description: 2002 bay Hanoverian/TB cross gelding
type of rescue: owner/veterinarian surrender
intake date: 10/20/2011
adoption date: 11/22/2014
length of time with SAFE: 3 years, 1 month
ADOPTED!! by Michel H of Lake Tapps WA
Strider’s Story: On August 9, 2011, a barn fire at Dutch Mills Farm left 6 horses dead and 4 badly injured. Strider was one of the horses that survived, suffering burns over his entire topline. After the fire, he was moved to NWESC where he was cared for by Dr Hannah Evergreen. Two months after the tragedy, Strider’s owner, who was facing financial hardship before the fire occurred, was unable to continue to pay for his care. Dr Hannah turned to SAFE for help and in October 2011, SAFE took ownership of this horse.
Strider continued to receive treatment for his burns and his healing progressed up to a point, but by early 2012, it had slowed considerably. In February 2012, Dr Hannah Mueller performed a skin graft procedure to accelerate the healing process. The skin graft was a success and Strider’s back almost completely healed.
Strider found his forever home when he and Skye were adopted together by a family in Lake Tapps WA. They continued caring for his back, and finally reached a point in healing where he could be saddled comfortably. Against all odds, Strider became a riding horse again.
We had the amazing good fortune to visit some old friends recently: Anakin, Kai, Einstein, and the big hoss Strider. All four boys are living the good life in their neighboring adoptive homes. Thank you so much to Barb and Michel for inviting us over! Can’t wait til next time!
Thank you to Lisa Garr for the photos!
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:
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!
It’s the time of year when we like to look upon our blessings and be thankful, and the SAFE family has so much to be thankful for. Many of our blessings walk on four feet, and some are bigger than others, but none are bigger than Strider, who gives us 18 hands of handsome horse to be thankful for.
We are thankful that Strider survived the horrific barn fire that took the lives of four other horses.
We are thankful for Dr Hannah Mueller and her team at NWESC who nursed Strider through the worst of his injuries and donated countless hours of care, including a skin graft procedure to aid in the healing process.
We are thankful that SAFE was able to take Strider in, during the darkest hours of his need, and to all those who gave to our Vet Care Fund to help with his rehabilitation.
We are thankful that through the treatments and care, Strider always seemed to understand that we were trying to help him, and blessed us with his kindness and cooperation.
We are thankful for the time spent with Strider, and the way he seemed able to look straight into your soul and ease whatever pain found hiding in there.
We are thankful for two amazing foster “moms” — Sheridan and Heather — who opened their hearts to Strider and gave him a safe place to live when he needed one.
But most of all, we are so incredibly thankful to finally be able to tell you that yesterday, Strider loaded up into a trailer and headed off to his new home.
Strider has been adopted.
Congratulations to Corrine and her mom, Michel, who came to SAFE looking for a riding horse*, and left with our biggest and best companion. Strider arrived at his new farm yesterday where he has everything he needs for happiness: large pastures, secure shelter, lots of company, and a family who will love and care for him for the rest of his life. This is something that we have dreamed of for this horse for so long, and now that he’s found his forever home, all we can do is grin ear-to-ear!
We’ve already gotten word from Corrine that Strider is settling in well to his new home: “He would eat for a minute, run for a bit, go back to eating, smell a puppy or a goat, run around, eat. He kept on looking at me like ‘you’re gonna let me into the big pasture tomorrow, right?’ It’s actually really funny because he’s not super interested in the goats, but the goats love him! They stayed at the pasture fence when he ran up to them.” Too cute!
Here are some photos from Strider’s “first day” at his new home:
*More on this later, but let’s just say there is more good news coming your way, SAFE friends!!!!!
I had the pleasure of visiting Strider and Chip at their foster home yesterday. Both boys are looking fabulous and enjoying the onset of sunny weather now that spring is here. Their foster mom, Heather, says that the two of them are best buds, and will stand as close to one another as they can, considering they’re in separate stalls. She can’t really turn them out together, because Strider, who really seems blissfully unaware that he’s gigantic, tends to play a little too rough. But just as good fences make good neighbors, the two of them are close pals.
Strider is a giant, goofy ham who loves attention. He’ll join right in on any conversation that occurs in his presence, as you can see in this video:
Strider’s hind fetlocks are wrapped, because he had to have some proud flesh removed. Strider tends to develop odd little sores on the front of his fetlocks, which don’t always heal that quickly. It’s a bit of a mystery, because Heather says she never sees him lay down, he just rolls. Whatever the reason, Strider is on paddock rest for the next few days while his legs are being treated, so he has a lot of excess energy. Heather says that Strider is amazingly good about letting her wrap and unwrap his legs. This is probably due to all the work that Brittney did last summer with the big guy, when she had an entire daily routine of scrubbing and hosing and wrapping she did with his legs. But Strider is also a sensible horse who understands and appreciates how much everyone tries to make and keep him comfortable.
Heather has been treating his back with mineral oil to keep his skin moist, and I was quite surprised to see how much more hair growth he has now that the last time I saw him. A lot of it is still just peach fuzz, but hair is hair!
Chip is also an amazingly social little guy — once we coaxed him out of his stall, he stood with us while we chatted with a bright and interested look on his face. He loves being petted and touched, and really seems to enjoy the company of people. He’s as handsome as ever. Heather says that Chip is her husband’s favorite and that he sneaks out to the barn to hang out with him!
Here are some photos from the visit:
Strider had to leave his Monroe foster home with Sheridan and Austin with the onset of winter weather, since Sheridan’s barn has still not been rebuilt. We are so fortunate that our good friend Heather, who’s already fostering Chip, offered a place in her lovely barn for Strider to stay the winter. Strider and Chip hit it off immediately, and Heather’s barn cam shows the two friends chatting away long after lights out.
Heather is definitely someone who embraces the holiday spirit, and Chip & Strider both took part in the fun!
We currently have two SAFE horses in need of special foster homes: Strider and Jewel.
StriderWe have been incredibly blessed that Strider was able to spend the summer and fall at the home of our wonderful supporter Sheridan. Not to put too fine a point on it, Sheridan loves Strider. Unfortunately, while her facility was fantastic during drier weather, it is not yet set up to keep him through our soggy winter. She would love to have him back in the early summer when her fields can handle 18 hands of Strider! So we are looking for a temporary foster home for Strider over the winter.
The great news is that Strider’s demeanor and overall happiness greatly improved when he was moved to a place where he is turned out 24/7. Sheridan reports that while she was a bit concerned when she first met him, Strider’s ground manners have been impeccable at her place. He is still a very large, strong horse, who needs a confident handler, but he is much easier to manage when he has plenty of turnout. Sheridan currently has him turned out with her 18 hand gelding Austin, who is the dominant of the two. She thinks that he probably does best with a dominant buddy.
Strider does still have a few special needs. The burns on his back still require regular conditioning. If he gets a cut or scrap on his limbs, they are slow to heal and can require extra care. Given his difficulties healing, he truly does need to be kept in as mud-free of a situation as possible. He needs to eat from a hay net or a slow feeder or he is prone to wasting hay.
If you have good mud-free turnout space and are comfortable with big horses, this would be a great short-term opportunity to be part of this very special horse’s life. Read more about Strider here.
JewelJewel is about as different from Strider as you can get! She’s a coming-three year old filly. At intake, we originally believed she was a yearling, but her teeth and the fact she has started cycling indicates she was probably closer to two years old then. She is still a very small filly, and we would like to give her as much opportunity to grow as possible before starting her training.
Jewel has been in the foster program but has spent the last couple of months at SHS working on her ground manners and being evaluated. Jewel originally had very poor ground manners and distrust of people. While she is still a young horse that requires a competent handler, her ground manners have greatly improved and we would love to get her out of SHS and back in a field where she can mature.
Full disclaimer, in her prior foster home, she was known to kick fences when in close quarters to other horses, but her behavior at SHS has been very good. We would like to get her out in an open space, ideally with some herd mates, to allow her to learn good herd dynamics and simply keep growing up! If you have pasture space available and would be interested in providing a home for our very dainty girl, we’d love to hear from you!
If you have interest in fostering either Strider or Jewel, please contact Kyle at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 206–854‑2168.
Since our move to SAFE Harbor Stables back in July of 2012, life hasn’t been entirely easy for our friend Strider. For several months after the move, the burned area on his back still needed to be protected from sun and rain, so he lived in a covered enclosure next to the indoor arena, which was good for his healing process but hard because he had no nearby neighbors to socialize with up close. When we were able to move him into the main barn, he immediately became much happier with friends on either side of him and lots of activity around him, but living in a stall with an attached gravel run proved to be a little small for a horse his size. Strider developed recurring leg & hoof problems, including pressure sores, proud flesh, abscesses, stocking up, and even a small bout of cellulitis. His daily routine at one point included unwrapping, debriding, cold hosing, scrubbing, rinsing, treating with ointment, and wrapping all four legs. And through we’ve done our best to get him exercise and turnout, it just wasn’t enough to keep his legs working properly.
SAFE Harbor Stables is a wonderful facility for us, and we love being in the heart of Woodinville, surrounded by our super supportive neighbors. We love the barns and the arenas. But what SAFE Harbor lacks is pasture space — there is some, but the horses each only get a few hours per day to be out on grass in the summer time. And for a horse the size of Strider, it’s difficult on his body to be on limited turnout. So we’ve been hoping and praying for a foster home or adopter to come along and offer this big guy a better living situation that what we’re currently able to provide. And we are so happy to announce that our prayers were answered.
Our good friend and long-time supporter, Sheridan Jones (recently seen on this KOMO news story about her SAFE horse Corona) has a nice horse property in Monroe where she keeps her two horses, Corona and Austin. But Corona is headed off on the Hunter/Jumper show circuit this summer, meaning that Austin was going to be occupying his big grass pasture all alone. So when Sheridan heard about Strider’s needs, she immediately offered to let us keep him at her place for at least the rest of the summer. Sheridan picked Strider up on Monday and he’s spent the week side by side with Austin, enjoying the grass and sunshine. The two big geldings get along great. “They are ADORABLE with each other,” Sheridan reports, “and Austin is so happy to have a friend. He and Strider seem perfectly suited for each other. They were happily sharing a slow feeder last night, and Austin NEVER shares food. I think they respect each others’ size, and are probably sharing scary fire stories too.”
Sheridan’s comment about “fire stories” refers to the fact that she and Austin and Corona also had a brush with danger when their barn caught fire and burned to the ground last year. Fortunately for Sheridan, she was able to get the horses out safely just as the fire was started, but it was still a traumatic experience for everyone, as you might expect. Sheridan says she has felt a connection with Strider ever since the fire, and has followed his story closely. It’s something that she and the big horse have in common, and who knows, maybe they can help each other continue to heal and grow from their shared experiences.
Strider will be able to stay with Sheridan and Austin at least until the end of the summer. Once wet weather arrives, Sheridan’s pastures may not be able to sustain the two horses, and at this point she doesn’t know if her barn will be rebuilt in time for winter or not. But at the very least, Strider is living the life that we’ve dreamed of for him, grass to eat and lie down in, sunshine, and a good friend. The happiest update we could share would be that Strider was adopted into the perfect home, and we know that someday that will happen. This is the second happiest update, and it’s a pretty incredibly happy one! Thank you to Sheridan and Austin for opening your hearts and home for the magnificent Strider!
Strider has been puzzling us for months with an on-again-off-again urinary tract issue. His only symptom was random bouts of leaking urine. Sometimes he would “dribble” significant amounts of urine, splashing himself and making a mess of his stall. Other times, he would go outside, stretch out and relieve himself with a completely normal urine stream. Each time the unusual urine dribbling was observed, Strider would have no fever, be in good spirits and eating normally.
Our veterinarian recommended a urinalysis to check for the possibility of infection or stones. This proved VERY challenging as Mr. Strider is a gentleman with a healthy dose of modesty. He refused to cooperate when anyone was near him with a collection container.
After some time of trying to catch a urine sample randomly, we found a generous volunteer who was willing to sit in his stall for however many hours it took to convince him to pee in the cup! Patience won out, and a sample was sent to the lab. We had high hopes that the results would provide the answer to this mystery.
Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending how you look at it) the urinalysis came back completely normal, with no indications of either a stone or an infection. While we were relieved, we still did not have an answer.
After multiple volunteers reported they were seeing the dribbling, we began to notice a pattern. It almost always occurred as the volunteers were feeding. Up to this point, Strider’s stall was a fairly constant wet mess. An experiment was conducted to determine if Strider was continually “leaking” urine, or only at feeding time. We moved his slow feeder outside, so eating did not occur in the stall. It quickly became clear that all urine dribbling was now happening outside…and that the bouts of dribbling were directly related to feeding time.
Strider’s stall now remains clean and dry nearly all of the time, which seems to indicate he is not experiencing an incontinence issue. Due to the complete absence of other symptoms along with the negative lab results, we have come to the conclusion that this is a behavioral condition. After sharing the story with a few people, we started hearing about other horses who have a conditioned response and dribble urine at feeding time. So for now, we’re considering this mystery solved and chalking this up to just another unique aspect of Strider’s very special personality.
Here are some photos of Strider taken last week. He’s not a happy camper because his front foot hurts. We’re still treating it as an abscess with soaking and wrapping. At least he is a good boy for that!
These photos of Strider were taken by SAFE volunteer Kyrany, who we thank most sincerely for letting us use them!
Strider’s legs are looking better these days, thanks to Brittney’s hard work of daily wrapping and scrubbing and rinsing. Strider stands patiently for her while she works on him, even when it hurts. Afterwards he gets his turn in the pasture, but he’ll always stop eating to come over to say hello.
Strider always enjoys himself on SAFE Open House days, and this past weekend was no exception. He likes meeting new people and listening to them rave about how big he is and how handsome. We’re happy to report that his cellulitus has gone away, but he’s still battling proud flesh and pressure sores. He’s also having another flare up of a problem that we’ve seen on and off for almost a year now that we’ve come to think of as incontinence…he urinates small amounts and does not seem to have control over it. It’s usually accompanied by a slight swelling of his sheath, and we have been unsuccessful trying to figure out what is wrong with him. His back is looking pretty good, and he enjoyed the periods of sunny weather that we saw on Sunday.
Strider has apparently had issues with pressure sores on his fetlocks long before coming to SAFE, and no matter how deeply bedded his stall, the small sores persisted. Recently he’s developed some proud flesh at the site of one of the sores on his hind leg, and so Brittney has been making a valiant effort to treat the problem. This involves a daily routine of unwrapping his bandages from the day before and removing the scabby bits (something Strider apparently enjoys doing himself…ew!) then taking him outside for a session of lunging and cold hosing to reduce swelling, and then a good scrub to all four fetlocks with Betadine. Then his legs have to be given time to dry completely before Brittney can treat the pressure sores with neosporin and the proudflesh with ProudsOff and rebandage all four legs with standing wraps. Strider is a great patient, but you have to admit, that’s a lot of work!
But despite all this effort, the proudflesh hasn’t been healing as well as Brittney would like it to. And this past weekend, Strider’s leg ballooned to twice its normal size, which meant an emergency vet call to Dr Hannah. She diagnosed him with cellulitis, which is a bacterial infection of the soft connective tissues under the skin. (You can read more about cellulitis here.) Although the leg was quite warm, Strider was not running a fever, but he was immediately put on bute and a course of antibiotics. By the following day, the swelling had gone down quite a bit, so we are guardedly relieved that the worst has passed. But we are quite concerned about the big guy, and we continue to ponder what the future looks like for him.
His back continues to improve, but we still don’t know if he’s really ever going to be able to be ridden again. So what he needs at least for the present is a home that can accomodate a horse of his size — in other words, an experienced horseperson who won’t be intimidated by him, who can safely work with him on the ground, and who can deal with his ongoing medical issues if and when they arise. He’s a very friendly horse who gets along great with other geldings, but a full pasture turnout with other horses might cause recurring injury to the skin on his back so he’d have to be monitored closely and treated as needed. The truth is we don’t know exactly what the perfect home for Strider would look like, but we need to make a concerted effort to figure that out. It’s our wish that the perfect “retirement” type home will come along for Strider so he can move on from the rescue environment and into a setting where he can be more comfortable. Maybe if we all wish together, someone perfect will come along for Strider. He’s a great horse with a heroic heart who has been through so much, and he deserves a place of his own.
So please think good thoughts for our boy to get through this bout of cellulitis and to find his future beyond SAFE.
Strider and Bucky B Lucky have been close friends since Lucky arrived at SAFE Harbor last month. Lucky is a big boy, but Strider makes him look like a pony!
Strider’s story will be featured in an upcoming issue of Pet Connection magazine, in an article written by Dr Hannah Mueller. Our Assistant Herd Health Coordinator Chelsey Braswell took these photos of Mr Strider a few days ago. Look at his back! It’s almost completely healed!! Way to go, Strider!!
Let’s take a moment to thank someone else who is very special to Strider: SAFE volunteer Sharman! Sharman is not only Strider’s sponsor, contributing $50 per month to his care, but she is usually the one you’ll see caring for the skin along his back. She’s played a big role in his amazing story, and we are very grateful for everything she does for this handsome horse. We are also very excited to announce that Sharman has agreed to become the Assistant Volunteer Coordinator for SAFE.
As Strider’s back gets better, we’re starting to think about what the future might hold for this horse. One thing that a lot of people say after spending time with Strider is that he has an uncanny ability to “connect” with them on a personal level. He has a lot of special friends, and many of them feel that this horse has had a very positive influence on them. When Strider was being cared for at NWESC, he had some opportunity to participate in Equine Facilitated Therapy and Learning, and Dr Eric Mueller PhD remarked that Strider has many qualities that he looks for in a good therapy horse. Strider may have an opportunity to try his hoof at Equine Facilitated Learning next month.…we’ll be sure to keep you posted on how that turns out.
Today, Strider had his first official turnout in SUNLIGHT! His healing has progressed to the point that Dr. Hannah cleared him to begin very brief periods of turnout. We are starting with 30 minutes of exposure for the next few days. We will be closely monitoring the healed area to be sure that there is no negative reaction. Strider seemed quite happy to be out enjoying the glorious sunshine after nearly a year under constant cover. I hope you will join us in celebrating his amazing recovery. Thank you to our supporters who donated to Strider’s medical care and made this moment possible.
Strider is settling in at SAFE, making new friends. In the photos you see below, the holes on his back are skin grafts. They started out as tiny spots and after two months are the size of dimes. They will continue to expand out and hopefully fill out the unhealed area.
After 7 months at NWESC, Strider has finally been released to SAFE. He still requires daily treatment of his wound area, we are going to be able to handle it ourselves. We’re thrilled to have the big guy at the SAFE farm.
Seven days after after Strider’s skin graft procedure, Hannah removed the bandages to take a look. Strider has been a good boy, even though his banadages are itchy. It will be a bit more time before we know if it worked, but so far so good. Keep Strider in your thoughts.
Strider is resting comfortably tonight after a three-hour skin graft procedure.
Last August, Strider survived a fire that destroyed the barn at Dutch Mill Farm and killed 6 other horses. He was badly burned all across his back. Since the fire, he’s been treated with daily debriding and lotions, and while he made good progress initially, over the last few months, his healing has slowed. To jumpstart Strider’s healing process, Dr Hannah Evergreen recommended we try a skin graft, a fairly unusual process for equines but one that is used quite often in humans to treat nonhealing wounds and burns.
Yesterday Strider underwent a procedure to remove the unhealed skin from his burns in preparation for today’s skin graft. Strider began his day today with a healing energy work session, followed by the three hour skin graft procedure. Skin grafts were taken from donor sites on Strider’s belly and chest and implanted into the burned areas. Now we wait to see if the grafts are accepted and hope that this procedure accelerates the healing process.
Strider is a brave and beautiful horse who has lived through a horrible tragedy. We hope that this procedure puts him back on the road to good health. Our sincere thanks to Dr Evergreen and her staff at Evergreen Holistic Vet Care for treating Strider, and to the kind people who donated to SAFE to help with Strider’s medical expenses.
Strider displayed his exceptionally personable and playful nature for the volunteers, attempting to steal a sip of SAFE President Jaime Taft’s mocha! The volunteers were there to learn about Strider’s daily care in preparation for the possibility of eventually moving him out of the hospital setting and transferring him to the SAFE farm. We will continue to keep you updated on his progress.
SAFE has taken ownership of Dutch Mills Farm barn fire survivor Strider. Strider’s owner had been facing financial difficulties before the fire took place, and had been trying to rehome this horse. Since the fire, Strider’s owner has faced enormous vet bills for his care, and unfortunately he was not insured. He is looking at several more months of care, and she can no longer afford it. SAFE was asked by Dr Hannah Evergreen to take on responsibility for her client so that his care and rehabilitation could continue. It is still uncertain if Strider will ever be able to be ridden, but it is our hope that if he cannot, that we can help him find a new career once he’s ready.
Strider had been competing in Jumpers on the local show circuit prior to the fire. Here’s a photo from his days as a show jumper.