old and while they haven’t had the easiest life so far, they have landed in a place where their future is bright.
Stevie and Lacey were born at the Wild Horse Sanctuary, which is located on 5,000 acres of meadow and forest land in Shingletown CA. The Wild Horse Sanctuary is home to nearly 300 wild horses and burros, most of whom were removed from public range lands in many parts of the western United States during government round ups. Foals born at the Sanctuary are offered for adoption each year. Stevie was adopted by a family who fell in love with his photo, and ultimately decided to take on Lacey as well.
Unfortunately their adopter was forced to rehome the two youngsters due to personal circumstances. Two years later, the original owners were contacted by the person who had taken them, who also was unable to keep them. Concerned for their safety, both owners turned to SAFE for help. We evaluated the horses with the assistance of our veterinarian at Mt Rainier Equine, who found them to be in decent health and soundness, but pretty thin. (Stevie needs to gain about 150 pounds, Lacey about 50-75.) The two horses were surrendered into our care, and arrived at Safe Harbor last Sunday.
Of the two, Stevie is the worst off. He’s visibly underweight, with prominent hips and ribs and a ewe neck. Lacey is shorter and stockier, so she does not look as bad as he does. She is also the dominant horse of the pair, so it’s likely that she got the larger share of what they were being fed. Both horses have dull coats from lack of nutrition and seem a little dull attitude-wise as well. They are both extremely sweet and friendly, and quite interested in people, so they have clearly been treated well in their short lives. A few months of good nutrition and plentiful food and they should be just fine.
SAFE has “the kids” in quarantine for two weeks where they are being treated for any possible lice and are being closely monitored for any signs of illness by our staff and volunteers. They are also being re-fed an appropriate diet for their current weight and condition.
Once they get a clear bill of health, both Stevie and Lacey will start into training. Stevie in particular has displayed some herd-bound behavior and needs to learn boundaries so he can be safely handled. Lacey has impressed us a lot with her willingness to approach new situations, like trailer loading. She definitely has her moments of mare-ish-ness, but she’s pretty easy to handle and was surprisingly well behaved for the veterinarian. A big plus for a 3 year old and quite promising in terms of her future demeanor!
We look forward to working with these bright young horses and will enjoy watching them as they transform into beautiful representatives of their hardy breed.