Volunteers of the Month

SAFE is incredibly fortunate to have such amazing volunteers. Each month, we select two exceptional volunteers to honor as our Volunteers of the Month. We ask them to share their stories, including why they decided to start volunteering at SAFE and who their favorite SAFE horses are. It’s a unique insight into what its like to volunteer here. Click here if you’d like to learn more about our volunteer program.

January Volunteers of the Month: Leigh Mackey and Phoebe Trocano

Our amazing corps of volunteers has grown and there aren’t nearly enough months in the year to recognize all of their hard work. So in 2019, we will be spotlighting two tremendous volunteers per month in an attempt to show our gratitude for all they do to make SAFE successful. This month we are pleased to honor shift-lead all-star, Leigh Mackey and

Leigh Mackey, Shift-Lead All-Star
Leigh has been with SAFE since November of 2016 when we were at the Woodinville farm. Leigh quickly demonstrated her reliability, warm nature, and confident skills with the horses. She was part of our original Shift Lead program and helped us make the transition to Redmond. Leigh has put in almost 250 hours of service (that we know of) and she is always happy to train new volunteers on her shift. She has contributed to SAFE all while keeping up a busy horse life of her own. Leigh is a native of Kirkland and currently lives on her own farm in Fall City. Her mom had Arabians when she was young and Leigh began riding at an early age. Leigh has 7 horses at her farm, 5 of which she actively shows. Leigh also volunteers with Serenity Equine Rescue and for WASART (Washington State Animal Response Team). And, if that isn’t enough, she runs a foundation and manages apartments. Leigh loves being at SAFE, surrounded by people who are as passionate about horses as she is. She learns about horse keeping and training from her experiences with us and says she is able to apply that knowledge around her own farm. Leigh admits she has a thing for Arabians, so it makes sense she adores our sassy Cameo. We are thankful Leigh found us and that she continues to make time in her busy life to support us. Congratulations on being a January Volunteer of the Month, Leigh!

Phoebe Trocano, Horsemanship Volunteer
Phoebe is a Southern Louisiana native who currently works with horses in our horsemanship program. She started with SAFE as a chore volunteer in July of 2017 and moved up to Shift Lead before becoming part of the volunteer handlers. Phoebe has clocked over 300 service hours in her year and a half with us. She gives her time taking our SAFE horses in clinics with Joel Conner and in her regular training sessions with horses like Amelia. When she is not helping out at SAFE, Phoebe enjoys working leather and she has created some truly outstanding pieces of tack for SAFE horses and SAFE friends. Phoebe has family in the area and enjoys supporting them and playing with her grandson. Phoebe and her husband, Rick, live in Woodinville, but love spending time at their place in Pateros, WA. What Phoebe enjoys most about volunteering at SAFE is the opportunities to learn. She enjoys the ever-changing challenges of getting to know new horses and work them through their issues. Phoebe also feels warmly welcomed here at SAFE and enjoys her barn family. Thank you, Phoebe, for all you do and congratulations for being chosen a January Volunteer of the Month!

December Volunteer of the Month: Skye Guidotti


SAFE is thrilled to announce our December 2018 Volunteer of the Month, Skye Guidotti. Skye has lived in Seattle for most of her adult life. She remembers falling in love with horses as a child after a memorable pony ride. Her grandfather had horses when she was growing up and she was fortunate to be able to visit his ranch in Oregon and ride his horses. Skye tells a funny story about how her grandfather tricked her parents into getting Skye a horse for her 16th birthday. He took Skye to ride a mare that everyone thought he was buying for himself. When Skye’s birthday came around her grandfather asked her parents how much they were going to pay for SKYE’S horse. She enjoyed horse ownership during high school, but since then she has been horseless. Skye is an artist by training and has created some amazing projects, including a stuffed horse with internal structure capable of holding adult weight. This was a university final project which she had to wheel through the streets of Seattle to get to class. We sure would have loved to see that!

Skye loves all of the SAFE horses, particularly the ones who seem hard to adopt. She admits to being partial to Nashville because she can seem grumpy on the outside, but is a very sweet horse once she gets to know you. Skye is a dependable, smiling face on our Monday crew. She helps with facilities and whatever else needs to be done. She fills in on other shifts and recruits new volunteers through her enthusiastic support of SAFE. We thank Skye for all of her energy and passion.

November Volunteer of the Month: Blair Fleming

SAFE is pleased to announce our November 2018 Volunteer of the Month, Blair Fleming. Blair is a busy gal who recruits new volunteers for SAFE, plans and executes work parties, and works the Friday PM shift, all while working two jobs and putting herself through radiology school. You would never know she leads such a hectic life, as Blair brings immense energy and a sunny disposition to her volunteer work at SAFE. SAFE is so thankful to have this Kirkland native as part of the team.

As a little girl Blair would travel to Montana to visit her family on a ranch. She admits to being completely obsessed with horses and rode bareback as often as she could. Her mother noticed her passion for horses and back in Washington, she signed Blair up for horse camps and riding lessons. She has never had a horse of her own, but she feels fortunate to learn from all of the horses here at SAFE.

Blair has worked with Tabitha and Renee, and loves them both.  She has a hard time picking favorites, but really appreciates all of the horses for their individual traits. Blair feels a special connection to Tabitha, as she notes Tabi has come so far in her time with us. Blair loves seeing Tabi’s confidence and calm grow as her handling has been consistent. Blair is a special light to have here at SAFE. Thank you for your time and energy, Blair!

September Volunteer of the Month: Catherine Noyes

Kirkland resident Catherine Noyes has been named as Save a Forgotten Equine’s September Volunteer of the Month. She was selected for this honor because of her interest in every aspect of horse rescue. Catherine helps with the basics of cleaning up after the horses, feeding, watering, and she participates in every opportunity to learn about natural horsemanship which is practiced at SAFE. She’s cheerful, knowledgeable and a pleasure to have around the barn.

Originally from New Hampshire, Catherine has lived in the Pacific Northwest since 2001. Catherine has always had a pet in her life and feels a special connection with horses, perhaps because her mother and grandmother both grew up with horses.

Volunteering at SAFE for the past 1½ years, Catherine says “I have learned so much about horses and myself. To be a part of the reason these horses get a forever home is great.” One of her favorite SAFE horses is Rosie who was adopted earlier this year. “She taught me so much.” Catherine is also very fond of Renee, a quarter horse mare who is available for adoption. “She is a great teacher as a horse. I’ve learned to be present and strong in myself.”

August Volunteer of the Month: Samantha McMaster

Arlington resident and high school student Samantha (Sam) McMaster has been named as Save a Forgotten Equine’s August Volunteer of the Month. Sam was selected for this honor because this summer, she’s been volunteering almost every day at our farm. She’s done everything from moving horses, to grooming and bathing horses, to feeding them, to cleaning stalls and pastures, to polishing silver on donated pieces of tack. She does it all and without question, just jumps in and gets it done! She’s been a tremendous help; and since she’s a student, she’s going to leave a huge hole to fill when school starts up again.

Originally from eastern Washington, Sam’s in the process of moving to western Washington and currently resides in Arlington. Her first exposure to horses was as a child with an aunt who had horses. Sam has never had her own horse but would love to adopt a horse from SAFE someday.

Sam has been spending the summer with her aunt, who works at SAFE, so Sam comes to work with her every day. Sam loves seeing all the horses and working alongside all the fabulous volunteers. Her favorite SAFE horse is Bowie, a Haflinger gelding, because she “loves all the hugs and kisses he gives me.” When not spending time at SAFE, she spends time with her aunt’s horses.

July Volunteer of the Month: Pat Banner

Redmond resident Pat Banner has been named as Save a Forgotten Equine’s July Volunteer of the Month. She was selected for this honor because of her tireless energy and work ethic, her incredible reliability (unless there’s snow!) and her all round cheerfulness.

Pat Banner is an 84-year-old retired elementary school teacher who taught in Puerto Rico and three different states during her career. After retiring, she moved to Washington where she lives with her rescued blue heeler Kiko.

Not one to let the grass grow under her feet, Pat has stayed busy in retirement. In addition to volunteering at SAFE, she currently volunteers with Sara’s Sanctuary, Evergreen Hospital and Evergreen Hospice. Pat said, “I’m not sure how long I’ve been volunteering with SAFE but I remember the birds nesting in the stable last year so it must be about a year.”

Years ago, when Pat lived in South Lake Tahoe she took riding lessons and was able to have a horse of her own named Easter. When she moved to Redmond she gave Easter to “another lady who needed a horse”. Pat said, “I think horses are beautiful and smart and I’m happy to be around them a little and help make their lives more comfortable…I clean stalls and put clean bedding in.”

“I think everyone who volunteers at SAFE is wonderful. They are so friendly, caring, hard-working and dedicated. It’s an honor to be among such an elite group.”

June Volunteer of the Month: Carolyn Gudmundson

Woodinville resident Carolyn Gudmundson has been named as Save a Forgotten Equine’s June Volunteer of the Month. She was selected for this honor because of all the years she’s helped look after our rescue horses with consistency, with genuine care, and with absolute gusto. Carolyn is a workhorse, a go-getter and a tireless leader of her crew team. She’s been an amazing, long-time asset to SAFE.

Carolyn was looking for an opportunity to work with animals again after leaving work as a biologist when her youngest son was born. She saw SAFE’s location and thought it sounded interesting. Carolyn began volunteering with SAFE in the fall of 2015, after her youngest son started Kindergarten.

Carolyn has seen a lot of horses come and go during her time at SAFE. It’s hard to choose a favorite, but one that sticks out in her mind is Emmy.  “My first day volunteering at SAFE I went in to clean Emmy’s stall and paddock. I had a pair of leather gloves in the back pocket of my pants. Emmy thought they were quite intriguing and followed me around the paddock while I cleaned, trying to nibble on the gloves. It was a fun way to begin my time at SAFE.”

“I’ve felt blessed to be a part of the amazing team of volunteers at SAFE. Much of the work is thankless, dirty work but people do it gladly and I’ve had a great opportunity to rub shoulders with some wonderful folks. Many people find it hard to believe I would voluntarily clean horse stalls and other barn chores but I have loved watching the transitions the horses who come in to our care go through. Most of the horses come to SAFE with severe physical and behavioral challenges because of neglect and abuse. It’s inspiring to watch the changes these horses go through as they learn to trust humans again. Love, care, patience, and persistence changes lives, animal and human alike. Other horses come to SAFE when, due to circumstances beyond their control, their owners can no longer care for them. It is a difficult decision to have to make to surrender a beloved pet. I’m thankful a place like SAFE exists so, when owners have to make that decision, their horses have a future.”

When not volunteering for SAFE, Carolyn spends most of her time keeping up with her three sons and their active, busy schedules.


April Volunteer of the Month: Lillian Hinett

Snohomish resident Lillian Hinett has been named as Save a Forgotten Equine’s April Volunteer of the Month. She was selected for this honor largely because of the numerous times she fills in when there’s a vacancy on a shift. Lillian has a regular chores shift at the barn; and even with her heavy work schedule away from SAFE and through recent surgery, she soldiers through like a trooper. She’s strong, she’s cheerful and dependable – a SAFE kind of volunteer!

Lillian was born and raised in Southern California and moved to Washington in 1989 to be close to her family. She became involved with horses while a teenager and was part of a Girl Scout troop which focused on horse activities. The troop did a lot of riding and camping trips in Palm Springs and the San Bernardino mountains.

While she doesn’t own a horse at the moment, Lillian says the SAFE horses are like having her own pony. “I can love on them knowing they will love me back.” Her favorite SAFE horses are two lovely mares, Stella, a Paso Fino Cross and Nashville, a Quarter Horse.

Lillian says she particularly likes volunteering with others that make SAFE possible and being around the horses. When not volunteering at SAFE, Lillian works in retail and enjoys kayaking and biking.

March Volunteers of the Month: the Bradbury Family

The Bradbury Family (Robert, Karen, Annalise and Jon) from Woodinville have been named Save a Forgotten Equine’s March Volunteers of the Month. They were selected for this honor because they are exceptional role models of a family supporting their child’s desire to volunteer. Each of them is hardworking and dependable, honoring their commitment to care for the SAFE horses each week.

Daughter Annalise was the catalyst behind getting the entire family involved with helping horses. She has been riding since the age of 6. About two years ago, Annalise wanted to volunteer at SAFE but was not yet the required age of 16, so mom and dad, Robert and Karen, signed up to volunteer with her. Once she turned 16, they just kept volunteering.

The family members each have different favorite horses at SAFE. Jon’s favorites are mini horses Sunny D and Shasta, SAFE’s ambassadors. Annalise’s favorite is also a mini – Ruckus (adopted last year) because he has a big, spunky personality. Karen thinks Tesara, a Paso Fino mare, is pretty sweet and Robert likes them all!

The family does not have horses of their own, but they do enjoy visiting Grandma’s horses in California. When not volunteering at SAFE, the family enjoys hiking, camping, playing games and being outside, exercising and occasionally binge watching favorite shows. Congratulations, Bradbury Family!

February Volunteer of the Month: Jennifer Anderson

Redmond resident Jennifer Anderson has been named as the Save a Forgotten Equine’s February Volunteer of the Month. She was selected for this honor because of her infectious cheerfulness, her willingness to take on new assignments, including leadership of the morning crew, her work ethic and consistently positive attitude regardless of the weather, changes in farm protocols, or circumstances.

Anderson moved from the Phoenix area two years ago and was looking for a volunteer opportunity with animals. She discovered SAFE at an information booth at Redmond’s Derby Days last summer. Anderson was astounded that she could be around horses even though she didn’t have any experience with them. “I’ve always loved horses but hadn’t had the opportunity in life to be around them. It was a perfect fit!”

When asked who her favorite horse is at SAFE, Anderson replied, “Only one?!” She loves several of the horses for their unique personalities. However, Nashville, an 11-year old Quarter Horse mare, has a special place in her heart.

Anderson says, “Volunteering at SAFE has been such a blessing in my life. I’m not a morning person, but I look forward to getting up every week to see the horses, spend time with awesome volunteers and make sure the horses are well cared for. I have learned more than I could have imagined in my time with SAFE. When I first started I was a little scared of the horses, if there wasn’t a fence between us. Now that fear has transformed into caution and awareness. I learn something new every single shift. It’s hard work, but I love every minute of it!”

When she isn’t working her full-time job or volunteering at SAFE, Anderson sings with the Redmond Chorale, is an avid reader, and enjoys wine tasting and spending time with her 13-year old rescue dog, Cody.