description: 2002 bay Arab/Percheron cross mare
Registered Name: Aye Cherie Stedmen (HAHR*1A360052)
type of rescue: Pierce County Animal Control Seizure
intake date: 12/20/2012
adoption date: 12/5/2013
length of time with SAFE: 2 years

ADOPTED!! by Corrine H of Lake Tapps WA

Skye’s Story: Skye is one of 39 horses seized by Pierce County Animal Control after they were discovered living in filthy, deplorable conditions, trapped in stalls and paddocks piled high with their own waste, in barns with no light and no ventilation. The horses were in large part unhandled and they suffered from a lack of vet and farrier care. Skye is a registered Half Arab mare whose sire was a Percheron, making Skye an unusually large boned, wide backed mare. She came to SAFE healthy and quite fond of people, but she had to deal with a lot of fear, having lived such a restricted life prior to her rescue. Skye had extensive groundwork training over the summer of 2013 and was started full time under saddle training in early 2014. She absolutely excelled in her training, and before long, she had found her forever home.

Letters from friends: Skye and Strider 

We were delighted to receive some very special mail last week that included letters and photos from two adopted SAFE horses, Strider and Skye! They both sound very happy in their new home!

First a letter from the big horse himself:

Hi SAFE Friends,

It’s Strider! I’m loving it at my new home. I recently moved out of the old barn and into the new barn my people built for me, in an extra big stall. They know that I don’t like to be cooped up  like the crazy chickens that live here, so they give me night turnout in a big gravel run with access to the barn so I can sleep wherever I want.

I’ve grown some new hair on my back since you all last saw me. Michel and Corrine have been searching for a lotion that works on my back since the mineral oil tends to make my skin pretty dry and itchy, and they think they found one. They’re having the vet come out to look at it, since the hair and skin from my burns looks pretty good, but something is making my hindquarters itchy so they want a second opinion.

I spend my days sharing my home with my SAFE Buddy that just came back from the Back Forte. I think most of you have met her, her name is Skye! I love her a lot and I don’t even mind letting her use my big pasture. We take turns in the pasture and in the turnout runs. My favorite part of every day is when Corrine lets me out into the big pasture in the morning. I love to run and buck first thing in the morning (I think that lady is planning on taking a video soon to share) and then roll in the mud where the dry well is. The best part? They brush me every day before bed time and then I usually get a carrot or two with my dinner. I’ve also conned the neighbor kids and grandkids into giving me lots of treats.

Anyways, I just wanted to check in. I hope all of my old buddies are doing well. Corrine told me today about my old foster buddy Chip finding a new foster home with a big pasture like mine (though I don’t have a waterfront view, it’s a tough life)! I am really happy for him and give all the SAFE horses my best wishes. I love my forever home and I hope they find theirs too!


(P.S. They put me on a diet because they said I’ve gotten a little chunky. Send sugar cubes, quick!)

And here is a note from Skye:

SAFE Buddies!

It’s Skye here! I’ve been having a lot of fun since I got adopted by my mom. I spent a couple months at the Back Forte Equestrian Center while my new family finished the big barn and the arena. Now that I am at home, I’m even more happy! I love the arena because I can see all around it and I have a huge new stall in my barn. I think my human said it was 12 by 24?

Working with my human has been fun! We do lots of ground and undersaddle work. Sometimes, I’m a little bit lazy but my mom has been helping me work through that. I’ve been getting really good at cantering right away when my mom asks, both leads! I get a little scared in arenas with lots of other people on horses and I certainly don’t like jumps (they are secretly plotting against all of us horses), but now that I am home I will get the whole jump-free arena to myself. Strider uses it for lunging, but otherwise it’s all mine.

I love all the turnout I get at home, with lots of yummy grass and a nice gravel turnout when my mom tells me I’ve had enough grass for the day. Strider is my new best friend, and I think he’s pretty handsome. My mom thinks that I think he is TOO handsome…so she’s started me on something called Mare Magic to help me out.

Thanks to everyone at SAFE for helping me find my forever home! I love my new mom and I know she loves me too. She gives me lots of kisses and always tucks me in at night. Good luck to all the SAFE horses, especially Cameo. My friend might be a little crazy, but I can’t wait till my mom tells me that she found her forever home.


The two included lots of great photos as well, enjoy!

Skye under saddle 

And picking up her lovely feet to go over poles — at speed. Good girl, Skye!


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. 

Another trail ride adventure for Skye, Skittles, and Lola 


We took a big group to the Redmond Watershed today for a trail ride: Skittles, Skye, Lola and Debi’s horse Summer. It was good to go out on a busy trail day so we could see more people, bikes and other horses. All the horses did very well. Skittles was a great leader and happy to stay up front. She crossed bridges and if she was shy about something she took just a little encouragement to go forward and approach it. Lola was ridden by our volunteer rider, Casey, who had a more difficult time taking the lead than she had had when I rode her the previous two times. Maybe she was a little tired or it just wasn’t a day she wanted to lead. But she was still well behaved and was easy for Casey to control in all gaits. Skye did very well with SAFE Executive Director Bonnie aboard. It was Skye’s third trail ride and Bonnie’s first ride on her. She was very well behaved and is proving to be a good trail horse. At one point, Skittles and Lola even were asked to split off from the other two horses and Skye stood well with Summer as the others trotted and cantered away up the hill.

I have to admit I was having way too much fun on Skittles and felt very comfortable and easy on her. She is such a special mare and showed great confidence in herself and trust in what I asked of her. Although I would always ride on the trails with a buddy, I think Skittles would be just as happy out riding alone as she was with others. You can’t say this about many horses! We did learn that one thing she doesn’t like is having another horse get too close to her hind end. She was fine most of the time but did turn and give the mean face to Skye when she was coming up to her and one time gave quiet a good kick towards Skye. It was easily managed, and no one got kicked, but it’s something her future riders should be aware of in the future. All three SAFE mares did very well for this outing and I would say they all will bring their future owners many years of enjoyment on the trails.

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.

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.

The girls are back! 

Cameo and Skye graduated from training at the end of April and returned to Safe Harbor Stables to continue their education under Terry’s guidance. The two are settling in nicely, and are both healthy, happy, and feeling good. Terry’s been giving them both some refresher training in ground work to remind them about good manners…and they’re both doing really well. Skye, especially, seems to remember a lot of what she learned from her time in foster care with David Z. Both girls are already into their under saddle work with Terry, and preliminary reports are good! We’ll have videos to share very soon.

Cameo and Skye spent the morning out on the grass together, then came into the covered arena for some playtime and exercise after the rain started. Here are some photos from today of the two happy, wet mares having fun before their afternoon training sessions started:

Skye is now cantering under saddle! 

We are just delighted to share this video with you of Skye cantering under saddle! Huge thanks to Andrea Lucianna and everyone at Half Trak Farm for this wonderful work. Watch closely in the video and you’ll see SAFE alumni pony River (adopted by Jenny Lucianna) standing by to give his friend Skye a boost of confidence. 

Skye Training Update 

Skye is currently living up at Half Trak Farm as she begins part 2 of her training journey with Andrea Lucianna.

Skye's "Happy Place"

Skye’s “Happy Place”

When Skye first arrived at Half Trak, she had a bit difficulty settling in. At first she would not tolerate being in a stall and would pace, refuse to eat, and make a mess of herself. Turning her out didn’t help much either, as she would spend most of her time running and very little eating. They weren’t sure what to do and were getting pretty worried about her as her condition was deteriorating. But happily, Andrea did find a stall Skye likes and feels comfortable in. Although it’s one of the smaller stalls at Half Trak, it does not have a solid gate in front and she’s flanked on either side by friendly horses, so she feels a lot more comfortable. And as long as she is the first to go out in the morning, she does just fine in the stall. We are all very relieved that she was able to settle in at her training home.

Skye is walking under saddle in the arena. She is *very* close to trotting and will probably be ready in the next few days.

Like Cameo, Skye is also going to be a bit of a project for Andrea. She has a pretty spooky personality but when Skye spooks, her head goes straight up and she totally checks out. Trouble is that in this “checked out” state, she really does not have any respect for people and will happily run you right over. Andrea thinks this will get better as Skye gains confidence under saddle, but she may always be a horse you have to stay focused on when handling her. 

Unlike Cameo, however, Skye is not a dominant mare. Andrea calls her a big sweetie and says she’s super kind. Andrea thinks we’ll have no problem finding someone to fall in love with her.

Skye moves to training 

Skye will soon be making the move to her next phase of training, when she heads up to Half Trak Farm to start work with Andrea. She’s spent the past three months at Lake Tapps Equestrian Center, where Team Zanotelli was able to use the covered arena to continue her training. In January, Skye was cared for by long time SAFE supporter, Lynn Mazer, and her sister Carol, who gave her the attention she needed, and both of them fell in love with her. I asked them to share their experiences with us so we could get to know Skye even better:

My sister, Carol, and I played and worked with Skye 5–6 days a week. We groomed and loved on her, and took her through obstacles, started on lunging and surcingle work, and even began some trailer desensitizing. Skye is a big girl but she still had a fear of smaller spaces, a lack of trust and confidence in trying new things, and she could be quite intimidating sometimes. But, she improved so much in the month we were able to work with her. She began to walk and stand quietly and not try to take up the same space as the person on the end of the lead rope. She was calm when we entered her stall to talk with her and move her in and out without a fuss, even when she had food in front of her. The stall cleaner and the barn owner and her daughter told us how much calmer and more relaxed she was. I couldn’t have been more proud of her. I wish that we’d had more time and I really wish I could afford a second horse. She is a gem.

I know that with time and care, she is going to be a very loving and outstanding partner in whatever she takes on. I can’t wait to see how the next chapter in her life plays out. ~ Lynn Mazer

skye_02_03_2013I had the opportunity to learn with Skye. I was filled with nerves as I had only started learning to train horses in the summer. Skye is a big loving girl, and she needed so much. So many things spooked her, and helping her learn that Lynn and I were not going to let any of the scary umbrellas , tires or barrels eat her was a great experience. Also letting her know that she was loved by grooming her almost every day. She came from not letting me pick up and clean her feet to many times lifting them with just a tap and the word lift. At first her size was intimidating but at the end of the 6 short weeks she had calmed down so much that it didn’t faze me anymore.

Skye is going to make someone a wonderful horse friend. I only wish I had the money it takes to keep her and see her all the way through the rest of her life. Love her and cherish her whoever you are that has the great fortune to adopt this most amazing horse. ~ Carol Mazer

Thank you, Lynn and Carol, for all that you’ve done for our girl. I know you’ll be proud of her as she continues her education and moves even closer to finding her forever home.

Skye’s First Ride — Video 

We couldn’t be more excited to share with you this video taken of Skye’s first experience with a rider in a saddle on her back. We are so proud of our girl and the amazing progress she has made under the guidance of Dave Zanotelli. Dave started fostering SAFE in late June, and with the help of his daughter Julia, he has transformed this mare from a frightened animal to a horse with some impressive skills. We know that in February, when Skye moves into full time training with Andrea Lucianna to start under saddle, the work that Dave and Julia have done with her will give Skye an amazing head start. 

We’d also like to thank Michelle, who is the rider who backed Skye for the first time, and has been a great addition to Team Zanotelli during Skye’s training. Without any further ado, here’s the video of today’s big moment:

Skye’s transformation! 

You’ll often hear us say “it takes a herd to save a horse.” In Skye’s case, it is not a metaphor! In June, Dave Zanotelli and his daughter Julia offered to foster a SAFE horse. They are both very skilled at doing groundwork training and they were willing to take on a project the magnitude of Skye! Before Skye arrived, Dave built a very solid stall and paddock that directly connected to a round pen to ensure they could practice working Skye safely while she settled into her new environment. Settle in, she did! 

Over the summer, Skye was introduced to Dave’s herd and she now lives in the main barn with the rest of their horses. Considering she originally struggled with the concept of having a paddock, much less the wide open space of a pasture and stimulation of a herd, Skye is transformed. She has finally experienced some true normalcy in her life. Thanks to both Dave and SAFE super-supporter Lynn Mazer, in November, Skye will be moving to a nearby facility with a covered arena to continue her groundwork training and potentially be started under saddle!

Skye Training Updates 

Friday, June 21
Skye has had an easy day of roaming the round pen full of scary stuff. Dave said that she was a little wound up early on but by the end of the day, despite the tarps, barrels and the Cowboy Curtain of doom, she has calmed down. She got a chance to nibble on grass outside the pen. Then it was time to shut down for the evening and go back to her paddock for the night. Tomorrow is another day.

Sunday, June 23
It’s hard to believe it’s only Day 3 of Skye’s training. The tarp had her in a panic yesterday. Today…not so much! She is now able to work on a completely loose lead and is starting to understand basic commands. Yes, she has a lot to learn but she’s so smart and willing. Yay to both David & Julia Zanotelli! Great work so far.

Skye’s fit right into the herd — made friends particularly with David’s mare Jewby as well as doing incredibly well with her lessons. She’s going to make someone a terrific partner.

We have discovered that Skye really doesn’t like dogs. She chases them with murderous intent.

Follow Skye’s progress on Facebook — she has her own page set up with photos, videos, and frequent updates!

A new start for Skye 

WP_20130620_008Skye has come a long way from the horse she was when she first came to SAFE. Back then, she was so accustomed to being shut up in a stall all the time that the relative freedom of a stall with an outdoor run was very strange and scary to her. Everything scared Skye at first, even the sound of velcro would make her jump out of her skin. She had to learn the simplest skills, like walking on a lead line, and her insecurity made her dangerous, as she had a tendency to jump towards her handler when frightened. Luckily she had two things going for her: her intelligence and the patience of her trainer, Brittney. 

Brittney worked with Skye nearly every day and taught her many skills that will help her throughout her entire life. Today, Skye moved on to the next phase in her training. She’s off to a new foster home where she will continue her ground work training with David Z, a competitive trail rider who has started three mustangs and has 10 years experience training horses. David came out to meet Skye at SAFE Harbor Stables and spent some time working with Skye and Brittney in preparation for taking her on as a foster. He then spent a few weeks getting his property ready for her arrival, building her a secure paddock adjacent to his round pen so she can easily and safely be moved for her lessons.

Before leaving SAFE Harbor, Skye was given a light sedative in preparation for her trailer ride. She was somewhat skeptical about loading, but she was persuaded to get in with a little food. She made the trip uneventfully, and unloaded at her new foster home without a problem. She’s settled in well.

Pretty Miss Skye 

skye_06_05_13_02Skye’s summer coat has come in very light brown, and she has shed a few pounds, so she’s looking really pretty! She’s headed out to a new foster home pretty soon where she’ll be starting groundwork training…not a moment too soon! She’s a very big gal who’s gotten a lot more confident since arriving at SAFE. We should have some great updates to share about Skye really soon as she starts the next chapter in her life!

Adorable Miss Skye 

Skye and Cameo — First time on pasture 

Skye and Cameo came from an unusual neglect situation in which 39 horses were confined in stalls and not allowed outdoors. Here is a video of Skye and Cameo going out on pasture for the first time at SAFE Harbor. It’s entirely possible that this is something neither have ever experienced. They certainly were very happy to try it out!

Skye and Cameo — Blankets!! 

cameo_skye_04_26_2013_blanketsCongratulations to SAFE trainer Brittney Stewart for successfully blanketing Cameo and Skye for the the first time today! Yes, warmer weather is right around the corner, but we take these little triumphs when they come. Good girls!!

Skye & Logan Updates 

Brittney has been putting in a lot of time working with Skye and Logan, the new intakes who are at SAFE Harbor Stables. (Chip is at NWESC awaiting his gelding surgery and Cameo is still at Frontier Park). Here’s what she’s has to say about how each of them are doing:

Skye Update:

She is improving and is very smart, but should only be handled by very experienced handlers at this point. She easily spooks and swings her barrel towards you. For instance, Velcro on my coat set her off, but I then purposefully did it over and over again until she settled. The sign on her door was flapping in the wind while we were walking and she took a step towards me, but was EASY to get out of my GIANT 4′ bubble. However I am paying 100% attention to her and she must stay off of me or I turn into scary woman (it doesn’t take much to scare her, just widening my arms and flicking the rope a bit does the trick). She’s curious enough to want to interact and does enjoy either scratches or massages when I invite her into my space.

I handled her twice yesterday and 3 times today. At the end, she thought about not going in her stall. I thought I was going to be a hostage in arena with her until hay fell from the sky for dinner, but we had a stand-off and she gave in pretty quickly. I LOVE the rope halter for the ability to put pressure on the poll.

Logan Update:

Logan takes a little bit of effort to be haltered, which is interesting, because Skye is now easier to halter than Logan. So far, Logan is mainly good once the halter goes on him, but as you would expect he’s a little nervous. He hasn’t done anything, but he is nervous and until we know more about him, we need to be very careful about who handles him.

He is a very sweet horse and enjoys people, but is a little bit herd bound to Skye. At this point in time, though, I think he’d be that way no matter who was put next to him.

New horses at SAFE 

SAFE has agreed to take four of the horses that were seized by Pierce County Animal Control in late September 2012 from a property in Graham, WA. Three of the horses were transported to SAFE and NWESC today; the fourth is currently still at Frontier Park where PCAC has been housing the horses from this seizure.

Conditions at the Graham property

According to the Pierce County prosecutor’s office, the horses were discovered when a DEA agent came onto the property to serve a search warrant. The agent contacted Pierce County Animal Control who found 39 horses, including ten stallions, living in deplorable conditions in three run down barns and outdoor paddocks. The horses were living in stalls with “excessive accumulations of feces and urine” and shelters containing piles of manure one to two feet high. Some of the horses were underweight, and many of them were suffering from severe and painful medical conditions brought on by their neglect. The majority of the horses appear to have had very little handling, and were difficult to even put halters on. They were also suffering from a lack of hoof care, dental care, and other necessary vet care.

The horses were taken to Frontier Park in Graham, where they were cared for and given medical treatment. The defendant petitioned for the return of his horses, and on November 9, a District Court judge allowed the return of 11 horses, based on evidence that he had sufficiently cleaned and repaired enough of the property to accommodate them. The remaining horses became the property of Pierce County on December 10. Eight horses were humanely euthanized by PCAC, five due to medical conditions and three due to dangerous behavior.

After careful consideration, multiple visits to Frontier Park, and consultation with the Animal Control officers and the veterinarian on the case, SAFE elected to take four of the remaining horses.

Chip, prior to AC seizure

Chip is an 18 year old Arab/Appy stallion. He is a strikingly beautiful horse with unusual coloring — he’s registered as a chestnut, but he’s greyed out in a very attractive fashion. Chip was delivered to NWESC this afternoon where he will be gelded. He’s a fairly personable horse who responds to pressure, picks up his feet when asked, etc. He’s also a pretty lovely mover! We have high hopes for this boy. Click here to see more photos of Chip.

Logan is a 17 year old Arab gelding, who has a large rectal polyp that has caused him a great deal of discomfort and pain for quite some time. Logan is scheduled to undergo surgery at Pilchuck Vet Hospital on Thursday to have this polyp removed. It is the hope of everyone involved that the growth can be successfully removed because Logan is a really sweet horse who deserves to be comfortable. He’s gentle and really appears to want to trust and connect with someone, but right now he’s still pretty fearful.

Skye is a 7 year old half Arab, half draft mare who is built like a tank. She’s already at SAFE Harbor, and she’s having a little trouble overcoming her fear and confusion at being in a new place and adjusting to having a stall with access to a paddock. Fortunately she is being cared for by kind and patient people who are letting her take the “baby steps” she needs. With lots and lots of consistent handling, we think she will come around.

Cameo is a 4 year old Arab mare. Like the others, she is shy and nervous, but she appears to want to trust. She’s had a corneal scratch which required daily eye ointment so her opinion of humans may be a little strained at the moment, but she’s another horse that we think will come around with time.

Pierce County is attempting to find adoptive homes for the remaining horses in their care. Unfortunately SAFE is now completely full and unable to take any more. Here is a link to the horses on the Pierce County website.