breed: 2008 palomino Saddlebred gelding
type of rescue: Animal Control seizure in 2008, reclaimed by SAFE in 2013
intake date: 2/23/2008
adoption date: 9/14/2008
date returned to SAFE: 10/7/2013
adoption date: 5/15/2016
total length of time with SAFE: 3 years

Status: ADOPTED by Lauren & Bryan E of North Bend WA

Phoenix was one of 17 horses rescued by SAFE in February 2008 as part of a large animal control seizure. When Phoenix was rescued, this youngster was nearly too sick to survive and had to be taken straight to Pilchuck Vet Hospital. After months of rehabilitation, he recovered from the neglect he suffered as a youngster. Phoenix was adopted as a yearling, and his adopter was responsible for starting him under saddle. In the fall of 2013, we became aware that Phoenix had been sold by his adopter when we found him advertised for sale again on Craigslist. Out of concern for his safety, we negotiated his return from his new owner, and he came back to SAFE. We discovered that Phoenix had sustained a suspensory injury at some point in his past, and put him on a rehabilitation plan starting with daily hand walking, then walking under saddle, then trotting. Phoenix was remarkably great for his rehabilitation, and after a full year of rehab, he became sound again. It took quite a while before the perfect person came along for Phoenix, but when it happened, it was a match meant to be. Phoenix was adopted by a wonderful couple who put him into training with Joel Conner to continue his education. Phoenix is a horse who is completely and totally adored by his family. In fact, they love Phoenix so much that they adopted a second horse from SAFE, King.

Alumni Update: Phoenix, King and Sinatra

Alumni Update: Phoenix, King and Sinatra 

SAFE friend and 3‑time adopter, Lauren, shared some recent photos of Phoenix, Sinatra and King.  The picture around the round pen looks like they are planning their next prank to play on the cattle!

Denton and Phoenix, a band of brothers! 

King, who is now known as Denton, was reunited with his good friend, Phoenix, when he returned to Joel Conner’s ranch after being adopted by Lauren and Bryan Engle!! The two are great friends, and their new parents ADORE them. Here is just a small sample of images stolen from Lauren’s Facebook page!!

Happy Birthday, Phoenix! 

Super cute photos from Phoenix and his family Lauren and Bryan. They celebrated Phoenix’s 9th birthday this past weekend and told Phoenix that he is going to be a big brother this fall when Lauren and Bryan welcome their little cowboy into the family. So great to have wonderful updates about this special boy. He has a great life and an all-star adoptive family! Thank you Lauren and Bryan for all the love you give to Phoenix and the support you have for all the SAFE horses awaiting adoption.

Here are a few other photos of Mr. P and his new life!

Adoption Photos: Phoenix 

Here are a few of the beautiful adoption photos of Phoenix, Lauren and Bryan. Thank you Jessica Farren for getting these special shots of Phoenix and his new family!

Dreams Do Come True: Phoenix’s Adoption! 

Lauren & Phoenix, photo by Jessica FarrenWe are delighted to announce the adoption of our big beautiful boy Phoenix. He has had a long journey and is truly a survivor! Maybe he just needed time to grow up or maybe was waiting for Lauren to find him. No matter what, this is a love story worth reading. 

For us to successfully place horses into forever homes, a lot of careful consideration and time goes into matching the right horse and adopter. As Adoption Coordinator, I have the important role of arranging these unions. Sometimes this is a hard job and other times things fall right into place. With all of them, we want what is best for both parties. After a failed adoption for Phoenix, I made a promise to him that SAFE would take care of him as long as we needed to until the right family was found. Today I am thrilled to say we did just that and found him a perfect family. He now has owners that would do just about anything to make sure he has what he needs and love him as much as he loves them.

We already miss our “overgrown golden retriever puppy,” his kind eyes, and hilarious antics but we all are happy knowing he is where he is meant to be. Lauren was kind enough to tell us about her story and finding Phoenix:

Hi Everyone!

Where do I start about my Phoenix? He has touched my heart in so many ways, and he is forever a part of our family. Anyone that knows me, not a second goes by that I don’t think about him. He has settled in amazing, loves his pasture and has great vets and trainers working with him. He rode in the river last week; he got 2 new saddles, gets endless treats from his Mom and Dad, and is loving life. 

I started riding horses when I was 9 years old, working at a stable for free lessons. I always had a love for them and rode for many years after that. I stopped when I went to college, but started back up again about 3 years ago because I was going through some medical stuff, and my amazing and supportive husband, said you should get back to the one hobby and passion that I love — and that is horses. Little did he know the cost involved. 

I got back into lessons, went to different stables to find the right fit, and leased an amazing horse. But always knew I wanted my own horse to grow with, and love forever. And that it would be a rescue horse no question. I am a believer in chances in life with people and also in animals. I have always had a huge heart for animals, and rescuing a horse was a dream since I was little.

I started following SAFE, rode in the Benefit show last year, and started following all the horses that SAFE had. I then found Phoenix, what is NOT to love about the handsome and loving man! His story was something that forever touched my heart, and I knew that people just overlooked him because he has some medical challenges he has been faced with. A lot of people I knew, kept saying don’t do it, he isn’t sound, and he will be a lot of maintenance, and why would you rescue a horse.

I followed my heart and knew he was the one for me, no question. I couldn’t stop thinking about him, checking for updates or new pictures. I was so in love with the guy and felt his energy. My husband agreed to come with me to meet him. Finally after 6 months of talking! 

I then reached out to the amazing Terry, filled out an application and told her my story. We met Phoenix the following weekend, and I was so happy, and couldn’t stop smiling. My husband could see the joy and the love in my heart for him, I then gave my phone to Terry and told her to take our first family pic and the rest is history. 

We absolutely love our Phoenix, and so blessed for SAFE, Terry and her amazing patience with me, everyone who volunteers – a big thank you, Lisa for meeting us early to pick up our guy, the process was amazing and so fun to be a part of. 

SAFE is an amazing place for horses and adoption, and we are so overjoyed to forever have a connection. And who knows, someday Phoenix might have another buddy! 

All the best,

Lauren, Bryan and Phoenix

New shoes for Phoenix! 

Looking cute for his ride with volunteer Anna

We had new shoes made for Phoenix and he is LOVING them! He is sound and moving great in them. David Barron and Gavin Cooper from Olympic Forge started trimming and shoeing horses for SAFE at the beginning of 2016. Phoenix has been struggling to find the right pair of shoes to help with his navicular syndrome. The shoes that Gavin made him seem to be making a big difference so far! Here’s more from his volunteer trainer and rider Jolene:

Phoenix has new shoes! And wow, does he feel good. He is lighter on his feet now, and you can really feel him thinking he can go the distance! The time off doesn’t seem to have had an effect on his memory. He is still light to most cues, just not as flexible in his body, which, is to be expected from his time off. Going forward, I will really be focusing on regulating his rhythm in all gaits, but especially in the trot. I have so much fun working with this goofy boy, and am really looking forward to getting him in shape for show season and finding him his forever home!

Phoenix: Health update 

To help understand Phoenix’s navicular diagnosis, we asked Dr. Devine from Pilchuck to write up a brief explanation of the diagnosis and treatment options. We are currently managing him with shoe that have a lift in the heels and he seems happy and is looking good.

To Whom it May Concern:

I first saw Phoenix in August 2015 for a lameness in the left front limb. The horse was a grade 2/5 lame in the left front, which means that the lameness was consistently evident in a circle.  A nerve block was performed and the pain was localized to the foot.  Radiographs showed navicular disease and a negative palmar angle to the coffin bone.  The negative palmar angle means that the coffin bone is tipped back within the foot and puts extra strain on the deep digital flexor tendon.  This condition can be helped with shoeing changes to help modify the angle of the foot.  The abnormalities that were seen in the navicular bone on radiographs showed sclerosis, or hardening of that bone.  Shoes that decrease pressure on the navicular bone were put on Phoenix and have helped him significantly.  Recently, he has been sound and he has started back to being ridden and getting into shape.

Navicular disease is a chronic, progressive and bilateral condition that typically affects the front limbs.  The navicular bone is a finger shaped bone in the back of the hoof capsule.  This disease causes permanent changes in that bone that can result in chronic pain.  Some horses with this condition are managed with shoeing changes and/or anti-inflammatories and can go back to being ridden.  Anti-inflammatories such as bute or firocoxib can be prescribed by a veterinarian on either a daily or as needed basis.  In other cases, the horses need local anti-inflammatory therapy in the form of coffin joint or navicular bursa injections.  This procedure is where steroids are injected into these areas to decrease pain and inflammation.  These injections can be safely done 1–2 times a year and this can keep some horses serviceably sound as well.  Another option for treatment is a class of drugs called bisphosphonates, such as Tildren and OsPhos, which are drugs that inhibit bone resorption.  These medications are administered by a veterinarian and can improve lameness in some cases.  For horses that are refractory to these therapies, there is a surgical procedure that can be done to cut the nerves that innervate the heel.  In a typical case, this surgery only helps for a few years and can have complications associated with it, so it is usually used only after other treatments have been tried.  Navicular disease is a very common problem and  even though it does not have a cure, it can be managed in a lot of cases.

Please do not hesitate to call or email me if you have questions about this condition or how it relates to your individual needs/expectations for Phoenix.


Liz Devine DVM, MS, DAVCS-LA
Pilchuck Veterinary Hospital


Health Update: Phoenix 

PhoenixWe are again working with our farrier to find the best shoe package to help Phoenix’s soundness. Last summer, Dr. Devine from Pilchuck did a big work up on our golden child which included x‑rays. The conclusion was that the root of his lameness is navicular syndrome. Navicular is somewhat manageable with shoes but the condition can also require injections or anti-inflammatory drugs. Currently we are trying to manage it with the right shoes but with some changes in farriers recently, that has been a bit challenging. Our new farrier, David Barron, will be seeing Phoenix next Tuesday. He has had a lot of experience working with special shoeing needs and we are hopeful he will offer a solution.

For each horse, it is our responsibility to make certain a potential new owner has all the information needed to make an educated and informed decision before they become that horse’s forever home. 

Given Phoenix’s health history, it is difficult to know what his future soundness will be. An interested party would need to accept that Phoenix will need support to be sound, and even that may not be enough to keep him going as a riding horse. There is a possibility he may never be a sound enough for a heavy riding and he will have both good and bad days. What’s hardest is that even with the help of a good veterinarian and farrier, at best, he might only stay sound part of the time. It is essential for him to be adopted to a home that is going to love him and keep him even if he’s not sound.

Phoenix is a very sweet boy who genuinely needs someone to love him regardless of his ability to be a riding horse. He is a great companion and does well with other horses in a small herd. At Safe Harbor Stables, Phoenix is known to everyone in the neighborhood as the horse who stands watch outside the barn and greets people as they go by. Our hope is that he can be enjoyed by someone no matter his ability to be ridden. He does like having a job and it would be nice if someone would want him for light riding, pleasure and maybe some liberty type work that would not require him to perform in a show arena.

Are you interested in giving this special horse a forever home? Please email with questions or fill out our adoption application online.

Wrap up from Joel Conner Clinic Dec. 12–13, 2015 

Great group of Volunteer Riders!

Great group of Volunteer Riders!

We had a great time hosting Joel again at Safe Harbor. The horses and volunteers had an amazing weekend and everyone progressed in their feel and training. Here are a few accounts from the volunteer participants about what they learned about the horses they were working with during the clinic:

Jolene D:Khianna- At the time of the clinic Khianna had a total of 4 or 5 rides on her since her return from foster. She was nervous, but did so well! She tries so hard. She is coming along nicely and I believe will develop into an incredible partner for someone.

Sara E: Jewel — Jewel was an all-star for the clinic, Claire has done such a great job with her. She felt flawless going from hind-end to front-end turns. I learned so much while riding her during the clinic. She is going to make someone a really great horse.

Sara E: Khianna — Did ground work with Khianna and at the beginning she was a nervous trotting mess, but Joel came over and helped me get her front feet moving and she calmed right down. She is so loving and tries so hard. Once she figures out you aren’t going to eat her, she just wants to please you and be loved on, I don’t know if I have ever worked with a horse that tries to give you 150% all the time.

Lisa G: Ben- I can’t say enough about how the horsemanship that Joel has helped bring to SAFE amazes me. I had Ben in all 4 sessions, GW and riding, and I was honestly just hoping I could get him to stay focused on me with all of the excitement, maybe get some nice serpentines down in the riding portion, and work on soft feel and stopping/moving forward off of the seat. Well.…. He did all of those things and SO MUCH MORE. Every exercise that Joel moved the participants through, beginning to advanced, Ben tried. And SUCCEEDED, at least on some level. I am so impressed with the effort this big guy puts into everything; as long as he understands that there are no consequences if he doesn’t understand, and he knows that I will wait for him to figure it out, I believe this horse would be willing to try anything under the sun. In the few days since the clinic, Ben had maintained a quiet, willing attitude, with TONS of deep, relaxed sighs, even during the riding work. SO proud of the progress he has made and so grateful that this work was brought to the SAFE horses.

Sara S: Khianna- I worked with Khianna for the first time doing GW on Saturday morning, and was so impressed by her “try”. She does get a little nervous about the rope and flag coming at her while moving (though not at all while standing still in the comfort of the “herd” (me)). I particularly enjoyed the backing exercises, and she was so in tune with my feet and body language it felt like we were dancing partners! She is such a sweet girl.

Sara S: Phoenix- I did GW and rode Phoenix on Saturday afternoon. He hadn’t been ridden in weeks, and it was raining on the tin roof, so he was extra “special” to start, but after just a bit of GW he calmed down and started paying attention to me. Riding, he was great. He’s getting very good at backing circles, front and hind yields (he’s so bendy!). Over the few months I’ve been working with Phoenix, I’ve noticed he tries very hard to anticipate what I want (if he’s in the mood), but as soon as I push too hard and/or he doesn’t understand what I’m asking, he shuts down. On Saturday, I didn’t feel him shut down at all which is probably a combination of both of us getting better at this!

And many thanks again to Joel and Terry for putting on such an inspiring clinic!!! I wish I could come out to SAFE every day, but I’m glad to be even a small part of this great community and cherish this opportunity!

Claire C: Mesquite- It was my first official time working with Mesquite, and I think we made some really good changes. He is super sensitive so it was interesting to experiment with him and see how much pressure he needed. I only did the groundwork session with him and it was fun learning to time up with his feet better.

Claire C: Phoenix- For the afternoon session, I rode Phoenix, who I have not done a whole lot with either. He was also good; we worked a lot on more forward motion and keeping him focused on what I was asking. We did lots of bending and yielding, which was so good for him. Overall, he did very well.

Casey A: Stella- I worked with Stella, who is turning out to be a great little horse. We worked on slowing down and developing balance on both the ground and under saddle. We were both so much lighter by the end of Sunday, and I know we got a big change in our partnership. She was so relaxed through the entire clinic, even when horses around her were nervous. She’s also pretty resilient and forgiving of my mistakes. She has taught me so much, and she is going to make someone really lucky!

Erika S: Maggie- I worked with Maggie for all 4 sessions, and she did fantastic! She’s such a smart, willing mare, and we connected early on. One idea that I heard this weekend was that eventually it will feel like your horse is reading your mind… Well, I’m here to tell you that that’s the truth! Maggie remained tuned in for everything we learned about, and worked in sync with me. It honestly helped me more than I think it helped her!

Ann A: Bridgit- Bridgit is a friendly girl and likes getting attention. She is a bit on the lazy side and I had some trouble getting the life up in her while doing circling exercises. She just wanted to come into the center and hang out with me. She made good progress under saddle in the afternoon sessions. She was learning how to pick up a soft feel at the walk by the end of the first day and we had some nice walk/trot transitions. She needs more work backing straight and in a circle both on the ground and under saddle. She also needs more work reaching with her front foot and disengaging her hindquarters under saddle. She felt much more balanced to me than she did when I rode her last summer.

Jane M: Oscar- As a relative novice to practicing Joel’s horsemanship skills, the greatest lesson I took away from GW and riding Oscar during this most recent Joel clinic is the impact GW has on riding. Yielding hindquarters, circling to achieve bend and balance, it all makes such a difference when aboard the horse. I’m able to apply lessons learned under Joel’s guidance to my regular riding lessons. It’s quite remarkable to me, and I look forward to Joel’s next visit and my next “aha” takeaway!

Phoenix shines in training! 

Phoenix Volunteer rider Jolene Duncan has been spending some quality time with Phoenix. When we talked about project horses Jolene could concentrate on, I was very happy she was willing to take on training with Phoenix. We both agreed that what this beautiful boy needed was a lot more consistency in his riding and training. With Jolene working him four times a week, her hard work is really paying off. The two are forming a great bond and as a result, Phoenix is moving forward in his work.

Here is a little about Phoenix in Jolene’s own words:

Phoenix has been feeling incredible the past couple weeks. His trot has been a big focus as his tendency is to become tense and move incorrectly in it. Usually when he is doing this, his head will come up (not unlike a giraffe) and then his back hollows. Lately, however, Phoenix has been letting go of this and really trying to move correctly and freely. When he does, it is a wonderful ride. He has worked really hard at being in tune with the rider’s seat and goes with the speed they ask. At the end of last week, he was feeling so good and so with the rider, we started experimenting with the beginnings of what will eventually be a flying change of lead. It is an interesting place for Phoenix though. You can watch him get frustrated as he searches for the answer but feels he can’t quite make the leap yet. He is a smooth ride, when guided with patience and understanding. Too much correction and Phoenix, who has such huge try, can shut down.”

Phoenix Beauty Shots 

Health Update: Phoenix 

Handsome Phoenix!

Handsome Phoenix!

We wanted let everyone know where things are currently with Phoenix’s health and lameness status. After trying a few different shoeing options over the last few months, some that helped but some that didn’t, we decided to ask Dr. Devine from Pilchuck come out to take a look at him. We were happy to find that the suspensory injury that he had sustained in early 2013 has healed and this recent lameness issue was not coming from the suspensory. We blocked Phoenix’s hoof and found the source of the pain was in his right front foot.

After X‑rays, he has been diagnosed with a negative palmar angle and has changes in his navicular bone. We have put him in wedge shoes to help and he is sound and feeling good in them. He is again being ridden on a regular basis. He will most likely always need this supportive shoe and as long as it is making him comfortable that will be all he needs. However, due to the changes in the navicular bone there is the possibility this will continue to cause inflammation and pain in his feet.

There are different levels of treatments that can be implemented to help his comfort should he need more support. Such things could include injections to help inflammation, yearly medication that has helped slow navicular disease and or giving him an anti-inflamatories drug like Bute or Previcox on the day he is to be ridden. He is currently going well with just the wedge shoes and no medications. Our hope is that the shoes continue to give him the comfort he needs.

He will be most suited for adoption to someone who will want light riding and does not have a desire to show extensively. In cases like this the future, as with all horses for that matter, is unknown but there is a higher chance that he could become to sore be ridden without support of injections or other anti-inflammatory and in the worst case need to be retired as a companion only horse. We would like to find him a family that would be willing to take this chance on him and would commit to keeping him if the need to retire him should occur. He has already had a few different owners and he deserves to find a family and a home that will give him unconditional love forever.

A Yellow Ribbon for our Golden Boy! 

Phoenix, along with his barn mates Karma and Bridgit, competed this weekend at the English/Western show at the Hollywood Hills Saddle Club! Phoenix brought home a yellow third place ribbon, and these lovely photos by Jessica Farren! Enjoy!

Photos: Phoenix Under Saddle 

New shoes for Phoenix 

A pair of new glue-on shoes have really helped Phoenix’s tender toes! And look how well-behaved he was for his hoof preparation! He knew that farrier Jake Cowden was not going to hurt him. He’s such a sweet and trusting horse. 

So far he seems to be a lot more comfortable in his new shoes! Our plan is to stay with the glue-on shoes for one more shoeing cycle to allow him to grow more heel and correct his angles, but after that we hope to be able to switch back to regular shoes, possibly with pads. We can’t say at this point if he’ll be able to return to barefoot at some point in the future, but for right now this is how we’re going to keep him comfortable for riding,

Speaking of riding, Phoenix has been looking quite handsome during his training rides lately. The volunteer riders use both Western and English tack, and he goes nicely either way. He’s getting much more balanced, and can hold himself for longer amounts of time without getting “wiggly” the way he was during his rehab. He’s also been getting an extended amount of time in a larger turnout area, and that has greatly helped him be more focused during work. He is relaxed and seems to be enjoying the time in the arena. We’re hoping we can find a quiet friend to turn him out again with over the next few weeks. 

Phoenix under saddle 

Phoenix had the opportunity recently to don the western tack and enjoy a ride with new volunteer rider, Jolene. Doesn’t he look handsome?

Training Update: Phoenix 

Phoenix was introduced to small paddock turnout this month — he really enjoyed the change of scenery and spending time next to other horses. We are working him up to longer amounts of sustained trot. Currently he is doing 1–3 laps of trot with a few long sides of canter. This month, we will begin to add large circles to his workout. Everything continues to go well for his rehab. Once we are circling comfortably, Phoenix will have completed his rehab and be suitable for normal riding routines. 

Good News about Phoenix! 

phoenix_01_19_2015_sqWe are excited as to how well Phoenix’s recovery has progressed! We are now riding him daily for about 45 mins of walk and trot work along straight lines, and he has remained sound through it all! Our next steps include introducing turnout in a small pasture; trotting around the entire arena (up to 1–3 laps with walk breaks); cantering along straight lines, and in 3–4 weeks, large circles! After that Phoenix’s rehabilitation will be considered complete. Based on how well he is going, all signs indicate he will make a full recovery.

Phoenix is currently ready for adoption to an adopter who will finish his rehab and continue his training. Phoenix is a playful and sweet boy but he needs an intermediate rider who can help him focus and gain a steady, consistent self carriage. Phoenix tends to be a little lazy and needs encouragement to keep a forward walk. Like many young horses, he needs a rider who can be his leader and help direct him under saddle with positive reinforcement. He gets along great with other horses and we are hoping to re-introduce him to group turnout this summer as we work him up to larger turnout spaces.

Here are more photos of Phoenix working under saddle with Erika and Terry:

Phoenix in Rehab: Happy Update! 

phoenix_10_25_2014We had Dr. Krauter out last week to check on his progress with his front left suspensory rehab. She flexed him and he trotted clean!! His rehab has been progressing over the past 3 months, and he’s up to 10 minutes of trot per session. With this “all-clear” flexing, we can now add another 5 minutes of trot every week until he’s back to a full normal work load. This is very good news so we’d love to start talking to potential adopters about a forever home for this handsome boy!

October Training Report 



Phoenix had a hard month concentrating under saddle. He continues to look sound on the front but does come out of his stall pretty stiff both in the front and hind. He had quite a few naughty days this month mostly due to work, noise, and activity at the barn that made him anxious. He’s up to 10 min of trot per workout now and should be adding 5 more minutes per week after that. He has also been working on trailer loading and has carefully made his way all the way into the trailer a few times! 

Lola has had a very good month. She went out on a trail ride to the watershed with Skye. She was initially reluctant to lead the way and about an hour into the ride I felt she was ready. We moved into sharing the lead with Skye and then as she gained her confidence we took the lead. She was a great girl and led the rest of the way home! She trotted and cantered in the lead, was easy to bring back down and was not afraid by even a bicyclist who came around a bend. This girl has come a long way this year. She is ready for a great forever home who wants a fun mare to enjoy both arena and trail work! 

Cameo was a great girl all month. We are trying her on a magnesium supplement to help with muscle discomfort and calmness. After about 2 weeks on the product, I could see a change in her attitude. It may not be something she needs forever but it seems to be helping take some of the edge off and helping her focus. She still takes a few minutes to smooth out when I initially get on but once she does, she has a very nice trot and a lovely canter. She still has a hard time picking up the correct lead on the right. Without a rider, she has no problem picking it up, but under a rider, she gets off balance and falls over the right shoulder. We are working on keeping her balance and this should get easier. Our goal with Cameo for October is to get her more relaxed about trailer loading so that we can take her out somewhere like Bridle Trails for an easy trail ride.

Skye has been really working hard to change her work ethic and she is making steady progress. When she came home from training, she still had quite an objection about going forward under saddle, but it’s hard to say if that was due to lack of fitness or some sort of mental block. But with improved athletic conditioning, her willingness to go forward has improved considerably. Plus she’s lost some weight as well as more time miles under saddle.

It is important that this big girl has a relationship where she understands clearly what is being asked of her and learns to answer requests with respect. Over time, she’s come to realize that she’s pretty big, and she holds herself in pretty high regard. I like the confidence in her personality but she needs to also listen to her rider. In the herd, during turnout, she is quietly bossy and typically pushes through whatever’s in her way to get to where she wants to go. But she is learning that with humans she can’t get big and pushy. Her ground manners are greatly improved and her willingness to load and unload calmly from the trailer is much better. She still needs some practice getting out of the trailer slowly but it’s getting better every time. Skye went on three trail rides last week, and was a very good girl. I think she has found her calling, out in the woods as a trail horse. She looked very happy to be out of the arena and outside in the open air. 



Skittles continues to be a gem in every possible way. We have had her on a glucosamine supplement for 30days. She is looking and moving well but continues to experience weakness on the right hind. While it doesn’t seem to give her a tremendous amount of pain but it is evident that she has trouble bringing it completely through and motion in the stifle maybe limited. Her canter leads are improving and she is able to pick up that difficult right lead correctly but still makes some mistakes. 

Emmy is as sweet as ever! She is easy to groom and handle and likes other horses but doesn’t squeal or get overly excited. I have been sitting on her, getting her used to leg pressure and light guiding reins. We have trotted on the lunge line and she is getting more responsive to my seat and leg. She still does not like pressure on the reins but she is accepting it more each ride. After her recent visit with the chiropractor, her ability to turn to the left was greatly improved and she seems to be less uncomfortable when turn her head to the left. She does have a slight head wag in the trot when she is at liberty as well as on the line. Nothing too troublesome, just something to note that may go away as she gets more balance and strength. Her canter to the left needs a lot more balance, she goes into “motorcycle mare”…dropping her inside shoulder and losing her hind end out behind her. These are all things that will improve with more balance work. 

Hay from the Bin 

Phoenix thinks hay from the bin tastes better then hay in a bag or on the ground!

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.

Great news about Phoenix! 

Handsome Phoenix — lovingly referred to by his friends at SAFE as our overgrown golden retriever puppy — is staying sound and happy in his rehab. As you know, he was diagnosed with a left front high suspensory tear in January. As far as we could put together, this injury was quite old so any acute treatments would not be very helpful. Upon consultation with Dr Lisa Krauter from Pilchuck Hospital, we began a 6 month walking rehab plan. We worked up to 45 mins of walk under saddle and after 6 months we trotted him and found him to look very good and sound. The next part of the rehab was an additional easy 3 months of walk, gradual working him up to 10 minutes of trot, and a slightly bigger run off his stall to move around.

We have started adding strengthening exercises in the walk including some shoulder fore, halts, and rein backs, as well as active and collected walk. He is also doing some light work over trot poles during his exercising rides. He is up to 5 minutes of trot and we will be adding 1 minute each week this month. He has just a little over one month left until we begin adding 5 minutes of trot every week. Some days, like Friday garbage day or the 4th of July, it’s harder to keep Phoenix’s excitement contained but overall he has been able to handle his time off with good behavior for such a young gelding. We are very happy that he is sound and very well behaved for his riders.

Here’s Phoenix working under saddle with Lisa. Doesn’t he look great?


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.

Phoenix in Rehab 

phoenix_04_07_2014_01Here’s volunteer Stephanie riding Phoenix during his rehab session yesterday at Safe Harbor! As of this week, Phoenix is now being walked up to 30 minutes per day. Happily he’s being a wonderfully well behaved gentleman for his rehab…not to mention stunningly gorgeous! Keep it up, Phoenix!!

April Training Notes: Phoenix 

Phoenix’s rehab is going well. We’ve re-introduced walking under saddle. He is up to 20 mins of riding, continuing some hand walking up to 30 without rider. Increasing both by 5 mins gradually over each the week until we reach 45–60 mins then continue with that duration until June when we can trot and see if he is sound. He is generally well behaved but has moments of excitement some days when hand walking. But overall he has been very good under saddle with minimal refusal to walk forward. Trailer loading practice is still being introduced but we are not forcing the issue of getting in, since we don’t want him to injure himself by acting up.

Trailer Training with Phoenix 

Getting Phoenix loaded into a trailer for the trip back to SAFE last fall was an experience that many of us shudder to remember. So now that we have the ability to safely secure the SAFE trailer in our outdoor arena, many of the horses are getting trailer training as part of their ground work curriculum. Phoenix is being taught to rethink his strong stance against loading with the help of short, positive sessions that end on a good note, in hopes that when the time comes that he really truly has to get into a trailer, it won’t be a big deal. Trailer loading is just one of the many skills that we’d like to see all of our horses master. It’s all part of responsible rescue, giving each of our horses what they need to get and keep a good home for life.

Meet “Trigger,” Roy Rogers’ famous steed! 

Just kidding, it’s Phoenix. All the SAFE horses dressed up to celebrate Halloween at the Open House on October 27, and Phoenix’s costume was pretty easy… Here he is in all his palomino glory:

Phoenix is doing well at SAFE Harbor Stables…he was a tiny bit sassy when he first arrived, but he’s a smart boy who learns pretty quick what is expected of him. He’s quickly become a barn favorite for his puppy-dog personality and his glamorous looks.

He was scheduled for a riding evaluation this week with Brittney, and after she managed to convince him that the saddle was not going to eat him, she started him on the lunge and discovered that he was lame on his left front. He had just been trimmed the day before, so it could be footsoreness, but we shall have to wait and see. He’s sound at the walk, but currently pretty lame at the trot.

Return of the Golden Child 

Phoenix has returned to our herd at SAFE Harbor Stables. He is healthy, happy, and looking terrific. 

Why is Phoenix back at SAFE? As you may remember, he was adopted back in 2008, about seven months after he was rescued. We kept in contact with his adopter, did follow up visits, and everything seemed to be going well for him. His adopter had him started under saddle, and he proved to be very easy to start, and surprisingly well behaved and mellow with a rider on his back. He was ridden in the arena and on the trails.

Earlier this year, we were contacted by his adopter, who said she could no longer afford to keep him. We were making plans to help list him for rehoming, and we even had a volunteer standing by who was willing to work with him and get him ready to be sold. But before any of that could happen, we got word that he had been sold, and was no longer at the boarding facility where we had last seen him. All of our attempts to contact the adopter and find out where he had gone failed…calls and emails were not returned. Phoenix was gone, and we had no idea where he was.

Phoenix_10_09_2013_03A few weeks ago, Phoenix turned up for sale on Craiglist. I immediately got in touch with the seller, and let her know that he was a former SAFE horse and that we were interested in getting him back. The seller very graciously offered to give him back to SAFE. She told me that she had purchased Phoenix in July, but because she had just found out she was expecting, she did not have the time to continue to work with him and had decided to sell. She had also attempted to contact his adopter, who told her she would take him back if things didn’t work out, but was unable to reach her. She was more than happy to see him return to SAFE, and we are very grateful to her for her generosity and willingness to work with us.

Why did we take Phoenix back? Seeing that Phoenix was up for sale for the second time in less than a year had a lot to do with it. He’s a young horse, he’s an extremely good looking horse, and he is a pretty big horse too. He may be great under saddle, but his ground manners are pretty awful. It took us three separate attempts to load him into a trailer, and the final attempt took well over two hours. Phoenix has some serious gaps in his education, and unless he gets the training he needs, he is in danger of becoming a very big problem for someone. Because SAFE rescued him when he was 7 months old, we feel responsible for him, and we want to see him end up in a good home that will last, preferably for the rest of his life. So rather than leave that to chance, we have elected to once again take responsibility for him in order to get him back on the right track.

On the positive side…and there are many positives here…Phoenix is a lovely horse. He’s very sweet, he’s stunning to look at, and unlike his little brother Sinatra, he grew up into one hunk of a horse! He’s tall, about 16hh, with a nice wide back, and a good sturdy frame. He’s a fancy mover, and we will soon find out if the rumors are true about him being an excellent riding horse. We will work hard to get him straightened out on the ground, teach him to load into a trailer, and then see what we have. It’s pretty likely that we will have one pretty terrific horse to offer for adoption!

Phoenix and Brittney working together in preparation to load:

We’ve rebuild Phoenix’s thread from the old SAFE board, so there are lots of photos and videos here for you to enjoy! Click here to visit Phoenix’s thread!

Update from Phoenix’s adopter 

Phoenix is having a great summer — I think he gets better looking all the time. Now that he has lost his winter coat entirely he looks darker than I remember last summer. Kind of reminds me of Kokomo.

I am having some pictures taken of us working together next month — in the meantime, here are some shots of Phoenix enjoying sunset.

photos by Karen Wegehenkel

Update on Phoenix from his adopter 

I have been very remiss in posting pictures of Phoenix — I am a horrible photographer!!! :( So with the cherry blossoms in bloom at Edensgate, I hired someone to take pictures of my beautiful boy. He hasn’t completely shedded out yet but I didn’t want to miss the cherry blossoms.

Phoenix had a check-up with Dr. Hannah a week ago and he is awesome.

Prepare to be inundated with Phoenix:


Horsebytes Blog: Pasture Peerage

From Phoenix’s adopter:

Thanks so much Monica for chronicling Phoenix’s assimilation into his new herd. I have to say that they have been much kinder to him than at the last place — I don’t see any evidence of “physical reminders” of his place :)

Isn’t he growing??? He is starting to look more like a horse everyday and less like a baby — he is adorable although filthy. I brush him all the time, but it won’t be until next spring that he will probably stay cleaner. The joy of light colored horses!



October 2008 Phoenix Updates from his adopter 

October 2, 2008

So Phoenix has a new teacher!!! [name removed] will be Phoenix’s trainer — we all met last night and — like everyone else — [name removed]  thinks Phoenix is the cutest thing :) [name removed]  has a degree in Equine Science and a National title to boot! She will be a great source of information on diet, exercise, and everything “horsey”

She is going to be working with him 2–3 days per week — I will be there for at least one session each week. Can’t wait to get started!!!!!!!!!!!!!

October 11, 2008

Well, I have been having a heck of a time with finding trainers who didn’t back out at the last minute. After 3, I sort of gave up. Also, I was concerned that Phoenix didn’t have quite enough turnout time at his new home. I go and see him every evening and take him out for at least an hour but still feel bad. So, I have decided to move him back to Monroe — Edens Gate!!!!! I really like Julie’s place and feel that is where I want my baby to grow up. Plus, she can help me work with him. The only downside is I will only see him 3–4 times per week now, but I believe this is the best thing for him.

He will be moving out to Julie’s in mid-November — and hang out with the SAFE crowd there — Hope, Annie, Willow, Whiskey, and Cedar.

October 27, 2008

I couldn’t wait any longer so yesterday Julie and I moved Phoenix to Edensgate!!!!!! He loaded fairly easily and hauled great. I spent some time with him introducing him to his new home and tucked him in his new stall safe for the night before leaving.

Today is his first time out with the new herd — have to say that upon our arrival the resident boys were very excited to see the new “kid” — so we walked over and met them. They were very sweet, no squealing like at the last place — I told Phoenix that he was going to be with some nice guys. I am sure he will be fine although I am going through withdrawals now that I won’t see him every day.

Update from Phoenix’s new adopter 

Update from Phoenix’s new adopter:

So, here is the first of what will be MANY updates :)

After Jaime and I got him settled in his new paddock yesterday I left and got his grain and put together packages for the boarding facility to feed him. When I came back, he was still out grazing so I took him out of the paddock and let him hand graze for about 30 minutes and then we walked the fenceline of his new pasture so he could meet the “herd”. They were all very nice to him, nickering and a lot of “getting to know you” sniffs — I think he is going to be fine with them.

When I took him into the stall, he was a little nervous so I stayed with him in the stall while he ate and we watched the sun go down together ‑and THAT is priceless!!!!

I love him to death, and will see him everyday. I will definitely send lots of photos so everyone can have a “Phoenix fix”

Thanks SAFE for helping me to find the pony of my dreams!!!!!!!!!!!

Phoenix Adoption Annoucement 

Congratulations to Bernadette Ziegler on her adoption of Phoenix!! Bernie fell in love with Phoenix the last couple of months while she has been volunteering out at the farm, and finally decided to adopt him. He will be boarded at a facility in nearby Clearview, so he won’t be going too far away, thankfully, as I will miss him terribly.

He was a superstar today with trailering and arriving at his new place. I had Allison come and babysit Sinatra as I was very worried about the “weaning” of the two of them, but it turned out to be not too big of a deal. The gods were smiling on us, because just in the past week or two Sinatra has been spending more time hanging out with Bennie, and often you would even see Sinatra and Phoenix grazing on complete opposite ends of the pasture. So Sinatra called to his friend but it was not the horrible dramatic event we all feared. Phoenix hesitated a little bit about getting in the trailer but then walked right in, hauled great, and was completely calm on arriving at his new home. He met the horses in the paddocks next to him, both geldings who were very sweet to him, and then settled down to graze. When I left him he looked completely at peace.

So the last of our palomino babies has gone to his new home… <sniff, sniff>

I know Bernie (horsecrazy) will keep us posted on how Phoenix is doing though, and he got a wonderful home!

Gelding Day for Phoenix and Sinatra 

Today was the day that Phoenix and Sinatra were turned into happy geldings. The procedure was done in the front pasture by Dr Hannah.


Update 7/23/2008:
Phoenix was rechecked yesterday by Dr. Hannah and is doing well. He has had quite a bit more swelling than Sinatra (due to him being a little more…*cough*…well-endowed), but nothing to be concerned about at this point and still a normal amount of swelling. If it gets worse he may need to have his incision opened a bit where it has already closed over so it can drain, but more than likely the swelling will gradually go down on its own.

Phoenix and Sinatra June 2008 

A few photos of Phoenix and Sinatra enjoying their huge new pasture:


Sinatra and Phoenix from May-June 2008 

May 21 2008

Not exactly a glamour shot, but here here’s Sinatra and Phoenix — I call this shot “Bonnie’s Groupies.” Sinatra is so laid back compared to Phoenix, who is Bart Simpson personified. Or is that horseified?

Good morning, whatcha got?

June 12 2008

Mike managed to grab the camera and a photo of the boys playing rough (as boys do!) a couple of weeks ago.

June 16 2008
Some lovely photos of the two boys by Leah Anderson


photo by Leah Anderson

photo by Leah Anderson


photo by Leah Anderson

photo by Leah Anderson


Horsebytes Blog by Monica Bretherton: Photo Assistant

A gray new day is dawning…. And I’m not done with yesterday yet. But here are some pictures.

Maid duty at SAFE is, well, a little repetitive, so when there’s a chance to accomplish two things at once, like picking Phoenix and Sinatra’s paddock and taking some “after” pictures of them, I seize it.

First things first – the old hay spread around from their “free choice” piles needs to be removed before it smothers the grass. This causes some concern from the boys – why am I taking away perfectly good food?


Having summoned them over, I use the moment to clip up Phoenix. With the two of them being joined at the hip, it is a challenge to get individual pictures. So leadline pictures seem the most likely to succeed.

Besides, I don’t want Phoenix running around. His back leg is wrapped because of some swelling in his hock, which although it does not affect his movement, is an indicator of a probable sprain. The swelling shouldn’t be left uncontrolled, because it can cause tissue damage, but neither should he be standing in a stall – moderate exercise is good.


By now Phoenix is used to the camera – and as his shaggy Yak coat disappears, I think he’ll be seeing it even more. There are limitations, though, on what you can do with a short leadrope and a horse who hasn’t learned any refined cues yet.


When Sinatra’s turn comes and I try to get close on those baby blue eyes…


I risked one shot of that last pose. I don’t want to see whether Phoenix has learned about leading by watching as well – it wouldn’t surprise me! Once unclipped, of course they have to sort out who is REALLY the boss. So much for worrying about Phoenix’s hock.


As I finish up, Val arrives to hose Phoenix and change his bandage. Boy, is she glad to see me there. She’s been doing the bandage change in the stall, with Sinatra there – the only way to keep Phoenix calm. Trouble is, Sinatra thinks he should get some attention too, and tugs on Val’s clothing and has even nipped her derriere. It’s tough to do much to stop that when you are trying to maintain perfect tension on your wrap job.

That is a sign they are growing up fast. Colts in particular like to grab and touch with their mouths – like the rearing, it is practice stallion behavior. While mouthiness is considered a negative in a horse, if you are trying to trick-train it, it can be useful!

Monica Bretherton

Phoenix Photos and Hock Swelling 

Phoenix is doing great! The main concern with him right now is a little bit of a swollen left hind hock that I am keeping an eye on. I think he probably overexerted himself somehow. Other than that, he is doing really well and I took tons of hair off him yesterday. I need to change his name to Phoenix the Photogenic, because he takes GREAT photos!


Update May 1, 2008:
Poor little Phoenix. Hannah came out today to check on his still very swollen right hind hock. He was off on it but not terribly lame, but it is very distended and full of fluid. Hannah thinks he probably twisted it, but to be on the safe side she wanted to get the inflammation down which can lead to long-term arthitic issues, so she sedated him, injected the hock and drained some of the fluid out, and then injected hyaluronic acid, a small amount of steriod, and some antibiotics into the joint. She then rubbed Surpass (topical bute) over the joint and put a pressure wrap on to try and get the inflammation down. He needs to have it iced/cold hosed a couple of times a day and have the Surpass applied, for a week. Hopefully he will be ok!

Update: May 3 2008:
On Wednesday the boys were playing a lot — rearing and running around. Phoenix seemed to be the dominant one, and was doing lots of stalliony things like biting at Sinatra’s hocks. Sinatra was trying to move him off by kicking. Perhaps he connected or it was just a twist from the extreme exercise. They have stepped up their game quite a bit. When they were both rearing up it was pretty impressive! I ran to get the camera but of course things were relatively calm by the time I got there. There was still lots of challenging/dominance play that went on for about twenty minutes.

They were quiet on Friday, just walking up when I went in to fill their water and asking for scratches (well, Sinatra asks, Phoenix then doesn’t want to be left out, so he tolerates). I remember the day that Jaime told me touch his back and my hand sank down an inch and a half on either side of his spine. Now they have flesh there. Their haunches, too, are beginning to develop just a hint of roundness.

While I was wishing for them to have the big pasture next door to really let loose in, maybe its good that they don’t.… Young horses need to move and play to develop their bodies — it is always hard to keep the balance between wanting them to move and not wanting them to get hurt. Their own judgement is notoriously unreliable!

May 3, 2008:
Unfortunately, his hock doesn’t look better yet, in fact it looks worse. Monica, this is something he did at least a week ago. We noticed it a week from yesterday. Hannah doesn’t think he was kicked, she thinks he twisted it, but it could be.

My instructions from Hannah were to cold hose or ice the leg twice a day and put Surpass on it at least once a day, and keep it wrapped. Well, easier said than done. Phoenix is still very skittish and trying to do this by myself has proved nearly impossible. I did get the wrap that Hannah put on off (by cornering Phoenix in the stall, with him shaking the entire time), and put Surpass on it yesterday, but that’s as far as I got without help. By the evening, without the wrap, his hock had swelled even more and now his lower leg is swollen as well. Allison is coming today so hopefully she can help me with it. Hannah wants me to keep it bandaged as well but without help and now that I am working again it is just not possible. I need help…Valerie?

May 6 2008:
We are not so much concerned about the swelling in the lower leg. This has mostly gone away after the first day and seemed to be a result of the pressure bandage the vet put on the hock area. The rest of the swelling is in the joint capsule itself and it is likely his left hock joint will always be somewhat distended. The vet looked at it yesterday and we are to continue with the cold hosing, wrapping and topical Surpass. In a week if it hasn’t improved we will need to have xrays taken. He is off on it but not seriously lame. Cold hosing yesterday was a battle, we tried tying him to a post outside my arena to see how he would tolerate that so that it can be a one-person job, but that resulted of him trying to jump into my arena and breaking one of the fence boards. However, Valerie was able to cold hose him more successfully today.


Phoenix Antics 

I went to Jaime’s today to turn the boys out since it looked like we were going to get a break from the rain. It has been SOP to lead them both at the same time, and this has not been a problem, but alas I think those days are coming to an end. No sooner did we get out of the stall all together, then Phoenix began nipping and biting and pushing Sinatra around all the way to the pasture. He was totally into play time before we even made it to the play area. So after doing a few pirouettes of my own to separate them until we got in the gate, I let them go and all I can say is — Mr. Sinatra was looking completely exasperated!

Phoenix is all over him like white on rice. Biting, jumping, pushing — all the games that boys do. Mr. Sinatra did manage to get off one half hearted kick and off to the races they went.

Could this be the very same Phoenix who knocked on death’s door so many times? That had to be lifted so many times from the ground because he could not rise? That became so depressed and cold that we were so afraid he would be still in the morning? We all breathed every breath with him and now he is strong.

He has risen from the ashes.

And soon, he will have to be led all by himself. Thank you God for making him a handful. (And thank you SAFE for saving his life)


Yes, this new game has been going on for the last week or so. The week before that, it was SINATRA doing all the play-instigating and butt-biting (see the video clip I posted on Sinatra’s thread). Now it is the total opposite, and Phoenix is driving Sinatra crazy.

Phoenix also has developed a new trick, which is he stands quietly for me to unsnap his lead, and then tries to BITE me and run away! He’s tried it three or four times now, but I am always faster than he is and my reflexes with nipping horses are fast, so he gets a smack right back on the nose for that little prank! Now I can see the wheels turning when I go to unclip him, trying to decide if its worth trying or not. It is the ONLY time he has tried nipping, but he always does it at the same time. I think its all just him wanting to play and feeling good, but he has to learn good play and not so good play (Sinatra agrees!).

Sinatra Update from Apr 2 2008 

Here’s a few photos from our snow day on Sunday. The boys (Sinatra and Phoenix, who are now inseperable) went out in the arena for turnout and had some fun! I actually have some video clips of them playing a bit but will have to upload those later. Here are a few pictures:

Phoenix lays down to roll in the snow while Sinatra just wants to taste it:

Phoenix Update 

Phoenix is doing great and is actually the stronger one compared to Sinatra. It has been over 2 weeks since he has needed help up now. Both are done with their ulcer medication today. Phoenix is still a bit more shy then Sinatra and pretty sure he doesn’t want to be caught, which isn’t a big deal when it is time to go out from his stall but when he has to come in at night he can be a pill. Last night I just gave up trying to catch him with Sinatra and took Sinatra in without him and went back to get him. Boy, are those two ever bonded! Phoenix was screaming and running back and forth, so I would say he is feeling better! Eventually he figured out though that if he wanted back with his “brother” then he would have to let me catch him. Silly boy!

Sinatra & Phoenix Update from Mar 13 2008 

Sinatra is doing very well…much improved. All the horses got wormed yesterday, full dose this time. Both he and Phoenix had a good day yesterday and today, and seem a lot perkier. Crossing fingers this time it stays that way!

Update from Monica Bretherton:

Cute pictures of Sinatra, Phoenix & Kokomo today:

Backstory on the photo op: A canine quintet was putting on a concert — actually, more like a shout-down — and the boys huddled for safety. I dropped the manure fork and ran for the camera… They were already relaxing by the time I got there and soon were scattered over the pasture again.

Phoenix Update 

Phoenix’s bloodwork showed him as still a little anemic and protein levels a little low, but this morning he was down but got up by himself this morning. He wasn’t thrilled with his grain last night but this morning I tried it without any grass hay pellets in it and he seemed to like it better. He is also getting a little bit of alfalfa every feeding as he eats that better than the grass hay and we need to get some nutrition in him.

A Visit with Phoenix 

Phoenix continues to improve every day, and is becoming a bright, curious and loving foal who thankfully now only seems to be lying down when he takes a snooze. He is maintaining a normal body temperature now too. He loves attention…he nickers when he sees you coming towards his stall and he enjoys the praise and petting he gets as he sticks his little head over the door. When you see this little guy, and look into his big eyes, you cannot help but breathe a sigh of relief that he is recovering, because had he not, there would have been a long string of broken hearts left behind. He is that special. Everyone loves him.

He is a good boy who submits to his three-times-a-day administration of yucky medicine as best he can. He enjoys a half hour a day of grazing with his two friends, Sinatra and Kokomo, and while he’d be happy to stay out a little longer, he is easy to catch and lead back into his stall. In his mane and his fluffy white fur are bits of fresh shavings from his deeply bedded stall; Jaime and her faithful volunteers keep his stall immaculate and comfortable at all times. He is fed small piles of hay continuously over the course of the day. He wears two blankets to keep him warm. Rest assured that Phoenix could not be cared for any more carefully, lovingly and diligently that he is being cared for now. 



Looking at him, it is unfathomable that anyone could have neglected a foal to the extent he was neglect. Human beings, like most mammals, are wired to nurture and protect babies when we are faced with them…and yet somehow…he ended up on the brink of death due to the inaction of the person responsible for bringing him into the world…we ALL need to work together to make sure that things like this stop happening. Now.

An enormous thank you goes out to REDMOND!, who is there every morning at 8am to clean the stalls and paddocks of these mares & foals. Her help has been invaluable and crucial during this time. Which should come as no surprise to any of us.…she is always the one who can be counted on to jump in and help whenever help is needed. So take a moment to say thank you to her…hey, send her a PM…she loves PMs! ;D

And what can I say about Jaime that would make you all understand what she is going through to help these poor horses recover? Three times a day she grinds pills, mixes up syringes, and patiently goes out to gently catch each one of the foals, and squirt the yucky mixture down their squirming little throats. That is tricky enough for the three foals that are in stalls, but little Lily who lives in the small pasture with her mother, has medicine to be administered twice a day, and she isn’t so eager to be caught either. Jaime kneels down and coaxes her over to her with a soothing voice and a handful of hay, and when Lily gets close enough.…no, she doesn’t reach out and grab her!…she gently snaps the leadrope onto her halter and Lily never even seems to notice she’s been caught. A quick squirt of medicine and the little girl is free again. And Jaime does this even when she’s in a hurry. She may be running full tilt to get everything done, but the horses would never know it. She’s patient, gentle and encouraging with each and every one of them. And they adore her. 

She also administers eye ointment to Kokomo three times a day (which is not easy to do to any horse, least of all a squirmy baby. Because of Hope’s diarrhea, Jaime mixes up four syringes of Miracle Clay…twice a day…and feeds that to Hope…let’s just say that her parka she wears out to the barn looks as if she’s been mud wrestling in it…it’s a messy messy job! But again, there is no impatience, no frustration, just calm encouragement for the poor mare who has to swallow all this stuff, and hearty congratulations and praise for her when she’s done.

On top of all of this, there are multiple small feedings per day. There is dusting for lice and rainrot treatment to be done. This week they will start carefully worming the horses, and that will mean constant vigilance for signs of colic. Work starts this week on the horse’s badly overgrown feet, so she will be there holding them for the farrier, trying to keep these relatively unhandled horses still while the farrier works. The there are her own horses, who are regulated to a safe corner of her property while the new ones are in quarantine, but still need to be fed, watered and cleaned up after. The looks they give her — when she is unable to even touch them for fear of infecting them — make her feel terribly guilty. And when all the outdoor work is done, she comes inside to face a full email inbox, a phone that never stops ringing, and, oh yeah, a son and boyfriend who want and need her time as well. It is no wonder she is exhausted. But she does it all with as much cheer as she can muster. She’s truly amazing.

Phoenix Photos 

Here are a few photos I took of Phoenix yesterday during his grass time:

Phoenix is doing very well! He got quite a bit of grass time yesterday with the other two colts, and I think the social time and the grass really perked him up quite a bit. He was able to go without his blankets for a while yesterday, and the great news is that when his temperature was checked, it was normal for the first time! He was still pretty wiped out when he went back to his stall and proceeded to lie down for a long nap, and he is still so weak that I could push him over if I tried, but I am finally hopeful that this little one is going to pull through.

Phoenix Intake 

photo by DEAN RUTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMESPhoenix is one of 10 horses seized from a Carnation farm, 6 of which were taken in by SAFE. Phoenix was removed from the property immediately a day prior to the seizure as Dr. Evergreen, after examining Phoenix, felt that he may not last even another 24 hours at the farm if he did not receive immediate medical attention, as he was anemic, lethargic and weak, and his body temperature was dangerously low. This little colt has a Body Condition Score of 1.5 on a scale of 1–9, and like the others, has rain rot, uncared for feet, internal parasites, and such a severe lice infestation that it appeared that his skin was moving. Phoenix was completely unhandled when seized but in his extremely weakened state was relatively easy to handle, and now leads, picks up his feet, and is very easy to handle. 

Phoenix was discharged from Pilchuck Equine Hospital yesterday and came into SAFE’s care, but he is far from out of the woods, as unlike Kokomo or Sinatra, he is still quite weak and depressed. He lies down for long periods of time and sometimes has trouble finding the strength to rise, and he is still having trouble maintaining a normal body temperature, and is being kept blanketed. He has less of a distended belly than Kokomo or Sinatra, so it is easier to see how truly emaciated this little colt is. His sheath has been swollen and his protein levels are still very low, likely due to the massive parasite infestation in his body. He is however, eating and passing manure normally, and greets us with a whinny at feeding time, so we are very hopeful that he will in fact, true to his name, rise from the ashes and be born anew. 

Phoenix had a mostly good day today. He was up and whinnying for his food this morning and ate very well today. He even was up for a few photos today when the Times photographer came, and enjoyed his first grass time today, which he liked so much he was pretty sure he didn’t want to go back in his stall. However, the day took a toll on him and by late afternoon he was lying down again looking wiped. When Dr. Hannah stopped in to visit him today, his tempature had once again dropped, this time down in the 96 range, so we have added a second blanket on him to give him more help on keeping his body temperature up. He’s eating, drinking, and passing manure, but he’s still quite depressed and lethargic. Please, continue thinking good thoughts for Phoenix! He is still not out of the woods.