breed: 2007 black Appaloosa mare with blanket
type of rescue: Pierce County Animal Control seizure
intake date: 9/24/2011
adoption date: 6/7/2015
length of time with SAFE: 3 years, 8 months 

ADOPTED by Sarah S

Misty came to SAFE as part of a group of horses that were seized by Pierce County Animal Control. She came to SAFE as an unstarted 4 year old. Misty spent 60 days in professional training and graduated with honors. An athletic and well-rounded young mare, Misty excelled at both dressage and jumping at the many schooling shows we took her to. Misty was adopted by a junior jumper rider who continued her training and showed her on the A circuit in low level jumpers. She was rehomed by her adopter and then resold to a great new home where she is an adored friend of Sarah S.

Alumni Update: Misty

Alumni Update: Misty

Misty is doing amazing!  She is currently residing at Buck wood Farms as a lesson horse and is being ridden by a lovely lady Amber, who absolutely loves Misty.  Come spring, Misty’s adopter will be able to start riding her again as she is finishing school and has a more regular work schedule. In the meantime, however, her adopter still gets to spend plenty of time with her and treat her like the queen she is!

Alumni Update: Misty

Alumni Update: Misty

Misty is doing amazingly well! She won “Horse of the Day” at an IEA show and is currently serving as an part-time lesson pony and teaching kids at Burkwood. Since Sarah hurt her knee, she can’t ride right now, but having Misty teach lessons to the little ones allows her to stay worked. Which is a good thing for Misty!!

Training Update: Misty

misty_05_09_2015_111Misty is really turning into a lovely horse. Her attitude while working is very steady and constant. She is ridden by a few different riders throughout the week and is well behaved for their different styles and abilities. We’ve been trying her barefoot for the last few weeks and have decided that she’s more comfortable with shoes on, so she’ll be getting a new set later this week. While she wasn’t terribly tender footed barefoot, she isn’t growing enough of an upright capsule to protect her sole from landing flat on the ground. Shoes will give her a bit more of that outer wall support and she will ultimately be more comfortable on all types of terrain. 

A few weeks ago, we took Misty on her first trail ride of the year and I was very surprised how reactive she was to sights and sounds on the trail. It has been some time since she’s been out on the trails but to be honest I was expecting her to be much more mellow and relaxed for the outing. We took her along with a few other SAFE horses down along the road to the trails that lead to the Hollywood Hill Saddle Club. She did not like the noises on the other side of the properties lining the path. There were lawn mowers and some construction that created the worst reactions. After reaching the arena at the Saddle Club, she was much better but she did have quite a bit of energy to get out. Her volunteer rider worked her though it well and got her focused and dialed into her aids. The walk home still had a few jumps and kick outs but it was managed. We took her again the week before the May 9th show at the HHSC arenas and she was MUCH BETTER! She was quiet and well behaved for the entire walk down as well as for the training ride in the arena. 

At the Schooling Show on May 9th, Misty was good for the trail walk to the show and managed very well for the day of showing. She was ridden in the English Equitation and Pleasure classes in the morning with volunteer rider Ardelle and in the afternoon for the Western classes with Sara. She was good for the riders and came hope with a few ribbons. It was a hot day and her energy was a bit low for the canter work but all and all it was a great start to the show season. 

Hollywood Hills Schooling Show — May 2, 2015

Nala, Misty, and Karma competed at the Hollywood Hills English/Western Schooling show this weekend, and all three girls were amazing!

Nala won the English Walk/Trot Reserve High Point for our age division at her very first show!! She earned that award with a first place ribbon and a few seconds! Nala ended her day by placing 7th out of 15 horses in the Western Pleasure class in the afternoon. At the end of the day, everyone agreed that this little mare would make a perfect 4‑H horse for someone special! She really made us proud.

Misty and Karma did great too. Karma had a lot of deal with at her first show but she learned to relax, which is very positive. Casey did a perfect job supporting her and helping her find peace. Misty was a tough cookie today but Ardelle did a beautiful job with her and the two did some lovely work together.

The people at the Hollywood Hills Saddle Club were SO nice, and they made lots of announcements to the crowd about the SAFE horses, letting everyone know that the three girls were available for adoption! All and all, it was an amazing day.

BIG THANK YOU to Heather, Casey, Ardelle, Lisa, Sara, Jessica, and Erika for helping prep for the show and bring the horses looking all fancy today for everyone to see.

Here are just a few photos from the day, we hope to add more soon!

A field trip for Misty, Lola, Cameo, and Nala

Misty, Lola, Cameo, and Nala had a little field trip today, leaving Safe Harbor with their riders and walking down to the nearby Hollywood Hills Saddle Club. There’s a schooling show coming up at HHSC on May 9th that we’re planning to bring horses to, so Terry wisely decided that a test run was in order. The four girls did well, especially Nala who was on her very first trail ride and handled it like a complete pro!

March training update: Misty!

Misty is going very well for her volunteer riders. She is working on good ground manners and we have had little to no problems managing her behavior at Safe Harbor. She did have an allergic reaction a few weeks ago to what we could only guess was a bee sting. It caused her face and eyes to swell up. Dr Fleck came out to see her and gave her some steroids to help reduce the inflammation. All the swelling was gone by the third day of medication.

Misty (with volunteer rider Sara E in the saddle)

Misty (with volunteer rider Sara E in the saddle)

Misty also did very well during the Micheal Sparling Clinic February 14–15. Here is what her volunteer rider Erika had to say about the experience: “I learned that Misty is especially sensitive about her ears and face, but that with steady, patient desensitizing work using our handy dandy flags, she figures out pretty quickly that we are not there to hurt her, and neither is the flag. She is clearly a smart mare, and she picked up on cues from us humans much more quickly than I anticipated. Once she’s connected to the human she’s working with, she also really obviously looks for a guide. Quite the opposite of when she’s running around with her fellow mares. She also seems very eager to please, once connected to her human. Michael’s instruction showed me that when we hold ourselves steady and remain patient, we have calmer, happier horses, too. Thanks again to SAFE for the opportunity to be involved in the Michael Sparling clinic!”

Misty is Available for Adoption Again

As excited we are to find potential adopters for our horses, it is always more important to us that the match be right for all involved. Our adoption process is designed to ensure that both the horse and the adopter are right for each other, and we work hard to make sure that both parties are well acquainted with each other before the adoption becomes final. This includes multiple opportunities for both the rider and his or her trainer to meet and ride the horse, both at the beginning of the process as well as during the period in which we are busy checking references and performing the site visit. Sometimes things come up during this part of the process that stops the adoption. But even if there are no red flags or warning signs and an adoption proceeds, we still allow a 30 day trial period at the start of every adoption. This gives both the horse and its adopter a period of time to really test drive the adoption on site and make sure it’s a good match. During the 30 day trial, the adopter is free to return the horse to us for any reason and receive a full refund of the adoption fee.

We sent Misty out on a 30 day trial at the beginning of January with a young rider who had come out to Safe Harbor Stables and ridden Misty multiple times. Her trainer had come out to ride Misty and worked with the rider as well. Everything pointed to this as a good riding pair. Misty hit the ground running during her 30 day trial: she was put into the lesson program and even hauled to schooling shows. Everyone enjoyed riding her and she was good for her young rider. As a relatively young horse, Misty still needed work to improve her ground manners, and her adopters were well aware of this. They took on the task of learning to work through Misty’s impatience with standing in cross ties and holding her feet up for the farrier. Misty’s  young rider had a great support team around her including her mom who grew up riding and owning horses and her trainers who were helping both with training on the ground and riding.

Three weeks into the trial, her adopter wisely decided to do a pre-purchase evaluation with their veterinarian. Misty had had a few days off on the day of the vet exam, and she was very hot right from the start of the evaluation. She’d been brought in from the paddock, leaving her friends behind, and was tied up a stall. Unfortunately her tendency to be a herd bound mare overruled her manners, and she broke out of the ties and ran back to her pasture buddy. When they caught her, she was all jazzed up, and the vet did not feel comfortable continuing the examination. Understandably, Misty’s adopter’s mom was very shaken up by this incident, and made the difficult decision that even though things up until this point had been good, this was more than she could safely ask a 12 year old to be responsible for. We totally agreed, and Misty was returned to Safe Harbor last week.

When we send a horse on a trial period, we are as excited as the adopters that the horse has found what we believe is a good match.  On the rare occasion that horse proves us wrong, we share deeply in the adopters’ disappointment. Had we reason to think that Misty would behave this way; we would not have allowed her to go to a junior rider. While it saddens us to have Misty returned, we are content to continue to work with her training and get her ready for adoption. We take this kind of behavior very seriously, and we are re-evaluating her ground manners. She is available again for adoption but will only be matched with adult riders who have experience working with young horses.

Misty’s Stifle Treatment Update

Dr Ron Colton examines Misty

Dr Ron Colton examines Misty

Earlier this year, Misty’s foster trainer Kelly Larsen noticed that Misty was showing some stiffness and inconsistency in her work to the left, including difficulty picking up the canter in that direction. We had Dr Ron Colton from Evergreen Equine out to examine her, and he confirmed what Kelly had been seeing: Misty’s work to the left was not of the same quality as to the right. Dr Colton recommended that we try injecting the stifles to see if alleviating any discomfort would help her gain strength and symmetry.

Misty did show some improvement after the injections and is now moving better to the left.

At this time, Dr. Colton does not believe that Misty will need ongoing injections, unless the type of work she is asked to do is very demanding. He does suggest that she may be better suited as a trail horse, rather than one that does a lot of arena work involving repetitive circling. While this may mean she is not perfectly suited for a career in dressage without ongoing joint maintenance, Misty loves riding on the trails and would probably prefer a life of outdoor adventure! So we’re going to go ahead and consider this to be good news about our Misty girl.

Misty’s current foster situation is coming to a close with the advent of wet weather, so we’re going to be looking for a new foster home for her right away, preferably one where she can get more time on the trails. If you’re interested in becoming a SAFE foster home, and you can provide the type of set up that we require for our foster horses, please contact us at foster@safehorses.org so we can talk to you about Misty!

August Training Notes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An Open Letter from the Appaloosa Girl! Or Misty’s Summer of Contemplation…

horses_mouth_icon_MistyHello friends!
This has been an interesting spring and summer for me! I left Countdown Stables at the end of February and came to Dancing Horse Stables (Kellie and Peter Larsen). They are my new foster people and Lisa, my old foster mom, is still coming to visit and ride me once a week.

I have been getting used to my new digs. I have two new friends, Felina and Cardi, on either side of me. I have a stall with a run attached and I get to go out to pasture for a few hours most days. They feed me 4 meals a day, plus supplements and pellets twice a day!! I even get carrots and apples…but they don’t hand feed me much because I’m still kind of “mouthy.”

I’m continuing to learn how to stand quietly in the cross ties, not hassle the shoer so much, and to get shots and fly spray…

I’m working on getting this dressage thing down tho’!  Apparently, I’ve been a bit “stiff” and having a hard time cantering to the left with a rider on my back. To which I say, let’s go right all the time! No big deal! But in late spring, after making myself sore by being “silly” and slipping around on the lunge line and out in pasture (and almost falling), they had this guy out to look at me. He is a veterinarian — a horse doctor I guess — and he made me do all these funny tests and walk/trot/canter on the lunge line forever! It looks like I’ve made myself sore in the stifles (whatever those are!!), so, I had to get some more shots and now I’m getting back into work! We have to go slow tho’… (works for me! I thought I was on vacation until they said I had to go back to work!!).

So, I’ve been getting my “work ethic” back (?!) and doing a bit more work this last month of summer. I’m still a bit stiff starting out. Kellie and Lisa are trying to convince me that bending left is okay now, but I’m still a bit skeptical. What do they know? They should try some of this “dancing” stuff with a rider on their backs and see what they think! Oops, I think my Appaloosa girl attitude just took me over!

So, come visit me in a little bit when I’m stronger! I love Lisa, Kellie, and Peter, but, I think I’m ready for a permanent mom or dad. I guess I’m not a “beginners’ horse”, but I love my people, I’ll come up to you in pasture, I love to go on the trails and I’m getting better at this dressage thing. Maybe I do have a wee bit of an attitude, but Kellie says I’m very smart and hard working! So I’ve got that going for me!


June Training Notes

Perhaps this is obvious, but we are just so proud of our horses! Every single one of them faced tremendous challenges in their lives before being rescued, and the courage and bravery they show us during their rehabilitation and retraining is nothing short of astonishing. The horses of SAFE have an incredible team of humans helping them on this journey, led by our trainer Terry Phelps and the volunteers who work by her side. This month’s training report is filled with brightness and hope, and we are so proud to share this with you and to say thank you to supporters like you for making our training program possible. 


Continuing with his rehab work. He’s being very steady and calm during his rehab rides! We’ve tried him out briefly at the trot — just trotting down the long sides of the arena a few times each direction — and he trotted sound in both directions. Fingers crossed that this is a sign that his rehab has been successful!

We tend to put Skittles on a pedestal...

We tend to put Skittles on a pedestal…

Continues to do great with ground work and riding. She has gone on two trail rides and was eager and happy to be out of the arena but listened well to me even when she was excited to be outside. She is brave walking past dogs and construction work and with cars passing along the road. She does like to walk fast and is less of a “quiet school horse type” on the trails but nothing dangerous or misbehaved.

Jewel did seem to remember her ground work training when she came back to SHS for the week, but she seemed to have regressed a tiny bit in her patience and softness when it came to picking up her feet.

Our Lola Bear continues to behave like a very good solid citizen! She was the best behaved for dentals when the vets were out, a master at walking over the tarps, and she loves to jump right into the trailer when asked! She was very relaxed and easy going for her trail ride, good with the cars along the road, didn’t mind the barking dogs or the construction noises. Her only fault on the trail was that she did not want to lead that particular day (normally she’s happy to be out front, and just as happy to bring up the rear!) She has been ridden frequently by Stephanie and has been very well behaved for her at all gaits.

Trailer loading training has continued with great success. The secret to success is not to apply a ton of pressure but with quiet asking and reassurance, she will step all the way into the trailer. We are working now on quietly stepping out of the trailer and not running backwards. She still needs a lot of positive and calming energy to trust this process.

Kat is a super star! She did very well during a recent showing to a potential adopter and was very tolerant of a the 10 year old rider1 She has been doing very well with her volunteer riders and happy out in grass turnout with Dottie.

We’re doing a great deal of ground work and desensitization training, and she is really doing quite well. She’s learning and quieting down a lot. She does have her hot side, but with calm handling she can relax and get very easy in her mind and movement. She’s does best if ridden after a very good ground work session. She can be very centered and quiet. Since Cameo is so young, I feel it’s important to keep the work light and fun for her. I’d like to take her out on the trails this summer as well and give her a chance to experience fun outside of the arena.

Skye and Terry at work in the arena

Skye and Terry at work in the arena

Skye has very good ground work manners from her work with Dave. I can see how well this was done and it is a great starting point with our growing relationship. She has a finite amount of time she can work before she gets tired and her stubborn “I’m finished” attitude comes out. We are working on her willingness to go forward when asked. She has a bit of  attitude but the fight is more of a slam on the breaks. This is getting better as we work together and she realizes I’m not asking for anything that hard. She really wants to please and has a very sweet nature. We have started the trailer work and will continue to have this as part of her weekly work.

Before leaving for foster it was evident that she was feeling a lot better, judging by the changes in her behavior. We had some testing of boundaries including a little nibbling, and some issues with standing for the farrier and getting into the trailer. She’s another horse who will benefit from ground work in preparation to getting started under saddle later this year.

Here are a few of the highlights from Kellie’s latest updates on Misty.

Happy to report that Misty got a new set of shoes today and we only had one “pull back and slam her front foot down” episode. Lisa and I have been working with her, holding her front leg up and out, and having her submit and let us do it, and then she gets a reward. That worked pretty well today. Misty got a piece of carrot each time Jim worked on her feet and set them down. She scored about 3 carrots and we got an obedient pony.

She is a smart girl and she seems to have made up her mind to work with us with less testing of the humans going on….

Overall, Misty is very fun to work with. She has a good work ethic and if she could do as well to the left as she does to the right for us, she would. I just think it is soreness and some weakness that keeps her from cooperating/balancing to the left. I’ve learned over the years that most horses will give you a lot of work/cooperation; almost every time that I had begun to think it was “attitude” versus pain, we discovered the cause, addressed it, and then no more bad behavior. When you hit resistance it is usually pain or protective behavior. Even in very dominant horses, they might “test” you, but, they almost always have a very good work ethic.

Ginger is doing fabulously with Kim Lacy! She has really come along nicely. I went to ride her and we got a video of her going w/t/c. She is ready for adoption or to return to SHS to be ridden and shown. Kim has taken her on trail rides on her property and is working on loading in the trailer, she was good for both.

New horizons for Misty

Misty has spent more than a year in foster care with Lisa T, a terrific rider and trainer who has donated countless hours working with this mare and continuing her training in a forward and positive direction. During their time together, Lisa and Misty did arena work, trail rides, and even competed at training level dressage at schooling shows. Misty has now moved on to the barn of dressage trainer Kellie Larsen, but Lisa continues to work with Misty once a week in lessons with Kellie. Here’s an update and some photos from Lisa:

Misty is settling in great at her new home in Duvall. I am benefiting from some great instruction from Kellie Larsen, who is having me ride once a week to help Misty adjust to her new environment. Because I have a long history with Misty, this is helpful to both of us! I am learning a new, easier way to ride her — the expectation is now that it should take fewer, quieter aids to get her where she should be. In just three rides we are already seeing great progress. This helps Misty understand and enjoy her job more, and also of course it makes her more adoptable and fun to work with! You can see from a few pics that she is completely relaxed, and looks super cute in her new bridle with bling. We’ll get more photos and videos soon. I’m just loving the ability to see all of my work with Misty funneled into an even more constructive place. This smart mare has found a perfect new training partner in Kellie.

February Volunteer of the Month: Lisa Tuininga

One of the many ways to volunteer with SAFE is to become a Foster for a SAFE Horse. Our network of foster homes is what allows us to help more horses than we can house at our main facility. When we happen to come across a foster who is also willing and capable to further the training of one of our riding horses, it is cause for celebration. Such is the case of the February Volunteer of the Month…Lisa Tuininga.

Lisa came to us with an offer to foster and train one of our rideable horses. After a thorough evaluation of Lisa’s riding skills, our Training Manager selected Misty as a good fit. For well over a year now, Lisa has given her time and money to help further Misty’s training and increase her adoptability. We are exceptionally grateful for all that Lisa has done for Misty’s education…including regular exercise, trail riding, and even getting her to schooling shows for additional exposure. Lisa’s time with Misty is drawing to an end and we wanted to express our sincere appreciation for all that Lisa has done for this spunky mare.

Get to know Lisa a little more here…

An adorable selfie of SAFE volunteer Lisa with Misty.

An adorable selfie of SAFE volunteer Lisa with Misty.

Tell us a little bit about yourself
I live in North Bend with my husband and twin six year old girls. We run a graphic design studio here in town, and in my spare time I enjoy reading, hiking, and of course — being with horses!

How long have you been volunteering for SAFE?
I began fostering for SAFE in September, 2012.

What made you decide to foster for SAFE?
I’ve always ridden horses and usually own one, but a few years ago, being horseless at the time, decided that it would be great to have a horse to work with while helping a good cause.

Who is your favorite SAFE horse?
At the moment of course it is Misty — my current foster project! She has been a tough nut to crack but now we are really making progress and I’ve grown to appreciate her highly social, questioning, smart, interactive side. She keeps me on my toes. Just this afternoon as I went to put her away after our ride, she noticed that I took the halter off a bit early and she gave me that wily look as she started to slowly back away from me and out into the aisleway. I had to tactfully use the lead rope to corral her neck and bring her back into her stall. Total pony move!

Is there anything else you would like to share about yourself or your experience with SAFE?
SAFE is such a wonderful organization. Their great communication and professional approach to running a rescue organization has made my foster experience so positive. Everyone that meets Misty is impressed with her story and the progress that she has made. It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved and I feel lucky to have this opportunity to be involved.

Misty at a ‘big girl barn’

An update on Misty from Lisa:

Misty enjoyed a trail outing on New Years day, to our usual spot at
Rattlesnake Lake/Snoqualmie valley trail. She was very well behaved on
the trails, and didn’t balk once! Even though we arrived and parked
among other horse trailers and horses (it was busy that day) she stood
quietly for tacking up and tolerated the activity quite well.

We ended our trail ride with a surprise for Misty — a new barn for the
month of January! I made the decision to move Misty to Countdown
Stables, also in North Bend, in order to take advantage of a large, dry
indoor arena so that we can continue the progress we have made with her
dressage work. The arena I was previously working in is challenging
during winter, and I was frustrated that I could not do more with her
when she feels so ready to work. I’ve had two nice rides on her so far,
and I can tell we will be able to make a lot of progress on her canter
at the new facility. I plan to continue taking lessons with Cindy
Akdeniz who teaches at Countdown regularly. There are also some roads
and pastures to hack in. At the new barn, Misty is becoming accustomed
to standing in crossties, seeing more activity, and living with more
horses. All of this will help her in her future home.

She continues to be a busy mare with lots of personality, who can be a
bit pushy and anxious on the ground, but under saddle she is becoming
extremely fun to ride — forward, uphill, balanced, and understanding the
more subtle cues of her rider. As we work more on canter this month I
expect a lot more positive progress. Stay tuned for a video soon.

Black Mare Friday!

Misty celebrated Black Friday with a trail ride! Here’s an update from Lisa:

My friend Victoria invited me to go on a spontaneous ride on Friday.

When she pulled up, Misty got very excited and pushy. This has become a bit of a pattern and ironically Cindy Akdeniz, the trainer I have been taking some lessons with, showed up at the same time to give my neighbor a lesson, so I took advantage of some of her pointers to use on a quick ground work lesson. Misty quickly settled with some work in hand, and then loaded perfectly as usual.

On the trails Misty gave me her one moment of ‘I don’t want to go any further (past that yard waste burn pile crackling just off the trail) and after arguing for a minute or two I hopped off, again worked her in hand to confirm that forward means forward and stop means stop, and then after walking past the scary spot I remounted and she was perfect for the rest of the ride.

We spent a lot more time in the woods this time — going up and down narrow trails, under branches, over logs, and even getting slightly lost! She proved very adept at turning around on a narrow trail when we encountered fallen trees, and she even led the way at times. I marveled at the change in her — last spring in the woods she was balky and would never have led the way. She is very sure footed and seems to really enjoy the trails.

Both of our horses were tired on the way back but we did some nice forward trot to cover ground and the weather held. We again crossed the huge concrete bridge over the ravine (full of rushing water this time) and Misty was perfect.



Misty at the Donida Dressage Schooling Show!

As we mentioned a few days ago, Misty went to her third horse show and second dressage show on November 9th at Donida Farms. Here are her results along with some of the judge’s comments on each test:

Intro C — 5th place with 64.75%
“Fun horse. Correctly ridden. Continue to develop balance in and out of canter”

Training 1 — 5th place with 60.208%
“Very capable pair. Work to get horse to relax over back. Slow down in the trot, it’s too hurried”

Lisa’s comments about her performance:

Misty was a superstar — a bit hard to handle on the ground at times with all the activity but she didn’t get away from me (my worst fear!) and once I was on her back she was actually quite attentive and well behaved. I was in heaven with the lovely footing and huge arenas. One dicey moment before going into our first class where she decided to head back toward the barn and took some tactful “convincing” to instead stay and wait for her turn to go into the spooky indoor. But, in each test, she didn’t spook at a single thing — didn’t care about judges stand, flowers, other horses, etc. She probably would have scored better if I had ridden better, I was fairly nervous and didn’t have a trainer there to help me warm up etc, plus at home we can’t work on canter very much because of our somewhat wet arena so in the training level test with some longer canter it was a struggle to keep her going — she was like “what?!! I’m still cantering???” Overall a success, thanks for encouraging us to go we had a great time and I think it is a very positive step for her development.

Also, fyi, she loaded and hauled great, ate her food and drank her water, but had some diarrhea there maybe due to stress.

Misty Update from Lisa

We’re on a roll lately. Misty has been absolutely wonderful to ride and
handle. Though she can still be a fruitcake on the lunge line (as Kyle
witnessed when she came to shoot some video recently), she is really
learning connection and trust with me — when she gets “amped up,” she
comes back and settles quickly. We are regularly cantering under saddle
now as we practice our tests, even in unstable footing, and she feels
much more balanced. We’ve begun jumping on lunge line and under saddle
and she loves it. We begin each ride with a hack around the neighborhood
which she really seems to enjoy — since there is a always a lot going on
around our block, I find it helpful to just take her out into it to see
everything, rather than expect her to concentrate in the somewhat
closed-off arena right away. Her tough moments are now reduced to just
a bit of balkiness and not wanting to go forward at the beginning of a
dressage session (kind of like ‘do I have to?’) without much threatening
behavior and which we get over very quickly. Sometimes on her first
canter under saddle she’ll pin her ears and need some extra strong
leg/encouragement but when she gets going she feels good. I am so happy
with her progress lately, and excited to see how she does down at Donida
next week! We are entered for Intro 3 and Training 1. It’s been awhile
since I’ve been to a horse show and it will only be her second time at
one, so wish us both luck!

Checking in with Misty!

Here is the latest and greatest from Lisa who is fostering and training Misty, and keeping our girl very busy it sounds like:

We have had our challenges but overall Misty continues to progress. We had a nice trail ride on Tuesday, up to Rattlesnake Lake again. She only had one moment of spookiness where she tried to back up/go sideways back to where we came from but I felt that it was justified (there was a horse up the hill at someone’s property, right above the trail, that was running the fence because of us), so I hopped off and led her past it, then remounted when she settled. On the way back going by that spot she was fine. She never reached her usual moment of “I just won’t go any further” so that’s progress! She loves her new shoes and we had some nice canter on the way back. She likes to go back toward the trailer but she doesn’t pull or run.

Secondly we took video of some flatwork today. You can see that she is progressing nicely with her Dressage work, feeling better and better at the trot and with some really nice moments in canter (and able to hold it longer.) She is getting really fun to ride! The trick is lunging her first if she seems tense, tons of lateral work and counter bend, and just generally keeping her busy. She is a mare that will take a mile if you give her an inch! You can see one little stop/spook in this ride but she works past it easily.

I have plastic jump blocks on the way and hope to do a little bit of jumping with her in the next few weeks. This is a smart and athletic horse that will excel with the right handling, no doubt about it.

Misty is back to work!


Foster/Trainer update on Misty to share:

Misty is just coming out of about three weeks off work due to a splint. She wasn’t lame, but we thought it best to rest her for a bit. (Unfortunately, we missed the show!) During her time off she was so sweet and personable, the perfect patient for the icing and DMSO. I also began bringing my daughters to the barn to spend more time with her and she seemed to really take to the extra attention!

Now she is back to work, and her trot is feeling great and we are working on canter again. I have almost ditched the daily lunging and now we just start with some groundwork to make sure she’s paying attention before getting on. My goal is to get her out on another trail adventure soon, or hopefully a XC schooling outing. Summer is always busy but the good news is our arena is dry now (if a little dusty!) so we can use the whole area and do more with leg yield, off the track work, smaller circles, and more with trot poles.

mistyThis is a horse that is engaging and fun to ride. She’ll offer questions and challenges to make sure you are really paying attention and reminding her to put her body in the right place, but we are starting to have some extremely nice moments! With her recent affection for kids I started to picture her as a school horse — she’d be the perfect addition to a barn’s program, with her ability to challenge the advanced rider but mellow out and enjoy the more junior student.

I’ll try to post another video of her under saddle soon!


Here’s a really cute video of Misty teaching two girls how to groom a horse, complete with kisses! Super cute stuff!!

Misty Update

Here’s a great update on Misty from her foster mom Lisa:

WP_001252Misty is doing just great. She continues to progress in her Dressage work, becoming more balanced, with a longer stride and more stretch over her topline. We had a lesson with Cindy Akdeniz last Friday and gained more knowledge and tools to keep this athletic and smart mare moving in the right direction. Her lateral work is coming along with some leg yield at walk and trot, and we are starting to play with shoulder fore. She is really learning to be sensitive to her rider’s balance and she always tries hard. There are still sometimes sticky moments in the beginning of our rides where she resists going forward (“I’m an Appy mare!! You have to make me!!”) But they don’t last long and all it takes is a bit of insistence with seat and leg to convince her that it’s time to work. She seems to really like her job and is always friendly and agreeable to handle, tack up, etc. She is very interested in everything her human is doing and has a playful and fun personality. Cindy noted that her down transitions are fantastic and we can use those as a tool to keep reminding her to keep her balance and not rush her tempo (which seems to be her tendency.) Her canter departs are consistently on the correct lead and we are working on her canter balance by trying to incorporate more straight lines.

We continue our hacks around the neighborhood as well, and hope to go on another trail ride soon. I would also love to take her cross-country schooling as I see this mare as a perfect pony club and event prospect. In the neighborhood where she lives she has been exposed to all sorts of noise and surprise (4‑wheelers, people on bikes, little kids, construction noises, etc.) which has been great for her confidence and her mind.

This little mare is sound and sturdy, with great feet (has been barefoot even for riding on gravel). She is an easy keeper and gets along with her barn mate very well. She hops right into the trailer and hauls quietly. She will make an absolutely wonderful partner for the right person and I can’t wait to see who that is!

Misty update

Misty moved to a new foster home about a week ago. She’s occupying the spot that was held by Louie, who is now out on a trial to be adopted. Misty’s new foster mom is an accomplished rider and trainer who will be working Misty under saddle during her foster, just as she did very successfully with Louie! Here’s an update from Lisa about her impressions of the new girl:

Misty has done a great job settling in to her new environment. She  proves to be very sensible and easy to handle, considering she is only  five! Her personality is so curious and sweet, it’s hard not to fall in love with her. She is very interested in everything going on, and I can  tell it’s great for her to be in our neighborhood where she is getting  exposed to many new things. She can be sort of a firecracker on the  lunge line, full of energy, but under saddle she hasn’t taken a bad  step. We are mostly working on trot balance and rhythm, and staying round, with lots of transitions, because the arena is too deep in spots right now for me to feel comfortable with canter work (she is cantering herself plenty on the lunge line!). I put a trot pole out the other day and she really liked that. I have also taken her out of the arena a few times and she doesn’t seem herd bound or spooky, just eager to explore. I plan to hack her more and more outside during the next few weeks as I get to know her better. And if the weather cooperates, a trail ride could be in our future.

Excited to see what the future holds with this cute, athletic, and smart mare.

Misty Training Update

Here’s an update on Misty from our trainer, Heather Roe:

What can I say about Misty? This little mare is a super star! She has now been to two shows where she won her classes both times and has was steady and unflappable both times. Her training is progressing right on track and I am currently focusing on getting her more balanced in her canter. She has just been started on small lateral movements and she is figuring those out pretty well. Misty has a very bright future ahead of her.

More Misty news, now with video!

From Misty’s foster: A few photos of Misty in case a potential adopter wants to see. One has her
ribbons from the show on her back. 🙂 I also took a quick walk/trot/canter
video each way this AM before bringing her back to SHS. It isn’t the best
(my husband hobbled out about 1 minute after I got on her, so no warm up and
thus some inconsistency in contact and no fancy trot), but at least
potential adopters can see better how she goes right now.

Misty at the SAFE Show

Our good friend Amy Hagstrom made us a very generous offer last month…she took Misty to her home and worked with her under saddle and in hand for a month in preparation for the SAFE Show. Amy’s hard work with this lovely young mare was showcased this past weekend as Misty got her chance to shine. Here’s a report on the weekend from Amy, and some photos of Amy and Misty in action.

I had the honor of showing SAFE horse “Misty” and she was a star. She won her first intro dressage class with a score of 77.5% and the judge’s single overall comment on her second test was “Lovely!” 🙂 Misty also placed 2nd, 3rd, and 4th in a combination of the 3 Western and English halter classes she entered. 4th in trot poles equitation. And I was really happy with her in hand and under saddle performances in trail class… backed softly and respondingly thru the “L”, over the tarp, thru the gate, by shiney tubes, thru pool noodles no problem! Her newfound turn on forehand and haunches skills came in handy. I didn’t hear if she placed in the trail classes, but in my mind she was a winner. 🙂 And I can now says she bathes, clips, loads, and hauls nicely. Misty has such a nice level headed mind and is becoming a great all around horse… her future owner is going to be a lucky one.

Misty at the Hollywood Hills Saddle Club Dressage show

Misty and Aiden competed today at the dressage show at the Hollywood Hills Saddle Club. Misty is 4 years old and has only been under saddle for 5 months, but you wouldn’t know it from the way she handled this new experience. She was a superstar. We couldn’t be prouder of our girl!







Misty’s first test (Intro A, came in 2nd in the class)

Misty’s second test (Intro B, won the class with a 68%)

Misty, now available for adoption!

Updated photos of Misty taken today! She is now at a healthy weight and ready to be put up for adoption! Misty has not been started under saddle, but she is ready to be trained and has the potential to go in any direction. Adoption fee: $500.

Horses available through Pierce County Animal Control

Please bear with me, as this post will be long.

Recently, SAFE was contacted by Pierce County Auditor Julie Anderson to request assistance with several horses that have been seized or surrendered to their Animal Control agency that they have been unable to place into homes.  Over the past several years, PCAC has taken several steps to try to alleviate the “horse problem” in their county through several open summits.  They put out an RFP for agencies and individuals to help them in providing temporary foster homes for horses that they took in.  They now have several contracts with local farms for temporary placement, and that part of their program has worked fairly well.  However, where their programs have fallen short is in finding a long-term solution for these horses, once they have been surrendered to the county and can be released for adoption.  They have tried, with limited success, to find homes for these horses themselves, and have even worked with rescue agencies to help them do site checks and screen potential applicants.  But it was not enough, and the the number of horses in their care continued to rise.  It is important to understand that unlike King County, Pierce County does not operate a small animal shelter.  They contract with the Humane Society for that service, and pay a flat fee per animal that the Humane Society takes in for them to provide vaccinations, spay/neuter, etc.  Their expertise is in animal control and there was no budget to care for all these horses nor experience in providing adoption services.  In desperation, last summer the county ran two horses from the Eatonville case (where Zanadu, Calamity, and Nadia came from) through the Enumclaw Sales Pavilion, with disastrous results — both ended up in the kill pen slated for slaughter.  Both horses were rescued, with the county even paying the $300 “bail” to re-rescue Nadia on the condition that SAFE take her.  We did, and she was later put into training and then adopted into a home.  There was a lot of public outcry towards the county for this, and they have learned from their mistake and will no longer run horses through the sale.  But that still leaves the county with a significant dilemma, what to do with all these horses? read more…