2017 buckskin Morgan mare 
Type of Rescue: Owner Surrender Animal Control Surrender
Intake Date: 12/1/17
Adoption Date: 1/26/21
Length of Time with SAFE: 3 years, 2 months

ADOPTED by Talia!

Piper and her dam Zoe, were seized by Animal Control when their owner refused to seek treatment for a serious wound on Zoe’s leg. Since Piper was only 6 months old when she arrived at SAFE, we did our best to let her figure out how to be a horse and grow up happy and healthy. Being somewhat of a “blank slate” with no bad experiences to overcome, Piper’s education as a riding horse was consistent and solid, starting with groundwork, then moving on to saddling and riding. As a result of her extensive preparation, Piper was easy to start and took well to being a riding horse!

Piper today

Talia fell in love two years ago when opened her home to fostering Piper. She provided space for Piper to grow up and be a kid! At the time adoption was not in the cards, but Talia always kept and eye on her girl and hoped that someday it may work out. We are excited that it has come full circle and Piper came back home to Talia and her best horse buddy, Nova. 

Piper is Adopted!

Piper is Adopted!

We are excited to tell you all that our baby Piper is returning to her wonderful foster mom, Talia, but this time it is for KEEPS! Yep, you heard it right, Piper is ADOPTED!

Piper meets Talia at the gate every morning.

Talia fell in love with Piper two years ago when she opened her herd and heart for Piper to foster and have space to “grow up” and be a kid. At the time adoption was not in the cards, but Talia always kept and eye on her girl and hoped that someday it may work out.

Well the stars are aligned and their moment has come! Piper is now living in Leavenworth with Talia and her mare Nova. Nova was Piper’s buddy when she was fostered, so it will be somewhat of a family reunion! Although Piper has grown a ton so Nova may be surprised to be looking up at her this time.

We are so grateful for the time and patience SAFE allows our young horses to mature. Piper has shown our community how raising a baby right, everyone comes out a winner. Talia takes this responsibility very seriously. She is prepared to give Piper an amazing life full of adventures and memories, while understanding a pace that matches Piper’s needs as she continues to mature physically and mentally. We only ask that they bring us along whenever possible and share photos of their life together. Piper you are the sweetest mare in the whole world — thank you for trusting SAFE and touching the hearts of so many of us

Piper Works on Steering

Piper Works on Steering

One of the ways to make sure Piper is following the rider’s feel and not just the reins is to take the reins away! This young mare is growing up nicely. She is 15h now and still growing and filling out. She still has lots still to learn and change as she develops but the foundation is being set to make her a great riding partner.

Piper’s a Riding Horse!

Piper’s a Riding Horse!

Piper is a riding horse! While she’s still technically in training and on hold, Piper is proving herself to be quite a capable riding partner. In the beginning of her training, Piper was a little dull and didn’t move forward very easily. She has since overcome a lot of these tendencies and has become more sensitive and forward.

One of the reasons we have not wanted to work and ride her too much these last months is that she always seems to be growing!! Not only is it awkward to be moving out on legs you didn’t know you had, but it’s critical she not be forced to overwork her joints since they’re still developing. Piper is in it for the long haul and will have a lifetime ahead of her for long rides. So for now she is worked lightly 2–3 times a week until we get some good changes and then we GET OFF! No reason for this young horse to ride around on circles for hours. Next year, she will be more physically mature and then she can “go on the payroll.”

Piper is turning out to be quite a tall Morgan cross! Her buckskin color and beautiful amber eyes definitely help her stand out in a crowd. Piper tends to be a little lower in the pecking order of her herd, but since she’s made friends with Sienna (the unquestioned lead mare) she’s given special preference. This young lady will make a great partner for her future adopter!

Growing Pains

Growing Pains

Piper is in a growth spurt right now. She looks a bit awkward with her long legs and high haunches but that is a phase that will be over soon. We have turned her out with several different buddies and she seems to get along nicely with a variety of personalities. This fall and winter, we are still working with her in preparation for riding. Not with rigorous work sessions: we throw the ropes on and around her, put on the saddle and even work on mounting and dismounting from the fence and ground.

Even when she has a lot of time off from being worked, we can pull Piper out of the pasture and all the work is right where we left it. She is great!

We have been dealing with some “teenage” behavior around volunteers, some testing of her boundaries as far as giving space to people in the paddock and being respectful during feeding times. It’s nothing out of the ordinary, these are just some of the “growing pains” that are part of the education of a young mare.

At this time Piper won’t be available for adoption until she is a riding horse, which should be in June 2020. We don’t see any issues with her becoming a great riding partner in the future. She’s a beautiful horse and someone is going to end up with a very flashy and fun friend!

Foster Update: Dottie Belle

Foster Update: Dottie Belle

Sweet Dottie is doing very well at her lovely foster home in Woodinville. She has made a few new friends this spring including 2 minis, 3 alpacas, 4 goats, and a flock of chickens! Her SAFE buddy Piper has recently moved home to Safe Harbor for a bit of training and it took a while for Dottie to adjust to this move. Mini horses Dazzle and Bugsy are her main buddies. When Piper left, it took a while to figure out where everyone should be to keep Dottie calm. She needed to see both minis at all times and if one of them was out of sight, she would call and paw. She is the “herd mommy” and adjusting to one of the minis being in a stall across the hallway of the barn was just not acceptable to her. But things have settled down now and there is a routine that she is comfortable with that keeps everyone happy and allows for separate feeding times. Dottie’s lovely foster family sent us a few photos of her, Piper, and their friends this spring to share. Enjoy!


Piper Wears a Saddle!

Piper Wears a Saddle!

Our baby Piper is growing up! She is just a bit older than two now so we’re introducing her to some groundwork. She attended her first Horsemanship Clinic at Safe Harbor last week. She did very well with all the other horses around us. We worked in the last hour of the class and then Joel helped me get the saddle on her. She was a star for all of these new experiences! A few issues came up with her sticky feet and braces moving forward off of pressure. We will work through these now so that when we do go to ride her it will be less stressful and she will be more accepting of the rider.

At this point it’s not about hours of work or sweaty hard workouts, it is about acceptance. For Piper, being saddled was a non-event. There was hardly any jumping around when she felt the cinch or stirrups touching her sides. I have saddled her a few times now and her willingness to move forward off of feel is getting better. I’d like to see this improve a bit more and then I will take her over to Joel’s to put the first ride on her in a few weeks.

After that she will be living the life as a young horse should: turned out with good friends and enjoying growing up. When she is around three, we will bring her back into training and start riding her more regularly. Even then, the groundwork and experiences will be the goals. As Buck Brannaman recently said in his Colt Starting clinic in Dayton, WA, these youngsters have their whole lives to be riding horses, it’s the groundwork foundation and experiences that is key at this time in their lives.

Dottie and Piper, Living the Good Life

Dottie and Piper, Living the Good Life

Dottie and Piper are living it up at their foster home! They get to be friends with all kinds of farm animals, they have acres to roam and graze on, and they have a foster family who adores them.

Piper is getting to be a big girl. She’ll be two years old in June and she is just about ready to come back to SAFE to further her education. Once Piper comes home, she’ll get started with groundwork, learn to carry a saddle, get a few light rides put on her, then go back out to foster to continue growing. It’s important that horses not be worked too hard at this young age. Overworking a horse who’s not developmentally mature enough can lead to soundness issues later in life.

Dottie will continue to live in this foster home, where she’ll have a few miniature horses as herd mates. She’s quite content in her current setup with the ability to choose between a stall, a paddock, and a pasture 24 hours a day–and we’re quite content to have her there! Dottie needs a special living arrangement due to her propensity to colic when she’s confined, so having a home like this is ideal for her. And having her at a foster home that’s close to SAFE for easy access gives us peace of mind.

Dottie stands quietly for her pedicure with farrier, Andrea

Stay tuned for a Piper update once we get her back home and started with training!

Checking in With Dottie and Piper

Checking in With Dottie and Piper

Dottie and Piper had their routine visit from our trimmer, Daphne, last week. Piper is growing up fast! She tries to pull  all the typical baby tricks in the book while she’s getting her hooves trimmed, just to see if we’re serious that she really does need to stand still and get her toes done like a big girl. After about 10 minutes of conversation about it, Daphne had Piper calm and willing to stand there patiently until she was finished. We still expect that she will try some of these baby antics next time she gets a trim, but she’s clearly a very intelligent girl so it’s not likely to take long before she stops testing the boundaries.

The two girls are having a great time in foster. Dottie is doing just what we hoped she would do–she’s furthering Piper’s education in good equine social skills, and teaching her how to follow a leader. She lets Piper get away with some of her baby habits, but it only goes so far and then Dottie puts her foot down to show her who’s the herd boss.

Foster Update: Piper

Foster Update: Piper

Little miss Piper has grown this summer into such a nice little lady. She spends nearly all of her time living like a wild horse with our herd in the large pasture, but she shows off her manners every time we handle her. Some of her milestones include: standing politely for trims with only the mildest baby shenanigans (it’s pretty boring after all), yielding out of the human’s space during feeding, giving to basic pressure on a halter and leading very respectfully between pastures. She continues to be brave and inquisitive, and she has fully learned her place in the herd. The boss mares rarely see a need to pin their ears at her, although she is showing signs of starting to move the gelding around some, so I think we’ll have another alpha mare on our hands as she continues to mature.

She’s still the “little one” (and I’m sure we’ll always refer to her that way), but I’m not sure she’ll be littler than the Arabian girls much longer!


Piper’s New Foster Home

Piper’s New Foster Home

Last week, we tearfully loaded Piper into a trailer and wished her well as she headed off to her new foster home. Because Piper is so young, she has a lot of growing up to do before she’ll officially start training. So we started thinking about sending her out to foster, and immediately, the perfect foster home became available to us! Piper is living on a property in the mountains just east of Leavenworth WA. She shares 15 acres of turnout with a small group of horses who can teach Piper how to be a horse. Piper’s foster mom is a long term SAFE supporter named Talia who came very close to adopting Anderson at one point. (Anderson’s breathing issues that came to light during last year’s fires put a stop to this adoption — he’s just not suitable to life in arid eastern Washington.) Talia has been keeping us all posted on Piper’s progress and sharing photos of her new friends and surroundings.

Little girl unloaded just as bravely and quietly as she loaded, and she traveled very well. The boss mare pecking order shenanigans were relatively subdued, and she held her own. My sweet teddy bear mare, Cameo (pictured below), took to her right away. We’ve let her know that if she stands politely and keeps her little teeth in her little mouth, we’ll just love on her all day. They’ll stay in the dry lot tonight so we can keep an eye on her as she settles in, and she’ll get her first taste of the big pasture tomorrow.

Piper is settling in very nicely, and is getting a very good education. I thought you all might like to see a short clip of one of the camp counselors in action. Boss mares expect that baby will move out of their way, but they have been very patient and gentle with her. She’s getting offered the good deal first, then the not so good deal. Little one is catching on fast though, so she’s mostly taking the good deal. They have been letting her eat, drink, and snooze with the herd. We had some stormy weather the last couple of days, so they’ve been staying in the paddock where they have access to the barn to get out of the weather. The boss mares have even been letting her in the shelter with them, though she seems to prefer the trees. Hoping the weather will cooperate for a big pasture adventure tomorrow afternoon or Sunday.

If I had to guess which herd member would be most upsetting for Piper to watch leave, it would Willow, the “beta” mare. She kept the little girl company on her first night when she was still keeping her distance from the group, and Piper seems to gravitate most to her. This morning I took Willow for a ride for the first time since Piper arrived. Piper was clearly interested in the departure (as you can see in the photo below), but just whinnied once as we left and then went back to munching hay with the rest of the group. Such a good girl!

Photos of Piper’s world (click to enlarge):

Photo Update: Piper

Piper begins her life at Safe Harbor

photo by Lisa Garr

If you are missing one of your fellow volunteers during your shift at Safe Harbor there is a good chance you will find that person making googly eyes and stealing kisses from our baby Piper! She is a very sweet filly with a naturally lovely disposition. We have started adding some very light groundwork and handling to begin her education. She catches on quickly and is a smart little cookie! She is very young so adding just a few things here and there is really about all we want to do at this time. She is very brave and curious, which can be used to our advantage. It certainly helps us get her comfortable and have positive experiences with new things in her life.

She is now fully vaccinated and boosted, and our Herd Health Manager, Melinda reports: “She didn’t react at all to the needle. No problem there at all.” Once her vaccines had time to build her immune system up, we were able to take her off quarantine and introduce her to a pasture mate. Since Piper’s arrival, Tasara had been very interested in her and had often called out to her from her nearby pasture. Since Tasara is a petite 13 hands tall, it looked like a suitable size match. Both did great for the introduction. Piper immediately started “clacking” at Tasara tel tell her “I’m a baby.…don’t hurt me!” The two quickly hit it off and are now very good buddies. Piper is learning that sometimes Tasara has to go away to be ridden but that eventually she’ll come back. She calls out just a little and then goes back to munching hay. It is really a perfect little match and we’re so happy they both have a friend now!

We had fun with Daphne for Piper’s first hoof trims at Safe Harbor. It was a blessing to have such a skilled farrier working with her for this introduction. As Daphne said: “You just have to go with them… make your body into Gumby, and just don’t let go of the leg…she figures it out quick enough.” And sure enough within just a few tries, Piper grasped the concept and did very well. Here are a few photos of her and Daphne:

Introducing Zoe and Piper

The newest horses at SAFE are a 6 year old Morgan mare and her 6 month old filly. The pair were seized by Animal Control when their owner refused to seek treatment for a serious wound on Zoe’s leg. It took more than two months of treatment for the wound to heal, but fortunately it is much better now and does not appear to affect her soundness. Zoe is a lovely bay mare who is unstarted under saddle but she’s very athletic, judging by her ability to buck in the roundpen! She also seems to be a quick learner, and she’s very kind & gentle. Her filly is an adorable buckskin with extraordinary eyes. Piper is sweet and cuddly and everyone at the barn is in love with her. She was weaned while in animal control custody so she is kept separately from her mom, and seems quite well adjusted. 

Here are some photos of Zoe and Piper from Jessica Farren: