breed: 2001 black & white Paint mare
type of rescue: Pierce County Animal Control seizure in 2011, returned to SAFE in 2013
intake date: 11/2/2013
adoption date: 5/2/2014
length of time with SAFE: 6 months
Status: ADOPTED by Sandi N
Savannah is a lovely mare who has been through a lot in her short life. In March 2010, Skagit County Animal Control seized this starving mare, and turned over to a now-defunct local horse rescue. She was rehabbed and placed into a new home. Unfortunately, conditions in her new home deteriorated, and once again, Savannah was seized by Animal Control, this time in Pierce County. PCAC turned her over to SAFE in October 2011. SAFE adopted her to someone who had been part of her initial rescue who promised her a safe home for life. But our attempts to contact Savannah’s adopter for a follow up visit earlier this year were unsuccessful, and we soon discovered that Savananh had been rehomed without our knowledge. We discovered that Savannah had been given away to a teenager who was now unable to keep her and graciously allowed us to take her back. Savannah has fibrotic myopathy, a mechanical lameness that affects the appearance of her gaits but is not painful. Her particular case of fibrotic myopathy is fairly severe, and puts a lot of strain on her back and hips, making it uncomfortable to carry a rider. So we determined that Savannah would do best as a companion horse. Savannah found her forever home with a SAFE volunteer who fell in love with this sweet, loving mare while spending time with her at our farm.
We are delighted to announce that our sweet Savanah has been adopted!!! Congratulations to SAFE volunteer Sandi N who met Savannah at SAFE and forged a strong connection with this lovely mare. Savannah is now living at her new home which she shares with a mare named Midnight, and the two girls are already fast friends. Sandi tells us that the two of them wandered off yesterday and lost sight of each other for an instant…Savannah immediately started hollering and Midnight came running! So it would seem the two mares have already bonded and Savannah has herself a good friend!
Sandi sent us these photos of Savannah and Midnight’s first turnout together…they started their friendship off with a rolling contest then enjoyed some peaceful grazing side by side. It’s wonderful to see Savannah enjoying life as a pampered horse in a lovely field with a friend!
But we’re most excited about Savannah’s friendship with Sandi. The two became quite close at Safe Harbor where Sandi provided Savannah with the companionship and contact she wanted so badly. Savannah was a horse who sometimes got a little depressed and lonely at Safe Harbor, so Sandi carved out time to spend with her, grooming, massaging, and just hanging out. Her attention brightened Savannah’s spirits tremendously, so we are delighted that the two of them will be able to have even more quality time together.
Like all the SAFE horses, we are glad we were able to be Savannah’s safety net when she needed us, but what we really want these horses to have is a home of their own and a person whose heart is theirs alone. Savannah’s adoption opens the way for us to take in another horse who desperately needs the type of help we are capable of providing. The circle is complete for this lovely mare. We have many more horses just like her who are ready to move on to their new lives. Do you have room in your heart for a SAFE horse?
Savannah is such a lovely mare. She’s probably never going to be comfortable enough to be someone’s riding horse — her fibrotic myopathy causes a lot of strain to her back and hips — but she’s got so much to offer someone as a companion and friend. Savannah is a horse who thrives on affection. In fact, we have to be sure that our volunteers give her plenty of attention, because she tends to get blue if she’s left to herself for too long. Fortunately she’s such a gentle soul, easy to handle and groom and lavish adoration upon, and she gives back as good as she gets. She’s just a darling. We would love to have someone adopt her who wants a horse that they can care for and groom and take for walks and just enjoy spending time with.
She’s especially responsive to kids who are comfortable around horses, which makes a lot of sense since she was cared for over the past few years by a teenager who absolutely adored her. We love having Savannah at SAFE, but this girl shouldn’t be living at a rescue, she needs a person of her own, somebody she can love. We have to believe that there is someone out there with room in their heart and their home for a horse like Savannah.
Savannah didn’t enjoy yesterday’s hail storm, but rather than come inside to escape it, she chose to stand outside in her paddock and look miserable. Fortunately the hail didn’t last long, and within minutes all was well again, but we just had to laugh a little when we saw her standing outside looking dejected. Silly goose.
Sandi N is a volunteer at SAFE Harbor who has been spending some quality time with Savannah, both as a friend and companion, but also helping her with her fibrotic myopathy. Terry asked Sandi to share her thoughts about her interactions with this lovely mare:
Meeting Savannah for the first time I was initially struck by her beauty. Her Tobiano coloring and the lacing that edge her geometric shapes are stunning. The next thing I noticed was her funny walk; stiff-legged, she slaps the ground with her back feet. During my first visit I was able to see her move at liberty in the arena with another one of the SAFE horses. They were enjoying the freedom and urging each other on; both leaping and bucking. Savannah seemed to be saying “I may have some challenges in life but don’t count me out!”
I’ve gotten to know a lot more about this spunky girl. She’s smart and she is very intuitive about her surroundings and those with which she interacts: both four-legged and two. I spend a few hours each week addressing the restrictions in her hamstrings and easing the aches and pains that result from her body’s need to compensate for her condition. She is a wonderful subject and is often very active in her message sessions; leaning into me or dropping a hip to let me know I found a good spot. She is also very trusting and a hard worker during exercise.
At the same time, she can be strong willed. Savannah is very food motivated which is understandable since she has gone without in the past. I always try to minimize conflict around feeding time, but things do not always go as planned. Savannah does acknowledge a strong voice and once she realizes there is determination behind the instruction she is very cooperative. For example, she often resists having her hooves cleaned and it may just be uncomfortable to have her legs manipulated so she’ll pull away. However, as soon as she realizes my resolve she complies beautifully, standing perfectly square and shifting weight from each hoof just before I reached for them. I have to give her extra points for accomplishing this as hay was being placed in her stall when I was running late the other night. Typically, she feels she needs to be in her stall watching vigilantly for those first scraps to fall from the hay loft.
Savannah seems to have a fondness for young people and a kindness for people new to horses; maybe she senses their lack of agenda or nervousness. I brought a friend with me to the barn who is afraid of large animals. Savannah was an angel, curious and very sweet, and she won my friend over completely. She even followed her instructions as we walked along the rail in the arena.
She is a solid horse; a survivor for sure.
This video shows you what Savannah walk looks like, due to her fibrotic myopathy:
If you’ve visited SAFE Harbor Stables in the past few days, you may have noticed there’s another new horse in our herd. Her black and white coat is glossy, her eyes are bright, and she is definitely well fed. If she looks a bit familiar, it’s because she is a former SAFE horse named Savannah that was adopted to a new home about two years ago.
Savannah is a lovely mare who has been through a lot in her short life. In March 2010, Skagit County Animal Control seized this starving mare, and turned over to a now-defunct local horse rescue. She was rehabbed and placed into a new home. Unfortunately, conditions in her new home deteriorated, and once again, Savannah was seized by Animal Control, this time in Pierce County. PCAC turned her over to SAFE in October 2011. Fortunately this time she had been seized before her condition became too dire, and we were able to adopt her to someone who had been part of her initial rescue who promised her a safe home for life. Savannah’s story finally had its happy ending, or so we thought.
But our attempts to contact Savannah’s adopter for a follow up visit earlier this year were unsuccessful, and it soon became obvious to us that Savananh had been rehomed…without our knowledge. If you’re not familiar with SAFE’s adoption policies, our adopters sign a contract agreeing to notify us if they are unable to keep their SAFE horses. (We also ask them to take responsibility for carefully rehoming their horse, and to have the new owner sign our contract so we can continue to monitor the horse’s well-being.)
By networking on Facebook, we were able to track Savannah down fairly quickly and soon we were in contact with her new owner. Turns out Savannah’s adopter had given her away to a teenager and her father who had spent time with her at her boarding barn. The two did not have much in the way of horse experience, but they made up for it with deep and genuine love and devotion to this beautiful mare. When we contacted Savannah’s new owner, she was struggling with the demands of school and work and lack of transportation, and was finding it difficult to spend enough time with her beloved horse. She and her father had agreed that selling Savannah was probably the best solution for everyone, but the process of trying to sell her horse to a stranger was causing her great anxiety, worry, and grief. So when we connected, she still had Savannah but needed to sell her.
SAFE did have one spot open…and we decided that it would be best to offer that spot to Savannah. We felt we owed it to her to see that her next home was stable and permanent, and that she would have the protection of our adoption contract. When we proposed this to Savannah’s owner, her response was heartfelt relief and gratitude. And although it broke her heart to say goodbye, she was very clear that she knew she was making the right decision for Savannah. She acted with great maturity and grace, and we are so grateful to her for being there for Savannah, for taking excellent care of her, and for allowing us to step in and help her when she needed us to.
So Savannah came to SAFE Harbor on Saturday. We are in the process of evaluating her and will have more to report on her physical condition and her level of training/rideability after we’ve had a chance to get reacquainted. She is a lovely mare and we know she has a bright future ahead of her. She’s been through a lot…but she has also known what it’s like to be loved and cared for. And for that she is a lucky girl.
Thank you to everyone who helped us reconnect with Savannah. Your devotion to this mare has not gone unnoticed and we are very grateful to each of you.
Savannah arrived at SAFE on Sunday, September 25, and if we haven’t created a page for her yet, it’s because she is already pending adoption with someone who knows her from her previous rescue experience. We are enjoying her at SAFE as she is a lovely mare who is very sweet and friendly. Here are some photos we’ve taken of her since her arrival. We’ll have more news about her adoption once it becomes finalized.