Quarter Horse
Don’t Bug D Doc (AQHA)
Mar 20, 1998
900 lbs
Online Adoption Application  

Renee’s Story

Renee and her five herdmates were surrendered to SAFE by their owner, who was no longer physically or financially able to properly care for them. The horses were in decent weight but had not had farrier or dental care in some time. We were told that Renee was extremely well trained and very skilled both in the arena and on the trails. We sent her to Joel Conner for a tune up and she did very well!

All SAFE horses are adopted with a no-breeding clause, no exceptions.

Renee Today

Renee has blossomed into a sensitive mare with a huge amount of try. Don’t let her age fool you; she has tons of go and has no idea she’s 20 years old! Though she was restarted under saddle, she’s been retired from riding and is offered as a companion horse.

Renee is currently turned out with mares and gets along with both mares and geldings, and is fantastic for the farrier, vet, and trailering. With a solid Horsemanship foundation, Renee is ready for her next adventure.

Three Weaned Babies

Three Weaned Babies

It took some work and a fair amount of brainstorming, but we weaned all three babies over the course of about a week and a half. First Nova, then Rae, and finally Pippi. Even though Pippi is two months older than Nova and Rae, we opted to wean her last based on herd dynamics, the personalities of all the mares involved, and space available. Each of the weanings was relatively uneventful, and the little amount of drama that accompanied each one was over within an hour or two (with Nova’s weaning there wasn’t much fuss at all). Pippi seemed to take it the hardest, but having her new buddies Rae and Nova there for comfort made a big difference. Nova seemed more upset about losing her aunt Mina than she was about being separate from her own mother.

The three fillies are now hanging out with matriarchs Angel and Renee. They’ll be learning lessons about how to be a horse from these ladies who have been there and done that. At some point in the near future we’ll send them to foster where they’ll be able to grow up in a quiet place with room to romp, and we’ll bring them back when they’re 2-year olds to start introducing them to groundwork in preparation for becoming riding horses. For now, though, we are happy to have them right where they’re at because they’re a constant source of amusement. No doubt about it, though, raising babies is a lot of work!

A New Chapter for Renee

A New Chapter for Renee

For the past few weeks, we’d noticed a bit of a hitch in Renee’s step. At first it was thought to be a hoof abscess in her left front foot, so we wrapped it and treated it as such. But when the abscess resolved and she was still lame on that leg, it was clear that something else was going on and she needed a lameness evaluation. Dr. Lewis came out to the farm to perform the exam, and we weren’t  too far into it before we already had a diagnosis. It was determined that Renee has a pretty bad case of osteoarthritis in her left knee.

Luckily, Renee is still pasture sound. But she will need to be officially retired from riding. Her pain level is not high enough yet to warrant long-term pain medication, but we’ll be keeping a close eye on her comfort level and will address that if her condition worsens.

Renee was a good riding companion. She was sweet and sensitive under saddle, and once she trusted her rider she’d likely go anywhere with them. But it was clear that it was not her favorite thing. Her favorite thing is hanging out with her buddies in the pasture. If she had one wish, she’d probably wish for just that. A life in retirement.

Joel Conner Clinic Report: Renee

Joel Conner Clinic Report: Renee

SAFE volunteer Blair worked with Renee during the groundwork portion of the clinic. Here’s what she had to report on her experience:

I had an anxious/excited vibe walking into the barn for my first Joel Conner Clinic. I was paired with Renee, who has a sweet demeanor and has had prior groundwork training through our horsemanship program, as have I. Renee knew what was expected while I gave my best effort to walk the dance with her to gain the feel together. While I stumbled a bit learning the steps, Renee was patient and didn’t shut down even when I confused her.

Joel was great, he would notice me getting stuck with my feet or my coordination when changing hands, so he would come up and demonstrate how I was doing it and then show me the corrections and tips for me to try out. Best part about Joel is his sense of humor, when you’re learning new things and not grasping it right away or your struggling to find the feel…you can get frustrated or bummed out. But he makes you laugh and is there to ask any question whether it be big or small.

I also liked that he will push you a bit to try something you might be uncomfortable doing but in a safe positive way. For example, working on picking up Renee’s feet, then gently placing the hoof back on the ground. Joel has a way of building your confidence in this manner and this carries with you into your horsemanship skills and interactions outside of the arena as well. I value that so much.

My goal is to work on my presence, and show improvement for the next clinic. I have a laid back vibe and feel to me and Renee totally read in to that and matched it.  Which made it trying at times to put her “in a box” / “pressure” so she could learn to free up her feet when she felt troubled or unsure. With better presence comes a better feel for the both of us. I hope!

Checking in with Renee

Kaya, one of our dedicated Horsemanship volunteers, has been giving Renee some much needed TLC. Here is what she had to say about her relationship with Renee:

“Renee is super intelligent and very aware of her surroundings. She will constantly watch me while I walk around getting her ready to work and when we are doing groundwork she is very attentive and sensitive to my energy. We recently improved significantly on backing up (mostly me improving my communication) and it is really cool to see how she reacts to my subtle instructions to back now that I can ask it more efficiently. Renee gets very anxious about ropes, especially around her back feet, so we are working on desensitization a lot lately. Renee loves attention and I think she even enjoys the songs I make up for her (even though she looks at me like I’m insane).”

Renee: Joel Conner Clinic Report

Renee: Joel Conner Clinic Report

SAFE volunteer rider Phoebe worked with Renee during the Groundwork sessions of April’s Joel Conner Horsemanship clinic. Here’s what she had to share about the experience:

This was the first time I really worked with Renee, besides bringing her in and out from turnout. It took most of the first day for us to feel each other out and develop an understanding. She did well. Day 2 was better, and Day 3 was stellar! She wanted to focus on her ‘herd’ out in the paddock, but if I tossed the lead rope over her back, or around her legs, she totally shifted her focus to me and became more and more content. By Day 3, she was yawning. Wow, to see that made me so happy!

My favorite part of the groundwork was learning how to walk in at an angle in order to have the horse back in a circle. Also, breaking down the change of direction exercise into 3 pieces made it easier to ask of the horse when I understood it wasn’t one motion, and it could be done with precision and calm movements.

Training Update: Renee

Training Update: Renee

Renee is a stunning Quarter Horse mare. She is very wise and has a huge amount of try for her rider. She is sensitive and requires a skilled rider who is relaxed and can be a calming influence. Don’t let her age fool you, she has no idea she is 19 and has tons of life and go. She takes a little time getting to know her handler but once she trusts you she is a great ride. If you like a forward, responsive mare this horse is for you! She does great riding in our outdoor arena and for walks around the property. We will be getting her out on the trails soon, but there is no question that she’ll make a great trail horse as well. Renee is currently turned out with a herd of mares and gets along nicely with mares and geldings. 


Training Update: Renee

We are delighted to have Renee home from training with a glowing report! Joel really enjoyed getting to know this mare and said she has a ton of heart and try. You can see many changes in her overall relaxation upon her return to SHS. Now that she has been equipped with a few more tools to help her find peace under saddle, we have high hopes she will make the right adopter a great match. She is a very sensitive and smart girl so riding her is like driving a fast car: with just a little effort it is zooming along the road. Joel told me to think about riding her “lazy” and that attitude has helped me get used to her.

I rode her both days in the clinic and she did very well with the large group of horses and lots of things going on around her. I warmed her up each day in the round pen, getting her to move out comfortably in the walk, trot and lope before getting on and asking her to do the same with minimal contact. She relaxes into three lovely gaits and is very smooth to ride. Her canter looks like it might be bouncy but is by far her nicest gait right now. Very even!

She is ready to show to adopters and we will continue to work her at SAFE and eventually take her out on the trails. I think she is just a doll and her spirit is very young which makes me hopeful that she has many more years of riding companionship ahead of her. We are now accepting applications for her. Please fill out an application online or email with any question.


Renee at the Joel Conner Clinic

This past weekend was a big success for Renee. We started on Friday by asking Joel to assess her past training and help us formulate a plan for our next steps. He took a look at her under saddle and rode her a little to see how she’d react. All said and done, we have some work ahead of us before she is going to be available as a riding horse. However she showed much improvement at each working session and the changes carried over to the next day. All good signs that if done correctly we should be able to help her get over past issues and become a relaxed riding partner. Casey took Renee in both morning groundwork classes with Joel. Here is what she had to share with us about Renee and their work together:

I got to work with and learn from Renee during the groundwork portions of the clinic. On Saturday she was quite anxious and had difficulty staying with me. However, there was a marked change on Sunday as she was much more relaxed and peaceful. She is understandably herd bound and hesitant to trust humans. Over the course of the weekend we worked on bending to a halt, yielding the hind and fore quarters, and discovered that she has a couple of very tough braces to work through. The brace through her head and neck are particularly troubling. When she bends, she tilts her head so that her ears aren’t plumb. It is very exaggerated which suggests that a correctional bit was used when she was ridden. Her feet are also very stuck. I suspect that she will begin to trust humans again once we help her find balance and free up her feet. It’s going to take some time to get these changes, but she’s a great little horse with a lot of “try.”

Getting to know Renee

We are starting to get to know one of the new mares at SAFE: Renee. We were told that she’s been ridden before, but we don’t know how long it’s been or how positive those experience were for her. Renee seems a bit “wide eyed” and unsure of it all but she is getting used to the routine at SAFE and learning to trust us. I have been doing some light ground work with her in preparation for saddling and last week the first saddling went very well. She was great for cinching up and only was tight for the first few circles at the canter. She appears sound so we will continue see how she does as we increase the work and eventually put a rider on her. She has a sensitive and energetic personality and we are hopeful she will have many years of riding ahead of her.

One of our volunteers, Barbara, had a few nice things to say about Renee: “She was initially pretty bold and interested in humans. She then started hanging back behind Angel, the 27 year old boss of the herd who has a lot of opinions on every subject. Today Renee came up to me and was happy to get a scratch and pet and hang out for a few minutes. Watching their personalities unfold as they get used to their new environment and understand they have reliable access to food and water is pretty amazing. SAFE is doing right by these and our other 24 current residents.”

Over all her health is good. Her dental float was done and while she had some sharp points there was nothing alarming. She should do well on annual floats and needs no special food to maintain a good weight. Her front hooves were xrayed to make sure there was no rotation or issues due to how overgrown they were when she arrived. Luckily everything looked good and our farrier was able to trim her easily. She has some arthritic changes to her left knee and an old bowed tendon on her right front. Neither seem to be causing problems at this time. Her biggest issue is an allergic reactions to bug bites. We are working with Dr Fleck to keep these irritations to a minimum. She is a lovely well built little mare and we are excited to see how she does in our training program.

Farrier day for the new horses

Farrier Daphne Jones came out today to work on the badly neglected hooves of our new horses. She was able to trim all of them, except for Angel, who was very reluctant to have her hind feet handled. Daphne worked with her to get her more accustomed to having her hinds picked up, and will be back out very soon to attempt another trim. The good news is that as bad as their feet looked when we picked them up, Daphne was able to make everyone’s hooves look relatively normal again. With proper hoof care, these horses should remain sound.

Six new horses to introduce

SAFE has recently taken in 6 new horses. They were surrendered to us by their owner, who was no longer able to care for them, due to physical and financial set backs. The horses were all in decent weight, but had not received farrier or dental care in many years. Most had extremely overgrown feet, causing lameness and discomfort. Two other horses belonging to the same owner were humanely euthanized due to pain and old age.

Our decision to take these horses was based on several factors. We felt that without our intervention, the horses would continue to suffer, and were likely to become thin once winter set in. We also have reason to believe that there was a genuine risk that one or all of the mares would be impregnated, either accidentally or intentionally.

The six horses now reside at Safe Harbor in Redmond. Valor is stalled at night and spends his days in a private paddock. The other five are living together in a small pasture where they can be safely quarantined from the rest of the herd.

3 year old QH stallion, now a gelding
11 year old QH mare
dam of Valor
27 year old QH mare
dam of Cosmo
13 year old QH gelding
son of Angel
  CJ (Calamity Jane)
17 year old QH mare
19 year old QH mare


Renee’s Friends:

1. Randee F.

2. Nancy S.

3. Daniel K.

4. _____________________

5. _____________________

6. _____________________

7. _____________________

8. _____________________

9. _____________________


Every horse deserves at least ten friends! Even a small monthly donation can make a difference. Plus, SAFE horse sponsors receive discounts at local businesses through the SAFEkeepers program!

Click here to sponsor Renee!