Written by our volunteer, Debbie Meyer, aka “Best Buddy to Shasta & Sunny”

Traditionally, February has been known as the month of love. As a result, no better time for an update on SAFE’s lovable ambassadors and permanent residents, Shasta and Sunny D.

As some of you may not know (or remember), Shasta and Sunny arrived at SAFE in 2011 after being seized by Animal Control when another mini on the property died from starvation. They arrived just in time because they were quite emaciated themselves. However, with proper care, nutrition and love, they regained their health and secured their permanent role as SAFE ambassadors once it was discovered how special these littles are!

Shasta, the slightly larger of the two, is redder in color and the mama of Sunny. Sunny has the lighter, fuller mane; think of sunshine! Shasta celebrated her 21st birthday on May 5, 2021, complete with a birthday cake shaped like a horse shoe, pieces of which she shared with all the SAFE horses! Sunny celebrated his 13th birthday in style on November 23, 2021, with a matching challenge which was met during SAFE’s Fall Into Winter Hay Drive!

Over the years, these two have definitely earned their keep and continue to do so by representing SAFE at public events where they help raise awareness of SAFE’s mission and even have been directly responsible for recruiting some volunteers, along with raising money to care for all the SAFE horses! The events have included Heart of the Horse at fancy venues where a visit with them is always a popular auction item, often driving a bidding war; Microsoft Give on the Microsoft campus; Redmond Derby Days Parade; Redmond Farmers Market; SAFE Benefit Horse Show where the last two years of the Show (pre-pandemic) they won the coveted title of Champion Rescue Horse sponsor because their fans donated the most money to their Syndicate Sponsorship; and SAFE Open Houses, the Holiday one at which they pose for pictures dressed in their Christmas costumes for a nominal fee! They also wore their Christmas costumes on the wet, cold and windy evening in December to help drive donations when they made an appearance at the Redmond Lights 2021 display, benefitting SAFE.

Understandably, their public appearances have been limited during the pandemic, giving them a deserved break. However, they keep busy welcoming the newbies to SAFE on their guided walkabouts across the property; visiting with those horses in rehab to give them some company and/or to help keep them calm; co-hosting the occasional Picnic with the Ponies at SAFE Harbor Stables; and bringing smiles to the human faces of all who see them, whether they are galloping, rolling or sunbathing in miniland or sticking their adorable heads through the miniland gate to say, “Howdy” to all passersby and to ask, “Got treats?”!

What perfect little ambassadors for SAFE! Some think Shasta and Sunny are ponies. After all, when you google the definition of pony, you find pony is defined as “a horse of a small breed, especially ones whose height at the withers is below 14 hands 2 inches (58 inches).” However, Shasta and Sunny are miniature horses. A miniature horse is defined as “a breed of horse bred to resemble a full-sized horse on a much smaller scale.” The American Miniature Horse Registry (AMHR) registers minis between 34” to 38” at their withers since minis are measured in inches instead of hands. Shasta measures 34”; Sunny, 32”.

Like all SAFE horses regardless of size, Shasta and Sunny enjoy being groomed (and need extra grooming in the Spring to help them shed their woolier winter coats); benefit from regular walks so are part of SAFE’s Handwalking Program; and deserve some extra TLC whenever possible, especially for all their hard work as SAFE ambassadors. As a result, they are treated monthly by their Best Buddy (a SAFE volunteer) to Masterson Method sessions with Natalie, MMCP (Masterson Method Certified Practitioner). The Masterson Method® is a unique form of interactive equine bodywork, where horse and human work together to find and release areas of tension. Most creatures enjoy and all benefit from bodywork; and Shasta and Sunny are no exceptions! This is evidenced by their releases of yawns, licks and chews while Natalie works with them and even afterwards, along with some occasional rolling!

Anyone who has had the opportunity to spend time with these special littles has undoubtedly felt some love in the air, no matter what month of the year. However and since it is February, Shasta and Sunny D would like to wish all a Happy Valentine’s Day!