miniature donkey
COLOR: grey and white MARKINGS:     
YOB: 2011 AGE: 11 yrs old HEIGHT: 8.2 HH WEIGHT: 315 lbs
LOCATION: foster ADOPTION FEE: TBD Online Adoption Application  
SAFE’s first miniature donkey, “El Burro Esparkalo,” or Sparky for short, is an 11 year old gelding who was seized by animal control. We don’t know much about his past, but boy he really is a sweetie. He had a body condition score of 9, so he we put him on a diet and exercise regime, having volunteers walk him throughout the day. His hooves were also very overgrown, and a previous founder left him with some significant rotation (11%), so we worked on getting him back on properly cared for feet. We would challenge anyone to meet this sweet little man and not fall instantly head over hooves for him. He currently is living the good life at foster, making friends (with another donkey, horses, dogs and goats!) eating (and grazing with a grazing muzzle!) and just being a donkey. Sparky will continue to make appearances at SAFE for events. He loves attention and scratches from people and is a perfect ambassador for SAFE.
Sparky Living the Good Life

Sparky Living the Good Life

Who’s that hiding under those luscious locks? None other than Sparky, of course! Our good friend Candi recently visited Sparky at his loving foster home, and found him to be just as cute as ever. But words aren’t always to be believed, so we had her take some photos as proof.

Sparky is truly living the dream life at Jackie’s ‘slacker camp.’ We miss his sweet hee-haws and kind little eyes here at SAFE on the daily, but we know that he is being given the absolute best care (and companionship!) at his foster home. Candi caught him during his pasture time, where he was happy as.. well, a donkey on grass! We are always careful to monitor the grass consumption of our equines, especially our little ones, so rest assured that Sparky is always given his fair share without going over the limit.

Sparky will be returning for Heart of the Horse this July, and he might come with a special guest in tow… stay tuned.

Check in with Sparky

Check in with Sparky

Who has the better life? Sparky or Jackie, our wonderful foster mom and volunteer holding the brush? It’s very hard to say because the level of cuteness oozing from this video should make everyone jealous that Jackie can do this everyday. To quote her “This might be why things on my to-do list don’t get done.”

But of course, truth be told, Sparky is living a fantastic life surrounded by friends, both four legged and two legged. We are thrilled to see him thriving at Slacker Camp and look forward to seeing him at our next Open House on April 22nd.

Sparky’s New Friends

Sparky’s New Friends

Since Sparky arrived last May, we’ve tried pairing him with a few friends for company. At first it was Ruckus, a pony, but he was adopted shortly after we paired them up. Then we tried our minis, Sunny and Shasta, but they had their routines and little home and decided they weren’t keen on sharing it with the new guy just yet. Sebastian was the first horse we introduced, because of his gentle nature and easy going attitude, we were hopeful, but the two just seemed to ignore each other.

Then one of our long term fosters (and volunteers!) offered her home as an option. Jackie has horses, ponies, dogs, goats and most importantly, another donkey. So Sparky headed to Slacker Camp, as Jackie calls it, to search for a friend and a little more fun.

When Sparky first stepped off the trailer and towards his new life, Odie the donkey, let out a huge HEE-HAW! Sparky’s pace quickened and he let out a little squeak. The two met through the fence with no drama and now Sparky gets to spend his time with multiple friends. We all would be so lucky to live at Slacker Camp and just get to be ourselves, hanging out with friends, just eating and sleeping. Sparky will still make appearances for events, he really seems to enjoy the human interaction and scratches. In between his public appearances for SAFE he will get to live the good life at Slacker Camp, making the rest of us very jealous. A big thank you to Jackie for providing a loving and caring home for our little El Burro Esparkalo. We know he is in the most excellent (and fun!) hands.


Rodeo Fundraising Results

Rodeo Fundraising Results

Written by our volunteer, Debbie Meyer.

As you may have heard by now, this year’s Heart of the Horse fundraiser was a huge success, raising an all-time high of $320,000! Most of that money was raised at the Heart of the Horse Barn Party. However, contributing to the overall total was the online Silent Auction which brought in over $18,000 and the results of the volunteers’ Sweethearts of the Rodeo competition for Rodeo Queen, Rodeo King and Rodeo Clown which drove over $48,000, exceeding its goal of $40,000!   

While the competition results were announced and a coronation ceremony had for Rodeo Queen SHASTA, Rodeo King DOMINO and Rodeo Clown SPARKY, we wanted to thank everyone who made a donation to the team of their favorite SAFE horse and to those who also asked others to join you in doing the same. In the end, all the money raised by this friendly competition helped all the SAFE horses so everyone won!   

However and now that the dust has settled over the Sweethearts of the Rodeo, we thought it would be fun to share some “behind-the-scenes” insight into the category wins … 

Debbie Meyer with Queen Shasta

Rodeo QUEEN: 

  • Total amount raised $27,000! 
  • Team Shasta drove $12,350 from 48 donations in a come-from-behind win. 
  • Team Esme drove $10,325 from 17 donations, graciously accepting 2nd Place after Shasta passionately pointed out in her video, “Esme is the perfect Princess, but I am the better Queen!” 
  • Team Pepper drove $2,500 from 2 donations. 
  • Teams Darla, Valentine, Nova, Tanis and Jill drove $1,825 from 23 donations. 

Trela Herman with King Domino

Rodeo KING:

  • Total amount raised $18, 198! 
  • Team Domino drove $2,395 from 19 donations and another $1,930 from a Facebook Fundraiser in a neck-to-neck race with Cramer until the end. 
  • Team Cameron drove $3,750 from 11 donations, sneaking into 2nd Place at the very end. 
  • Team Cramer drove $3,523 from 46 donations. 
  • Teams Artie, Owen, Edward and Mac drove $6,600 from 45 donations. 

Rodeo Clown Sparky with Lisa Schildt

Rodeo CLOWN:

  • Total amount raised $2,870! 
  • Team Sparky drove $1,030 from 19 donations and was the one to beat from the beginning. 
  • Team Ruckus drove $675 from 5 donations but had already “won” by being adopted into a loving family at the start of the competition! 
  • Team George drove $465 from 8 donations. 
  • Teams Sunny D and Otto drove $800 from 8 donations and Sunny assured us he did not mind losing as long as his Mama won Rodeo Queen! 

The $$ amounts are certainly impressive, but so are the over 250 individuals and businesses who contributed, many of whom were not even aware of SAFE before your asks. Not only was a lot of money raised, at least one new volunteer also was recruited in the process! So … whether you reached out via social media or the “old-fashioned” way of asking in person or calling/emailing and then following up, as needed … THANK YOU from SAFE management, staff and most importantly … ALL the SAFE horses! 

Sparky-ing Joy

Sparky-ing Joy

The novelty of meeting new horses as they come through the gates of SAFE never gets old. The horse person in all of us lights up with every new arrival — each new equine could be the very first one we’ve ever met, considering the way we act. And not to say that the sense of joy and wonder isn’t always present when our new residents become a bit more tenured, but acclimation is bound to happen.Until Sparky.Sparky sparks fresh joy each time we lay eyes upon him, and it sometimes seems that the feeling goes both ways. As you approach his paddock, it’s common to hear a hee-haw, enticing you closer. While he certainly enjoys his mealtimes, he seems equally if not more delighted by human companionship.When he first came off the trailer, his demeanor was subdued. He’s naturally of a stoic nature, but there was something a little shut down about him. This is not an uncommon phenomenon — one of the pleasures of SAFE is to watch as horses blossom with life as they settle in. We waited with bated breath to hear his first hee-haw, and when we finally did, reacted with the same glee as hearing a baby’s first word. Now that he’s found his voice, Sparky makes sure you can hear it!Sparky is a friend to everyone. With his gentle eyes and sweet personality, he draws the admiration of everyone on two legs. His own interest in people may stem from his selfish desires, because he knows exactly where he likes to be scratched (on the neck, thank you very much!) and that humans have hands very much suited for such a task, but regardless, it feels rather nice to be drawn in by his donkey siren song (and boy does it work like a charm).  At our most recent open house, Sparky acted as ambassador, making his rounds and greeting guests. He handled the barrage of children (and adults!) who wanted to say hello like an absolute champ, and seemed almost sad to be put back in his paddock at the end of it all.He has also made a horse friend in Ruckus, who he shares a turnout space with during the day. The two are mostly quiet companions, but will occasionally share a roll together, and when Ruckus comes out from his stall in the morning, Sparky is waiting at the gate for his buddy.There may come a day when the mere sight of Sparky no longer elicits oohs and aahs, but in the meantime, he will continue to draw a chorus wherever he goes.

Welcome Ezra and Sparky!

Welcome Ezra and Sparky!

Two new equines arrived at SAFE last week, both from Animal Control seizures. Welcome Ezra and Sparky!

Ezra is a very handsome grey 20 year old Arabian gelding. He can be haltered and led but has never been ridden. Ezra is a sweet guy who enjoys the finer things in life…like his haystack/senior mashes and getting those good scratches (beneath his mane is real sweet spot!). He basically has no grinding surface on his teeth, so like our other Arabian beau Cameron, Ezra is on a grain-only diet. He also has Cushing’s, which he is being treated for. He’s pretty thin, and his hooves are in rough shape, but it’s going to be a pleasure watching this regal man blossom.

SAFE’s first miniature donkey, “El Burro Esparkalo,” or Sparky for short, is an 11 year old gelding. He has a body condition score of 9, which is the highest on the scale, so he will be on a diet and exercise regime for the foreseeable future. His hooves are also very overgrown, and a previous founder left him with some significant rotation (11%), so we’ll also be working on getting him back on properly cared for feet. Sparky is a gentle and sweet soul who has captured the hearts of everyone who has met him. The other horses at SAFE are not quite sure about him, and as he is walked around the property, a lot of staring, snorting, and speeding away takes place in the paddocks as he passes. Eventually they will get used to seeing him, but for now, he causes quite a lot of excitement around the farm.

Here is a video of Sparky and Ezra arriving at SAFE:




Sparky’s Friends:

1. Ann D.

2. Ashley F.

3. Lisa G.

4. Megan K.

5. Susanne M.

6. Debbie M.

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 Sparky!