description: 2005 bay tobiano gaited mare
type of rescue: Animal Control Surrender
intake date: 4/15/2018
adoption date: 3/29/2019
length of time with SAFE: 11 months
ADOPTED!! by Alyssa J of Carlton WA
Tabitha and her herd mate Asha were seized from their owner by animal control officers, who were called to the property by a report of a horse that was down and stuck in mud. When they arrived, they discovered that the horse had been severely starved. They were unable to save that horse, but seized two other mares that were living on the property.
Tabitha had 30 days professional training in late 2018 and was very gentle and easy to handle. She was then ridden extensively at SAFE and received an excellent Horsemanship foundation that helped her develop balance and peace as a riding horse.
She is a sensitive and forward mare with an incredible amount of try and heart, so we were delighted to match her up with Alyssa, who adopted Tabitha–now known as Willa–in March 2019. They hit the trails just in time for a beautiful spring!
We recently received an update from Tabitha’s (now known as Willa) adopter, who tells us that Willa is doing great! She recently lost her old companion, and in the interim while her adopter looks for a new friend for her, has been handling being an only horse very well — it perhaps doesn’t hurt that she has been receiving a lot of attention and care from the neighbors, not to mention treats!
We also asked her adopter a handful of questions about Willa, and here’s what she had to say!
What is your horse’s favorite treat?
What is your horse’s most winning characteristic?
What does your horse like best about YOU?
I let her be her brave, curious, big-feeling self!
We are so pleased to announce the successful adoption of sweet Tabitha, now called Willa by her new family. This mare is in her element, loving long rides on the trails with her owner Alyssa and companionship of her retired 25-year-old draft mare, Ray. She has been busy on many adventures and Alyssa says she is impressed by how calm she was for the transition home. They are having a blast together and Willa has really muscled up and is sporting a very shiny summer coat.
There are many reasons why this adoption has been successful but one of the main reasons is how dedicated Alyssa was to taking the time to get to know her before she took her home. As Alyssa said she “was super grateful to have a ‘toolbox” of exercises to be able to keep her focused on me.” The ease of transition is a direct result of her ability to support Willa in the move which gave her a tremendous amount of comfort in her new surroundings.
SAFE prides our program on matching the right horse and rider. This adoption hits that out of the park! Happy trails to you both and we look forward to hearing about your wonderful journey together!
Tabitha came to SAFE in April of 2018 from a situation of extreme neglect. She currently in excellent health and SAFE has gotten her up to date on all vaccines, dental and farrier work. She has been a very easy to handle for our volunteers, vets, and farriers. Tabitha loads and trailers very well, she has no vices, and has gentle ground manners.
SAFE was unsure about her training background so we began with the basics in our horsemanship program. Tabby is a very forward mare with a lot of life. We have taken things slowly to gain her confidence, trust, and build her physical strength to become a riding horse. Tabitha is sound but does best with front shoes or boots while working. We have ridden her in the arena, around the property, and out on a short trail ride with buddies. She did very well and over time will relax as a trail horse. Until she has more miles out on trails, she could use the support of a steady buddy.
We have been working on helping Tabitha find balance while carrying a rider. We have seen a good amount of changes in her relaxation since getting started and she continues to improve with consistent work. She is best suited for an advanced beginner or intermediate level rider. She is a sensitive horse and it takes very little to get her moving. If she is adopted to a more novice rider, it would be helpful to have access to a trainer to help continue her education. Every ride on this mare gets better and better and she is a joy to work with.
Tabitha is dominant in a herd setting and does well turned out with submissive mares. She takes a little time getting used to new friends but once they are bonded, she enjoys their companionship. We are accepting applications now. Please fill out our online application. Tabitha is a kind and loving mare. She is ready to find her perfect match and a family of her own.
Terry took Tabitha in the riding sessions of the Joel Conner clinic. Here’s her report:
I really like this mare!! Every ride is better than the last and she is changing so quickly. Her ground manners are impeccable and she is safe enough for anyone to handle. She no issues standing tied, picking hooves, grooming, saddling, standing for the farrier, or getting vaccines. There really isn’t a bad thing I can say about her.
She did amazingly well in her first riding clinic with Joel Conner. She was settled and ready to work each day. Joel helped me smooth out the half circle exercise. Tabby started out drifting too much with the front and not fully yielding her hind up under herself. She’d also rush to bring the front over. Slowing things down and helping her think through rather than racing is a big help. Since the clinic, we’ve been working on this and it’s like night and day. She now can make it around with the hind quarters then front quarters more balanced and smooth. Another exercise that’s working well is figure eights. We were doing these before the clinic but Joel pointed out that figure eights are essential for developing balance. We are doing this at both the walk and trot. Once again, slowing things down and helping her find balance and peace are making a huge difference in her demeanor under saddle.
It’s very clear when Tabi is balanced and relaxed. Her neck lengthens and her shoulder motion is free and soft. She also lets out about a dozen deep relaxing blows and really gets comfortable to sit on. Our big goal for the clinic was learning to get her gait smooth and lined out. Joel rode her a bit to show us how to accomplish this. We’ve worked on it since the clinic and things are going great. She is finding balance in the trot to canter transition and I am working on timing to support her. When she is right, she is a very smooth ride. All Tabi needs is miles to strengthen and confirm the good things we are putting together!
We’ve been taking light hacks around the property. So far she is very brave and not worried about being alone. I’m looking forward to getting her out on the trails in the next few weeks…I have a feeling she is going to shine!
Gallery photos (click to view):
Tabitha has completed 30 days of training to restart her with Benjamin Hannan. She was ground worked at SAFE and Joel Conner put the first 3 rides on her. After seeing that she was a bit troubled with a rider, we felt it was best for her to go to Ben for a solid month of professional training before making her available for adoption. Throughout the month we consistently received good reports on her progress. She was ridden outside and even went out and herded other horses in off the fields. As Ben put it: he would be very comfortable taking her out and doing a job with her right now, whether that would be at a branding, moving cattle, or simply out on a ranch checking fences. She has a good mind, wants to please, and is eager to answer what is being asked of her.
Tabitha is back home now and we’ve let her settle back into the routine at Safe Harbor. She and Asha found each other again and there was lots of talking and calling out to each other. Overall she seems happy and relaxed to be back home. Terry has been able to ride her a few times but she’s kept the work light due to the poor air quality in our area the past few days. From what she’s observed, Tabby is very sensitive, has a lot of try and forward thinking. Terry spent a great deal of their first sessions getting her to relax with a new rider and not to worry that she would get her into any jams. Each day she showed a great amount of improvement and they carried over to the next sessions. She is a very rewarding horse to work with because of the amount of change coming through in each session.
It will be a little time before we take her out on the trails but with a buddy horse along we think she will do great. We are picking up where Ben left off and will continue what he started getting her freed up in the front end and more balanced off of her forehand, One thing we would really like to see is her hooking into “feel” more for downward transitions. If she can listen to her rider’s energy and come down to a walk and halt when they relax, she will have made a huge leap forward in her trust of people and partnership with her handlers. This is something Terry worked on with her before she went to Ben’s in the round pen and at liberty. In the beginning she was so panicked, she couldn’t feel of a request to stop. It isn’t surprising this is something she struggles with as a riding horse as well. Small changes everyday are leading to a transform in her relationship with people. We have high hopes this mare will make it and will soon be ready to partner up with a new owner. We are taking applications now. She is currently appropriate for an intermediate rider who can continue to support her as a green riding horse.
Tabitha just got a status update from “Prospect” to “Riding Horse”!! She’s spent the past couple weeks making that transition, thanks to our good friend, horseman Ben Hannan. Here’s a video that Ben shared with us last week. We’re really proud of this lovely mare and feeling very optimistic about finding her the perfect home!
Two approaches to finally being back out on the grass again: 1) Asha: commence eating and don’t let anyone distract you. 2) Tabitha: run circles around your friend because it feels so good to be outside!
Thank you to Jessica Farren for these photos of Asha and Tabitha:
SAFE took in two new horses today. Asha and Tabitha were seized from their owner by Animal Control officers who were called to the property by a report of a horse that was down and stuck in mud, but when they arrived, they discovered that the horse had been severely starved. They were unable to save that horse, but seized two other mares that were living on the property.
Asha is about 11 years old, and we’re told she is gaited. Tabitha is approximately 13 years old. Both mares are big bodied and tall, which bodes well for them being adopted as riding horses. They are extremely sweet and kind, but they have a lot of energy!