2021 QH-type Gelding

Suitability: Advanced Rider (Green Horse)

Color: Palomino
Markings: blaze, (4) stockings
Height: 13.3 hh
Weight: 617 lbs
Adoption Fee: $5,000 (will increase with training)

Theo was part of a larger animal control seizure out of Island County, and one of SAFE’s first intakes of 2024. Theo is a young lad, under three, and quite handsome to boot! He arrived at SAFE a stallion, and was gelded shortly after his arrival.

This cutie is already making great strides in our training program, and has been started under saddle, where he is making great progress. He is truly a pleasure to have in class. When not in learning mode, Theo enjoys taking lots of naps and hanging out with his gelding buddies.

Online Adoption Application




March Joel Conner Clinic Report: Theo

March Joel Conner Clinic Report: Theo 

As a young guy just starting out in our training program, the goal for Theo is to keep things light. We’re working to develop his balance and strengthen his confidence while wearing the saddle. Theo continues to get softer and is showing great improvement with connection, feeling, and responsiveness.

Theo is a naturally gentle young fellow, but when we started working with him, he also seemed rather “dull.” His feet seemed “stuck” which was indicative of some traces of insecurity and reluctance inside him. So first, we had to help him free up his feet and realize that he can move in any direction. This is a very important step that needed to happen before we started saddling him. His first rides will be so much more successful if he’s not holding any trouble bottled up inside.

During this part of his education, it’s important to help Theo explore moving in balance, as well as changing eyes on his handler and the flag or rope. We’re seeing him turn loose to these movements, which is very promising. Theo, being so young, is a bit of a blank slate because he doesn’t have bad experiences or bad habits that need to be rewritten. He has an untroubled mind and a natural aptitude for the work, which makes him a pleasure to work with. Still, it’s important to lay a solid foundation, which is a responsibility we take very seriously.

Moving forward, we’ll continue to expose Theo to a broader range of experiences and give him plenty of time to adjust to wearing the saddle before attempting any rides. He is young and time is on our side to help him have an untroubled start. We have another 5‑day training week in May where we will have our friend Joel Conner on site to oversee Theo’s first rides, and offer a valuable layer of support and expertise.

Theo’s First Saddling

Theo’s First Saddling 

Theo wore a saddle for the first time at the end of February. It seems like just a handful of days before that, Theo was having his first groundwork sessions… and that’s because he was. The forward progress of this sweet guy has been swift and easy, making him somewhat of an anomaly amongst the horses we normally work with.

But Theo is a good representation of what a horse without much trouble looks like. He received no bad start, and therefore has no reason to fear or mistrust things like the flag and the rope and the saddle. He is able to look to humans for support, and with a clean slate, is able to start fresh here at SAFE. There are spots in Theo, sure — moments of uncertainty, a minor startle here and there, nothing that you wouldn’t expect in any horse with a beating heart, especially one who is just learning the ropes. But overall, Theo has taken everything we have thrown at him in stride, and is well on his way to becoming a very nice horse.

Theo’s future looks about as bright as the color of his coat, and we are so excited to continue helping this boy through his education!


Theo’s First Groundwork Session

Theo’s First Groundwork Session 

We speak a lot about time here at SAFE — specifically as it relates to giving a horse the hours, weeks, months, years they needs to gain. Gain weight, gain confidence, gain the skills and tools they need to be successful going forward in life, be it as a companion or as a riding horse. This time varies between individuals, but it is tremendously reduced when the horse does not have a lot of trouble, or handling in general, in their background.

Such is the case with Theo, a relatively new addition to our herd, but one who is already showing a great deal of progress in our horsemanship program. Theo came to us as a stallion (since turned gelding) with a great temperament and without a lot of experience. This is really one of the best case scenarios, as it means that his slate is mostly blank, and free to be filled here at SAFE.

Take Theo’s first groundwork session here for example. Aside from the forced exercise following his gelding (30 minutes each day of trotting out loose), we hadn’t done any work with Theo since his arrival. But the beauty of a horse like Theo, who doesn’t have a whole lot of experience, is that his first foray into the round pen could be more about actual learning than about exploring and working to rewrite what he already knows. In Theo’s case, there was a great deal of opportunity for introducing new stimulus and ideas without a lot of drama or fanfare.

Theo’s first session in the round pen was also his first session with the flag, and the rope, and the pad. A rope around the belly or the legs can take some horses many times to get used to, but not Theo, who had barely anything to say about it. There are a few ‘wiggles’ in his cinch area, which you can see when the coils of the rope touch him there, but there is not much that bothers him. Terry bumps Theo up to the panels and gets him used to the idea of having a human above (and on!) him, and while yes, he’s a little bit away from a first ride, that ‘little bit’ is millimeters in the scheme of things, which is a nice change of pace when we are much more accustomed to feet or miles.

We show a lot of groundwork with horses who have a lot of trouble, who take time to work up to being pet with the coils so lackadaisically, who squirt out under the wave of a flag because they misinterpret its meaning, who take time to look like how Theo does in session number one. It is not often that we get a horse like Theo, and we are grateful for the opportunity to help one learn the ropes afresh, without having a whole lot of untangling to do.



Theo is a Gelding!

Theo is a Gelding! 

Following a successful surgery this past Wednesday, Theo made the transformation from handsome stallion into arguably even more handsome gelding. The unseasonably warm weather made it a good day for the procedure, and the cushy footing in the arena made for a pretty good hospital bed. Theo was a great patient, and even had time post-procedure for a snuggle with Dr. Wollman as he woke up from his sedation.

Since the surgery, he has been doing great. He was easygoing as a stallion, and we expect that as a gelding he will be even sweeter — if such a thing is even possible!

Theo’s First Trim

Theo’s First Trim 

This golden boy deserves a star to match his pretty coat for how well he did for his first trim this week! Given his gentle personality and sweet nature, we weren’t too worried, but having your legs handled can be a bit of a challenge for even some of our more seasoned veterans. But not for Theo! He hardly even blinked at the rasp and the stand and the nippers. He sure is a darling!

Introducing Champagne and Theo!

Introducing Champagne and Theo! 

We welcomed two new faces to our herd this week, Theo and Champagne!

As they both arrived at SAFE early in January 2024, they are our little babies ‘New Year.’ The name is quite fitting, for while not technically babies, they are likely both under 4 – close enough. The two were part of a large animal control seizure in Island County, and were held in foster care for almost a year, which is why they look so healthy. They are both stallions, but they’ll be transformed into Happy Geldings on Jan 18th.

The two tow-headed boys (Theo is a palomino, and little Champagne is the same color as his name implies) are both stallions, which they will remain for about a week ahead of their gelding date on the 18th. Both are real sweeties, though Champagne is very nervous around people, and easily spooked. We work daily on helping him get more comfortable being touched and haltered. Yes, he is tremendously cute, but don’t get too attached — there is already an adopter waiting in the wings to help continue Champagne’s gentling journey once he is gelded. What a lucky boy!

Theo is all leg, looking very much his young age (likely under 3). He is an incredibly sweet guy, allowing us to measure him, blanket him, and even wash his hind end (Theo came to us with raging diarrhea, but he’s all better now). His is a mellow personality, though he does call to the pretty ladies as they walk by. Theo will remain in SAFE’s care, where he will continue to grow up and eventually join our horsemanship program.

Both new boys have been dewormed (they both had positive fecal egg counts) and received their first rounds of vaccines, which they took like champs. Ahead of their upcoming gelding, they are settling in well to life at the barn, enjoying their three daily meals and all the love that accompanies being a SAFE horse!











Theo’s Friends:

1. Christine M.

2. Linda K.

3. Keith D.

4. ____________________

5. ____________________

6. ____________________

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 Theo!