Winter came to SAFE in the springtime, though a recent onslaught of gloomy, rainy, chill in the forecast does conjure more January than June. That’s Washington for you. But Winter herself isn’t exactly wintry – pairing a horse coat color up with a season would certainly land palomino with summertime, yeah? She is all sandy-coat and bleach-blonde tresses, and even has a little dollop-of-sunscreen star on her forehead.


Winter is approximately ten. When her owner’s first got her, around five years back, she was handled for the vet and the farrier several times. But that handling fell away, and soon enough Winter had learned that being caught was not a mandatory activity if she did not make it one. Any horse owner knows the occasional challenge of going to retrieve your horse from a field, even when it is accustomed to being retrieved. But have a horse who gets away enough times and it becomes an almost impossibility. Winter remained gentle enough to take treats from a hand and follow people in close quarters, but a halter was no longer in the question.


Because of her inability to be caught, Winter was also unable to receive basic care. Notably, her hooves hadn’t seen a farrier’s rasp in some time, and she had developed a pretty severe slipper toe. In addition to her feet, Winter was also in need of a diet. We see a lot of skinny horses come through our gates, but a more rare, but no less worrisome body condition, is the one on the opposite side of the spectrum. On a one to nine scale of body condition scoring, Winter is firmly planted as close to ten as one can get.

So how does an unhalterable mare like Winter get to SAFE in the first place? The first step was building a chute to the trailer and using a line of people as a visual barrier to help guide her in the right direction. Once in the panel chute, we were able to slowly close in the boundaries until it was just a small area between her and the trailer. Then, it was just about waiting for Winter to realize that the direction of the trailer was a peaceful spot, and everywhere else was a little more work. She is a very smart mare, and it did not take her long at all to realize that the easiest option was to get into the trailer, and with just a little bit encouragement in the right direction, she was on.

In the trailer we were able to get a breakaway halter on her, which has put her on a much faster trajectory towards reminding her of her domesticity. We want to get those feet looked at as soon as possible by our vets and farrier, so getting Winter to the point where that is possible is of high priority. But she has already begun to settle in here, showing herself to be an inquisitive lady. Next door to the area where she is living, Sunny and Shasta are her neighbors and friends, our little ambassadors for both horse and human. Winter had goats where she was living, and their passing was just another motivating factor to get her into a place where she could not only get the care she needed, but be around other horses.

Welcome to SAFE, Winter! We sure are happy to have you.

Take a look at the loading process, and Winter’s first steps into her new life at SAFE below.