2018 Warmblood type mare
Suitability: For Advanced Rider
Color: dark bay
Height: 15.3 hh
Weight: 900 lbs
Adoption Fee: $3,000
Nova was the third filly born at SAFE Harbor in 2018. She’s a stunning filly who looks a lot like her dam Luna and definitely takes after her mom with her long legs! Nova was started under saddle in 2021, and has been ridden regularly since turning four years old.
All SAFE horses are adopted with a no-breeding clause, no exceptions.
Nova at Training
What is that saying, girls go to college to get more knowledge? (I think there’s a part about boys in there too, but it’s a little less kind). The girl in question here is Nova, and the college is a place in Ellensburg with teacher, Dylan Palm. With a great start already under her belt, Nova has just been in need of a bit of dedicated time spent to really polish her to a shine, and we couldn’t think of a better place for her to spend a few weeks than with our old friend, Dylan. We are certainly missing her while she is away, but we are excited for the day she returns and she can show us, and potential adopters, all the old tricks she’s brushed up on and all the new tricks she’s learned.
Herd your Horses
The nature of SAFE is that it is a transient place, meant to be a pause in the life of the horses who come here, a comma in their lives, not a full stop. What this means is that things change on a regular basis – we play musical paddocks quite often (though all of the horses have a chair at the end of it). What it also means is that herds grow and shrink as horses come and go.
For Nova, born on property, it is only to be expected that she has seen multiple shifts in her living situations. Over the summer, she was turned out with her fellow SAFE-born baby, Rae, and more recent addition, Valentine. The three enjoyed months of grass together and nights spent sleeping under the stars in what we colloquially call ‘the filly’s paddock. But Rae had a clinic to attend, pulling her from the group and into a separate space where she could quarantine upon her return, and Valentine found a home, leaving Nova without a herd.
But, as I said before, things never remain stagnant for long. We had intakes coming to SAFE who needed a place to land, which meant it was the perfect time to get a herd together – specifically, a mare herd.
Introducing horses is always a bit nerve wracking. As herd animals, they are born to work things out amongst themselves and establish a pecking order, but it certainly is difficult to remove the human emotion from the event. Our new mare herd would consist of 6 horses, all with different personalities and established roles in their own, smaller herds. There was bound to be a little drama. And there was, of course. Some kicks were aimed and some running was done, but everyone did, in the end, work it out, and we breathed a sigh of relief.
So – back to Nova. This herd, of which she is a part, includes:
her childhood friend, Rae, who she greeted with exuberance once they were re-introduced. Nova has always been the boss out of the two of them, and though she was clearly happy to see her friend, wasted no time in solidifying that dynamic between them.
Bijou, who Nova initially flocked to, the two of them getting into friendly spats over which hay box is the best one (“Oh you’re eating from there? Actually that’s the one I need to eat from!”).
Frosting, who despite being a youngster, has learned quite a bit about being the boss from Fancy, the herd’s current leader and Frosting’s long time friend. Frosting and Nova get along famously, and even though Frosting will pin her ears and Nova will squeal, the two have been seen snuggled up on multiple occasions.
These girls get up to daily shenanigans, mostly consisting of playing games of tag and making little plays for dominance. Other typical activities include rounds of ‘ring around the hay net’ and mid-day slumber parties.
Each morning at turn out, Nova gives a gleeful little buck as she runs off to join her friends at the haybox, encapsulating the way we all feel about watching a happy horse in a herd: yeehaw!
Training Update: Nova
Long-legged Nova will celebrate her 4th birthday this November. In the meantime, she has been working on her physique with some trot pole work. We think that Nova has it in her to really take on some fences one day, but for now, we will stick with cavalettis.
Nova is a tall drink of water. Or, perhaps a bit more appropriately, a tall drink of soda – something with bubbles, the kind that dance and pop above the glass, sparkly and effervescent. The word ‘coltish’ also springs to mind, certainly due to those long legs of hers, and the way it sometimes feels like she is still getting used to them. Not that she is ungainly, just that she possesses a looseness to her movements on occasion, much like a big puppy not yet done growing. And the comparison is apt – she is indeed a young thing still filling into herself.
For a while, she was getting turnout with Jill only – we rearranged the herd, and the two girls had a few weeks in a new paddock together. Even with a hay bag for each of them, they chose to eat together from one before moving to the next, Nova the taller of the pair often knocking alfalfa leaves into Jill’s mane.
Recently, however, they have been reunited with their old friend, Rae (in Nova’s case, the two of them were practically born together), and the trio have settled into their old routine of stretching their legs, napping in the sun, and testing the waters by moving each other around. They have also acquired some new fence neighbors – Pepper and Esme, who are quick to participate in the various dramas of teenage mares from the next paddock over, and Darla, who is a bit more aloof. With these fence introductions, the herd may be seeing an expansion soon, so stay tuned.
Nova, as a young, growing girl, has been given much of the winter off from work. Recently however, she’s taken some trips to the round pen again to reacquaint her with having her head in the game, so to speak. We worked on transitioning smoothly up and down through the gaits, as well as getting her ‘with me.’ Nova is a pretty mover, and although it takes her a moment, once she settles into a long trot or smooth canter, it is a pleasure to watch her. She requires lots of quick transitions to get her with you – leave her too long in one gait or another and you risk dulling her out. When sending a horse around, the goal is to make yourself as interesting as possible so they look to you for direction and connection. This is easier to accomplish with some horses, and Nova definitely challenges you to be a focal point. These transitions help to draw her attention and to keep it.
One of the biggest hurdles to overcome is maintaining her focus in a situation where it is being pulled elsewhere – most notably when she is separated from her friends. We have also added the joys of a young mare coming into season this year so the hormones are definitely in play now and an added element to working with her. In these scenarios, it is very difficult to draw her attention back from where it has been taken. The best way to go about doing so is by making the place where she wants to be – typically by the gate of the arena – more difficult, and the place where she does not want to be easy. This looks like: when she heads towards the spot she wants to be, making her “work” there, and then releasing all “work” once she turns towards the area she doesn’t want to be. “Make the wrong thing difficult and the right thing easy.” Easy in concept, harder to execute. Still, when she is ‘with you,’ working with Nova is a real joy.
As her training resumes in full this spring, it will be wonderful to continue to watch her grow (both physically and mentally), and I hope to have further opportunities to work with her.
Nova and Jill Are Besties
Nova and Jill are enjoying each other’s company this winter. We have changed up the mare herd dynamics a bit and added a few of the older mares to a herd. Jill and Barb just wouldn’t “play nice” so some adjustments were made. Nova and Jill are the best of buds and it is pretty cute given their size difference to see them side by side in everything they do. Winter is moving along and in March we will be restarting Nova. As a 3.5‑year-old by then, she will go on the “payroll” and start enjoying more riding and experiences as an equine riding partner. We are looking forward to showing this lovely mare to potential adopters in 2022!
Our Growing Nova
Nova has started wearing a saddle! So far, it has only been a half dozen times because she is very sensitive and has a hard time with things above her head. She can be a bit over-reactive, so we are taking it slowly and giving her time. We are helping her even out by getting balance in her feet to feel more confident and secure. This will result in more confidence with a saddle and eventually with a rider. Our current plan is to have her first rides in the upcoming Joel Conner clinic in June. Over the summer, we will work with her lightly to develop her riding experiences without overworking her due to her young age.
Nova is currently 15 hands tall with a lot of potential for more growth. In fact, she is growing so much, we have started giving her more grain to put some weight on. The staff has to stand and guard her “grain time” from the rest of the herd since she gets more than them. While she eats, she has a cute habit of picking up her right foot in the air and just holding it up while munching away. Sometimes she even creates a grain pan trail hauling it all around the paddock to keep the staff and volunteers on their toes. Nova is a growing into a gorgeous horse and is a friend to any new horse we add to her herd. We are excited to start her on the path to becoming a wonderful riding horse.
Nova, the Stunner
Nova is growing into a stunning young horse! She’s got legs for days and looks a lot like her mom. Nova is definitely lower on the filly totem pole than Pippi or Rae, but this little herd is all best of friends! When Jill joined the filly paddock, Nova was the only horse that welcomed her in, so Jill was attached to Nova at the hip for a while. Now though, if you look over toward the fillies, chances are you’ll see at least one random pair grooming each other, often you’ll see the whole herd of them piled up together! No filly ever drinks by herself, they go in at least sets of two to the water trough. It’s been so fun to watch them grow up and develop into their own little family.
Since Nova is now two years old, she’ll be entering our horsemanship program! More to come on this, stay tuned…
The Young Ladies at Play
Nova’s New Portrait
And Just Like That, They’re Yearlings!
It’s hard to believe that our three resident bundles of joy were born over a year ago! Nova, Rae, and Pippi have blossomed into beautiful young ladies, full of life and personality. We have enjoyed watching them grow and are looking forward to seeing what their futures hold. They’re leading well and standing patiently (usually) for their vet and farrier visits. They still have some “baby antics” that they use to try to see if they can get away with things, but they all seem very smart and figure things out quickly.
The trio are ready to fly the coop for now, and we’ll be sending them to foster soon where they can continue to grow up and learn how to be horses. Our current setup is not ideal with the number of volunteers we have that need to work around them in their pasture daily. The girls could gain bad habits from accidental reinforcement of pushy behavior, so we want to minimize that possibility. We have a foster home picked out and we just need to finalize a few things before sending them away to grow up.
It’ll be difficult to say goodbye, even though we know it’s only temporary. We’ve gotten used to being able to watch them grow up in our own backyard, so not seeing them every day will be a little sad at first. But it’s for the best, and we know they’ll enjoy their new place. Assuming all goes to plan, we’ll bring them back in about a year and a half to begin groundwork and working toward starting them under saddle.
The Babies are Growing Up!
It’s hard to believe how fast our little foals are growing up. It seems like just yesterday that they were trying to figure out how their legs work. Today they are three confident, adventurous, happy-go-lucky fillies who are ready to take on the world. And they’ve finally grown into those long legs.
All three babies have now finished their series of initial vaccines, had a few visits from the farrier, and know how to lead. They are enjoying being turned out in their large paddock 24/7, and they’re learning valuable lessons in equine behavior from their Aunt Renee and Aunt Angel. Renee teaches them boundaries and body language. Angel teaches them about kindness. And together, Angel and Renee teach lessons in herd dynamics and what it means to be a good friend.
We have enjoyed getting to know their little personalities. Each of them is an individual and very different from the other two. Pippi is the clear leader of the baby pack. She is the most confident of the three foals when it comes to exploring new things and meeting new horses. Renee is doing a good job of keeping her in line, as she does get a little pushy with the other horses. Pippi and Angel have become very close friends. You’ll often find the two of them snuggled up close and sharing a haynet.
Nova is darling. She’s tall and beautiful, just like her mom. She has a sweet, dainty personality and enjoys people, although she can be leery of new things at first. Out of the three babies she is the least self-assured and that’s how it’s been since the day she was born. But her confidence is growing. She’ll stand quietly to have her feet trimmed, she’s leading well, and she tolerates being dewormed (preferably if it’s followed by applesauce).
Rae is as cool as they come. She’s easygoing about everything, loves everyone, gets along great in a herd, and has a very laid back outlook on life. Nothing seems to bother her too much. She has her mother’s gentle nature and enjoys human interaction. It took Rae a while longer than the others to fully shed her baby fuzz, and for a while she was the “very cute but kind of goofy looking” one. But today she is a stunning, dark, shiny filly. She’s the smallest of the three, and we do not expect her to reach the same mature height as her 15.2hh dam.
Raising three foals has been a laborious, expensive journey, and it’s definitely not something we would have chosen to do if this situation hadn’t been handed to us already in the works. But these babies have been delightful additions, and we look forward to seeing what kinds of horses they grow up to be.
Three Weaned Babies
It took some work and a fair amount of brainstorming, but we weaned all three babies over the course of about a week and a half. First Nova, then Rae, and finally Pippi. Even though Pippi is two months older than Nova and Rae, we opted to wean her last based on herd dynamics, the personalities of all the mares involved, and space available. Each of the weanings was relatively uneventful, and the little amount of drama that accompanied each one was over within an hour or two (with Nova’s weaning there wasn’t much fuss at all). Pippi seemed to take it the hardest, but having her new buddies Rae and Nova there for comfort made a big difference. Nova seemed more upset about losing her aunt Mina than she was about being separate from her own mother.
The three fillies are now hanging out with matriarchs Angel and Renee. They’ll be learning lessons about how to be a horse from these ladies who have been there and done that. At some point in the near future we’ll send them to foster where they’ll be able to grow up in a quiet place with room to romp, and we’ll bring them back when they’re 2‑year olds to start introducing them to groundwork in preparation for becoming riding horses. For now, though, we are happy to have them right where they’re at because they’re a constant source of amusement. No doubt about it, though, raising babies is a lot of work!
It’s hard to believe that just over a month ago it was 13 degrees at Safe Harbor Stables, and this week the thermostat is hitting 80! The horses are enjoying it tremendously and taking every chance they can to sun bathe.
The downside to this beautiful weather is that horses still wearing their winter coats can dehydrate quickly when it’s hot outside. We’ve been keeping a close eye on ours to make sure they aren’t getting overheated. Provide access to fresh, clean water for your horses at all times–and monitor to make sure they’re actually drinking it.
Welcome, Spring! We’re all happy to see you.
Why are there foals at SAFE?
Why are there foals at SAFE right now? Because this year, we rescued three mares who were pregnant. We have not changed our stance against breeding, nor did we have anything whatsoever to do with the breeding of these mares.
One of the three mares, Asha, came from an Animal Control seizure in which she and another mare were removed from a situation of neglect and starvation. Her foal was born Sept 1, so she was likely bred in October 2017. This mare was seized by Animal Control on Jan 30, 2018 and was signed over to SAFE on April 15, 2018.
The other two mares, Luna and Mina, came from a large band of 21 horses (including 9 stallions) who were roaming free on a property that was foreclosed upon and resold. These mares gave birth on Nov 1 and Nov 3, which means they were bred in December 2017. We were brought in by Animal Control to help disperse this herd in April 2018. Because they were exposed to stallions, we had to assume that all the mares in the herd were pregnant when we took them, and this was confirmed by veterinarians after they were rescued.
Furthermore, whenever we intake a colt or stallion, that animal is gelded as soon as it is physically possible to do so, and usually before the horse even comes to our farm. The only intact stallion to ever set foot on our farm in Redmond was Valor. He was gelded on August 9, 2017.
So, to recap:
1) SAFE does not breed horses
2) SAFE does not keep intact colts or stallions
3) SAFE does, however, rescue pregnant mares
If you or anyone you know has questions about SAFE and the work we are doing, please ASK. We operate 100% in the public eye, so if there’s something you’re curious or concerned about, just ask. It’s that simple.
Now let’s get back to enjoying those beautiful babies!
Luna and Nova Get Outside
Two Healthy Fillies Born at SAFE
Exactly two months after the birth of Pippi, we welcomed two new lives into the world!
Mina delivered a lovely black filly on November 1, 2018 at 11pm. The diminutive little girl with no white markings was christened “Rae” in memory of our dear friend Raven. Rae is healthy and full of life, and momma Mina is taking wonderful care of her.
The very next night, Luna decided she was going to follow in her best friend’s footsteps and have her baby too. She waited until 2:30am to give birth to a tall strapping bay filly that has been named Nova. The delivery went well, and both mom and baby are healthy.
1. Sara E.
2. Lisabeth O.
3. Kim P.
4. Megan M.
5. Michael R.
6. Marin Y.
7. Gemma R.
8. Virginia G.
9. Julia P.
10. Michayla C.
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!