1998 bay Quarter Horse mare (registered AQHA, Don’t Bug D Doc)
Type of rescue: Owner surrender
Intake date:
Adoption date:
Length of time with SAFE:
3 years, 3 months

Renee is adopted!

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 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 was retired from riding and was offered as a companion horse. Renee was turned out with mares and gets along with both mares and geldings, and is fantastic for the farrier, vet, and trailering. 

Renee was adopted as a companion horse in October 2020.

Angel and Renee: A Lifetime of Safety

Angel and Renee: A Lifetime of Safety

There is one thing that keeps us all motivated and inspired at SAFE and that is hope. Each time we meet a new horse and bring them into the herd, we have hope that we will be able to give them all that they need to heal from their past physical and emotional neglect. When we came into Angel and Renee’s lives, all we knew for certain was from here on out, they would always be protected and loved. We are elated to announce that they have found a forever home together with a lovely local family.

Both mares came to SAFE after a lifetime being used as breeding machines. Their well-being was never given a second thought and they were only valued for what they could produce. Left to practically fend for themselves, the two mares had developed an unbreakable bond. When they came into SAFE, they found a place where they could trust humans. We proved to them we would always provide safety, show them respect for exactly who they were, and give them a life of peaceful existence.

For the past two years, these wise mares have provided SAFE with the invaluable service of raising the youngest members of our herd. We truly owe them a tremendous amount of gratitude for their role as “Aunties” to Pippi, Nova and Rae. The three fillies have not only felt comfort from their “Aunties” but have also been given the priceless lesson of how to be good citizens in a herd. Angel and Renee were the best teachers for our fillies and the lessons they taught them are far more important that anything we could have done as humans. 

We had made a promise to Angel from the day she came to us to watch over her and provide her the comfort she needed. Unhandled until coming to us, her transformation of trust in us was incredible. It was sclear that living with Renee would always be the key to happiness for Angel, so a commitment was made to keep the two as a pair. This meant that unless an adopter could provide a safe placement for both mares, SAFE would keep them in our herd. We carefully watched to make sure that each remained physically comfortable and as long as that remained true, they would have a home with us.

Both mares made ton of volunteer friends while at SAFE. The “Aunties” have found a special place in all of our hearts and remind us that with hope anything is possible. Today we are pleased to report that they have made their last move. Carla reached out to SAFE looking for a new lead mare for her retirement home for horses, donkeys and mules. Over the years many lucky equines have come into this lovely family, to be part of a healthy herd living together and forming friendships with each other and their wonderful caretaker. After reading Renee’s story, Carla knew the two needed to stay as a pair and offered a safe retirement home for both!

They have settled in very well to their new life, herd, and forever home. Carla reports that Renee will be a perfect lead mare she wanted for the herd and Angel is enjoying her new friends and even flirting with the gelding on the property! What can we say, the old gal’s still got it! We are confident that this is the perfect home for these special horses and that they will be provided

Member Login

with the dignity and respect they deserve. They are truly living their best lives and we are grateful for the opportunity to have been part of their journey. We are all filled with hope and encouraged by their story. 
Valor, Renee, and Zoe Take a Field Trip

Valor, Renee, and Zoe Take a Field Trip

About a month ago, a company that puts on continuing education seminars for veterinarians reached out to us to see if we had any horses they might be able to use for an upcoming course at Pilchuck Veterinary Hospital in September. The topics were centered around sports medicine and orthopedics, and they were looking for horses with various levels of lameness issues. We decided to send Renee, who we know has osteoarthritis, Valor, who has a few different lameness issues, and Zoe, who has a mild, intermittent hind end lameness. The horses were hauled in on a Friday morning and got to come home the following night. All three of them got to participate in demonstrations on both Friday and Saturday and they were well-behaved SAFE ambassadors!

Renee demonstrating use of the lameness locator

The topics that our horses got to participate in were ultrasound of the front and hind limbs, pre-purchase exams, and use of a device called a lameness locator. The lameness locator uses censors that attach to the horse’s poll, hindquarters, and right front leg, and sends information about how the horse is moving to a computer. It assists veterinarians in pinpointing where a lameness is originating from. It’s a newer tool that is incredibly useful, and our vets at Rainland have one.

The benefit for us in taking SAFE horses was not only exposure for SAFE and a new experience for the horses, but we also got feedback on what findings there were on the exams performed by the veterinarians who participated. We didn’t really need feedback on Renee since she already has a diagnosis, but it was interesting to see where Valor was at after several weeks of rehab from his sore back and hind end lameness, and we got some good feedback about Zoe. Valor looked improved from where he had been the last time he had a lameness exam, but still off. Zoe showed a mild lameness in her front feet, and also in her right hind. New knowledge of these issues in Zoe prompted us to schedule a full lameness workup with Dr. Fleck after we got the horses home.

Getting to participate in this course with SAFE horses was a pretty fun opportunity. Zoe, Renee, and Valor deserve a gold star for their participation!


Who’s Your Fave? It’s Renee!

Who’s Your Fave? It’s Renee!

Recently we asked our volunteers if they had a favorite among the SAFE horses, and if so, what it is that they love about them? The answers we received gave such wonderful insight into who our horses are and what they mean to us, so we wanted to share these words. After all, who knows these horses better than the people who care for them each and every day?

Renee is a picture of the Quarter Horse breed and really lets you know when she has a connection with you, She’s responsive and alert: but more than anything she’s gentle and compassionate. There was a moment with the two of us where my mental health was cracking and I was having a really hard time focusing on my lesson: but she was ever patient and attentive, allowing me to try time and time again: Always at the ready for another try. Even when I eventually gave up because I was too unsettled, she sweetly stood and didn’t get worked up at all. She’s eager to please and lively but is simultaneously sound as a bell and understanding.”

by Mariah

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 Update: Renee

Joel Conner Clinic Update: Renee

Catherine took Renee into our spring Joel Conner Horsemanship Groundwork Clinic. Here is what she had to say about her experience:

I was able to work with Renee over the weekend. On Friday we had troubles with paying attention. Renee was more interested with getting back to Angel. Working on a lot of backing and circles. At the end of the first day we were able to focus on me. She was a little herd bound and was showing more anxiety about being so far away from her friend.

The second day we were able to get better changes. She was able to think more on me and what I was asking her to do. The tarp was one of the stations that was in the clinic. Renee was a little nervous with it being on the ground, but with doing some hind quarters to front quarters around it and Renee was able to walk over it. On the off side, we had a bit more of brace with the tarp touching her, with throwing it up with the energy of a blanket had changes. The trailer was something else we worked on. She was nervous at first walking up to it, and moving her feet away from the trailer and being able to rest if she was focusing on the trailer, she was able to go into it. After a few times going into and back out, I found that Renee was happy to go in and turn around to look at all that was going on. 

On the third day we had more connection on what we were doing. I felt like I was the most comfortable and confident with the progress on with we were able to do. I think that Renee is a really smart mare that needs to know that she has a trusting partner working with her. She is a horse that is a lot smarter than most people give her credit for. I learned a lot about how to support her and to be able to let her figure out the days. I am happy that I was able to work with such a great horse.

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. Colleen M.

5. Ken and Joyce L.

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!