How and when did you first get involved with horses?
SAFE is actually my first experience with horses! I have loved them my entire life (they’ve been my favorite animal since I can remember), but I never had the opportunity to be around them. When I moved to Seattle back in 2015, I ran into a childhood friend (from NY where we both were from), who was volunteering at SAFE, and she told me all about this amazing place! It took me a couple years, but I finally reached out and started helping out at safe, fall of 2018…just days before Nova and Rae were born!!
Do you have one now you want to tell us about?
I do not, but plan to adopt companion horses one day, so they can live out their life loved and spoiled, knowing how special and amazing they are.
What do you like most about volunteering with SAFE?
There’s so much I like, but mostly I love and admire the dedication, love and teamwork of everyone here at SAFE. Since becoming a volunteer, I am endlessly inspired by everyone I meet and work with; as we all share the common goal of caring for these sweet horses that have been through so much. So many volunteers (and our small yet mighty staff) show up day after day, loving on every horse, and making sure they are cared for to the best of our abilities (both hands on and behind the scenes). It’s really something special to be part of and warms my heart, while inspiring me to always want to do more and be better.
Do you have a favorite SAFE horse? If so, why?
Ugh, can I check all the boxes on this one? I really love and have a special relationship with every horse here at SAFE, as they are all so unique, each with amazing personalities! Though I must admit my heart has been stolen a couple times by Sienna and the late Valor.
Sienna was a ‘red horse’ when I first started volunteering, (and she had that fiery redhead personality to match). I love her strength and how I have seen her gentle over the last couple of years. I see Sienna as a horse who is aware of how strong she is (mentally and physically), yet is kind, gentle and has a heart of gold. I remember the first time I was able to halter and walk her in for the night; I was so excited and a bit nervous. Sienna was so patient with me, we talked the entire walk in and since then have a special bond. I always make sure to visit Sienna before the end of my shift to wish her sweet dreams. I feel like she is a horse with an old soul and whoever adopts here one day is going to be one lucky person.
I also want to mention Valor, even though he is not with us anymore. I think everyone loved this gelding. He was so handsome, smart, and such a flirt. He loved to make me laugh while I was cleaning his paddock or walking him in for the night. His favorite thing to do was play with the brim of my hat, or try to get my nametag. He was that friend that filled your heart with joy each time you saw him, as he was so gentle and loving, with the perfect amount of goofiness. Valor was a horse who loved to see (and make) others happy and was a horse that really taught you to be in the moment and to just enjoy life. I’m so thankful for the time I had to get to know him, and the love, care and friendship we shared.
What do you do when you are not horsing around with us?
I’m kind of in love with plants. I am currently finishing up my Bachelor of Science Degree in Herbal Sciences from Bastyr University. This keeps me so busy (graduation day is June 21st 2021, yay!). I am also an apprentice to a shamanic herbalist on Whidbey Island, and spend one weekend a month learning from her and the plants on her land. Outside of school, my partner and I have 2 furkids of our own, Winston the chihuahua (who’s my soul dog), and Osito, our kitty who was born without a tail and thinks he’s a dog. We try to do easy hiking adventures (yes the cat comes) when I’m not too bogged down with school work, and enjoy daily neighborhood walks together. Besides that, I am working on growing my first medicinal plant garden (this is its second growing year), and I make lots of plant medicines (some turn out great, others were a great learning experience). I love playing my steel tongue drum, and once I graduate plan to start learning the ukulele.
Do you have family or special people in your life who support your volunteer work that you would want us to mention in your write up?
My partner Nikolas (Nik) is so supportive of my time at SAFE, he says I’m always glowing when I get home from my chore shift. Since I started Night Check shifts, he comes with me. He originally said so I wouldn’t be alone at the barn at night, but I know it’s really because he wanted to see what all the fun was about! He never met a horse before, and since coming along with me, loves them and is looking forward to us adopting a few horses one day. My family in NY is also very supportive, they never seem to tire from all my texts and talking about SAFE and our amazing horses, and always help out when they can during fundraisers. I really appreciate them all, every little bit of support helps!