NEWS - News is now delivered via the Newsletter
Sign up on the home page to receive it.

Nov 23

December 12, 09


November 9, 09


Went to auction last Monday and there was only the one horse and we brought her home. The vet checked her out on Sat (Dr. Grant Miller) and pronounced her healthy and sound. A 4 yr old 16 hand papered TB that never raced; well mannered and supposedly broke to ride.   Needs groceries. She had some rain rot and open sores to deal with as well as very splayed hooves but all that is getting fixed.  (Thank you once again to Linda Cowles . A wonderful barefoot trimmer! ) She is a lovely unspoiled gal who is still people positive.   We have a foster lined up that may be her adoptive home as well. We named her Sierra. I outbid the Mexican "gamers" at auction as well as turned them down in the parking lot. They liked her long long legs.....  Thank you for making her new life as a family horse possible.

The Roseville Auction has mysteriously closed its doors. I am wondering if we will be seeing an
influx of more horses at the Petaluma one.

SAFER needs more fosters homes . The one out in Glen Ellen I am losing to divorce. If I get a qualified foster this week I can go next week to auction or intake owner surrenders. A foster must be able to feed twice a day and be horse savvy enough to handle a horse and know when it is ailing. It is SO important to keep as many horses as possible a part of our local economy. It is the second largest business driver in Sonoma County and thus an important part of the economic stability here.  We cant afford to have it collapse.

SAFER needs volunteer hay barns to store hay at several places around the county for our foster and Hay Assistance Program. We are offering to deliver hay and feed to qualified folks who are trying to hang on to their horses (no clique intended....) and still have a place for the horses to be. Please call if you have a dry space that we might use. Tax deductible. 

There is a wonderful hand made horse quilt being raffled off to benefit Safe Haven Horse Rescue. 
See it here:

The upshot of all the emails concerning the three (safe) horses up in Clearlake is that a group has been gathered to address any assistance the city or county might need in the event of a seizure. This was very positive.  Thank you to all that responded. Please contact Angie Herman to be a part of that:

We still need a retirement home for Loni and Renalto .  They would be divine together although they are not now. I know there is an empty horse home out there that would love to have their interesting personalities around to brighten the days. They are both a lot of fun! In a GOOD way. 

There is a feedlot just outside of Santa Rosa. We know who the owners are. They ship up to 2 trucks a week to slaughter and do not allow the public to buy from them or visit there. They are also breeding TB racers. I have a feeling that is where the county's pets are going. Please do not give your horse away without previewing the home and calling the references and having a contract in place.  Call us instead - 707-824-9543. Hopefully we will have some good fosters by then. Reach out to foreclosure situations you come upon and let them know their options.

Thank you to all who are helping both people and their horses during this time.  The two are interwoven here in our NorthBay communities.

October 23, 09

SAFER was at the auction on Monday and there were NO horses! That is good as we only have raised $1300 so far - many many THANKS to our donators!! I never know if I should mention names; like first names and last initial. What do you think?

We will be going to the auction next Monday as well. Joe Shelton out at TB Friends in Woodland has been talking about a Feedlot outside of Santa Rosa that houses about 50 horses. I don't know the location. Do you? Two trucks a week leave from there for slaughter in Mexico EVERY WEEK. They do not give access to outside buyers apparently. Joe is trying to find a way to buy from them. I spoke with him and I know he is just wishing to make a very discrete inquiry. But I just wish that Sonoma was AWARE of these numbers. PLEASE let people know. Breeding of any kind does not make sense in the face of the kinds of numbers that are being killed.These are not old and sick.They are yearlings and broodmares and pets caught in the economic crisis. A group of aware and concerned citizens can really make a difference if we are willing to risk the displeasure of our neighbors when we explain why breeding at this time is contributing to this tragedy.

We now have a program for Hay Assistance. Folks who are truly in need and trying to keep their horses can get some feed for short term situations. Please write to and I will send the paperwork.

We are still a backup for the last TB up at the ClearLake facility.I am SPEAKING with them. Please no more emails. Thanks. Still need mostly companion homes for Loni and Renalto.

We may be losing our main intake facility as it may be sold in January. Please give some thought and action as to where we might have a paddock or pasture - WITH supervision.We will pay for feed, farrier and vet. We have insurance.And we can feature that place on our website.At the barn where I board THREE HORSES have been added because of folks being introduced to the rescued horses.

There is a wonderful horse property for sale in south Sebastopol. It has 36 acres and many barns. No doubt it will be a vineyard instead. Sigh. The price is certainly right. It is Listing # 20915274.

Stay tuned - we are all making a difference in the way our community views its responsibility to our fellow earth inhabitants. Never doubt it. We are all connected and in this together.

October 19, 09

Please note that the 3 horses up at the Clearlake Animal Control have been on our radar from the first (of 30!!) emails. I called the gal in charge and let her know we would be a back up. As of tonight 2 horses have been placed in good local homes where they can be monitored. The third still needs a home. They will not be euthanized (unless injured) or sent to auction. We need to keep a focus on Lake County horses as - very sadly- it seems that the City of Clearlake will no longer be sending animals to the County Animal Control. All animal issues will now be handled by Police Dispatch. This is not a good thing for the animals. Would anyone in Clearlake be a liaison for SAFER with the Police Dept for Equine issues?? If someone would provide that human bandwidth - SAFER will try to help.

It has been a wild summer. We have placed all the horses except Loni. We have assisted in the rehoming of many horses over the phone and email. Please remember that anyone can post their horses for free on our website. Please direct them to the page "Listing A Horse" for the pictures and information that will help them be successful. I will do a full page spread on each one listed if I have the info. In addition SAFER seems to be in the business of educating folks phone call by phone call on the issues we are now having with so many surplus horses and so few homes. Please take a stand and discourage ANY breeding FOR THE TIME BEING.

I had 3 trips this fall that had only a week or 10 days between them. That made it hard to do an intake and I apologize for being out of touch.

But we are ready now!! Please use our Paypal or send a check to help us save another round of souls!! (9501 Mill Station Rd Sebastopol 95472). A little from many is really sustaining - although those who can send more are truly Sonoma Angels. You have no idea what it can be like to look into those faces....somebody's pets many times. They are so terrified and dispairing....such emotional creatures as you all know; with a huge capacity to suffer. I think most people look at a horse just standing in a field and think that they are pretty numbed out. But I know that to be a horse is to live in SUCH a rich panorama of emotional communication - its all they can do to just stand there and participate in that.

We still have Loni to find a home for. A wonderful opportunity fell though as a companion to a lonely single horse. Wife nixed another horse. Sigh. She is SUCH a sweet girl. Plus she fell and sustained a gnarly injury a couple of months ago but that has healed completely and beautifully thanks to her wonderful foster Mom - Susan Simons. ( Cost us $1000 tho.....)But Lovely Loni needs a permanent home ASAP. She is so easy to care for even when injured. She is a love. Please keep your ears and hearts open to a nice companion home for this girl. See her at Loni .

Renalto was returned as the adopter did not have the time for him. He now has a chance at being a therapy horse at Cornerstone with Wendy Walker. He would be good at it I just know if only our boy gets a chance. I hear lots of changing info about the horses they have to use so I hope he does get his chance. In the meantime he is not really adopted - just fostered there so is technically still available. He is a real hoot to have around - VERY connected to his person. Lets wish him and the Cornerstone Program the best of luck.

Jesse is doing very well at the Humane Society working with the children. So far there is no sign of his Sarcoma returning....but it may be many months before we know for sure. Cloud Mountain, Redsky and Aleaya the little Arab are all doing very well at Harvest Moon Ranch - each one adopted by people there! Regina is doing well at her new home too.

We have started our Hay Assistance Program. Folks that are willing to fill out our application and give documentation can get donations of hay to tide them over for short periods of time. This works very well for folks that are truly wanting to keep their horses and have a good chance of getting back into the black and able to do that. Much easier than finding homes for horses - that somebody else already loves....

And we have had our first death. Melody has passed. She died of strangulation colic at her adopters home very recently. She was not allowed to suffer and was greatly mourned by both Boe; her companion horse and her family. We never really knew how old Melody was. She was at least 27 and could have been well into her 30's. What a lovely home and a good end for a wonderful equine presence. I am so very grateful to Diane Hinkley for giving her that home. A horse could not have asked for better; and I believe it raises the human vibe to have conducted this relationship in such a loving and responsible manner. RIP Melli.

July 17, 09

Two more of the auction rescues went to their new home this morning. That left Redsky all alone and grieving. I moved her down into the large front paddock at Jeff's place where she could be next to the two little donkeys in their pens. She was pretty upset. I stayed with her for a couple of hours and she finally settled somewhat. Hope her new home comes forward soon. See her here.

Regina and Renalto got on their bus with a little coaxing and off they went. We are promised some pictures from their new Mom and I will be posting them on the adopted page. This is what it's all about - taking them from danger to a forever home. It's very satisfying and I hope all you contributors out there feel that too. It's also a little sad - when you have gotten to know them so well - to walk the empty pasture. Horses are such emotional creatures - the spaces where they have been hold that charge for a long time. Regina was so sweet and whenever I think of Renalto - it always will make me smile.......

June 28, 09

See the new horses listed under Horses Available - Riding Horses. Jeff LaGrave is doing a wonderful job as a Foster Dad! This morning he brought the Arab Mare - now Aaleaya - to her new home in Sebastopol all the way from Glen Ellen. THANK YOU JEFF. Here she is in her new home:

June 14, 09

Please see our special auction page here

June 13, 09

Wish us luck. Myself and two volunteers, Tamia LaGrave and Dawn Marie are off tomorrow to meet up with Tawnee (NorCal Equine Rescue) at the Roseville auction. We have room for 5 horses. They will be brought to Jeff LaGrave's place in Glen Ellen for quarantine and then - hopefully- off to adoption. I have hopes that Tawnee will work with us at the Petaluma auction as well. We will be discussing that and many other things that will be good to learn from one so experienced - and young!

Monday Michelle from Harvest Moon Ranch and myself will be taking Jesse down to the surgical center at Steinbeck Equine Clinic in Salinas for his pro bono operation to remove his tumor. He will then be going to his new adoption home - the Sonoma Humane Society's Forget Me Not Farm where he will star in their children's programs.

Melody has her forever home and is doing wonderfully under the care of her new Mom.
These are the two horses that we picked up 2 months ago described below....

April 10, 09

Went to the auction last Monday and bought the two horses that were there. Everyone laughed at the old mare as her ribs were showing and all her bones stuck out. She looked desparate. I paid .06 a pound for her life. I named her Melody. She led and loaded up very easily. Twenty four hours later she looked like a different horse. No ribs or jutting bones. I have never seen anything like it. She was severely dehydrated. Who knows the last time she had had a drink of water. A simple bucket of water... They might have gotten more money for her..... She passed very compacted dry manure and ate up her mash and hay. According to the vet - Dr Grant Miller - she is about a 3.5 on the body scale and actually in good health. Her feet were platters but her teeth were recently floated. Katie Moore from Watermark farm transported for us and clipped of some of her excess hoof. Linda Cowles will be out to do her feet next Monday.

Melody is a very resilient horse. She has good feet and is sound; said to be broke to ride, she is actually about 27 around 14.2 hands and very gentle and easy to handle. Somebody loved on her probably a good deal of her life. I have a feeling she will be that perfect grandkid material. We will be evaluating her for that job. With her basic resilience I bet she has another 5-7 years on her. Nice halter marks...huh. See more of her here.

Then there was a dark bay gelding they said was 19. Well - turns out he is around 10. Said to be broke to drive and ride. Its clear someone has worked with him a lot in any case. What a cutie. I named him Jesse James. He really takes care of the old mare. For all we know she could be his mother. He is in pretty good shape; needs hoof trimming badly and about 80 more pounds but is generally sound. Outbid a Mexican him for .12 a pound. He does have an old benign tumor on his hind hock. Sound in spite of that. The vet said we could try some cryotherapy (freezing) and that is what we are doing. It's very inexpensive. We will see if it works at all in the next two weeks. His teeth are good - recently floated. Loads easily, stands for vet and farrier....all and all a well trained guy. We will evalutate in a couple weeks. See more here.

April 3, 09

Can you believe Kate's new pic of Walter! (SeeMarch 16th below) Its only been a few weeks...

April 1, 09

We took the two older Arabs to their new home last Monday. See their pictures and captions.....HERE as well as new pics of the Mini family- Click on the pic for more.

March 16, 09

We have had a generous donation by Kate Schaffner of panels and equipment to make a small paddock for our quarantine needs; hosted by Michelle at Harvest Moon Ranch in Sebastopol. THANK YOU KATE and MICHELLE! And more fabulous news from Kate - she has accepted a homeless thoroughbred from Joe Shelton out at TB Friends. He is about the cutest thing I ever saw in an adult horse; with Winnie the Pooh ears and a little smile. He has a lot more to smile about these days. Here are his pictures upon arrival:


Kate had Dr Grant Miller come out to give Walter an assessment, dental work and shots. Here is her report: "Dr. Miller diagnosed his right front as Pedal Osteitis as a result of chronic laminitis with some ringbone thrown in for good measure. Thought it was probably caused by some trauma to the hoof.  Poor Walter also had his teeth done, blood drawn to check for cushings and a west nile shot.  Rough day.  Dr. Miller also thought Walter's tattoo letter was an H, which makes Walter 31!  What a trouper! " She reported a week later that Mr. Walter was actually bucking and prancing in his paddock; probably much like you or I if we hit the jackpot! Not bad for a fellow that certainly has stories to tell about his very long journey. Well - he is home for good now. Perhaps Kate will keep us updated on his progress.
I can't believe I originally told her that she would have to move on because the horse rescue community already had too many Kate's...... Thank you again Kate for all you do for the horses.

February 25, 09

Dr John Madigan, DVM hosted an Unwanted Horse meeting February 18th sponsored by the International Animal Welfare Training Institute at the UC Davis Vet School.   I attended on behalf of SAFER, carpooling over to the event with Katie Moore from the CHANGE program. It was a highly charged and I believe productive meeting, lasting all day with a tour of the equine hospital and a review of current research efforts afterwards. We got to see a horse surgery!  That was truly amazing.  Fortunately is was NOT a colic surgery, what with guts strewn all over - that might have been a little too unforgettable if you take my drift.  Dr. Madigan is a truly great guy and all were deeply appreciative of his leadership in this.  Attendees were from Animal Control offices statewide, as well as horse rescues and interested vet students.  Dr Madigan has been very innovative in that he has gotten vet students involved in community service issues from the start - instead of primarily preparing the students to become business people.  This next generation of vets should be really something!


Beth DeCaprio from the Grace Foundation ( ) gave an excellent presentation on the dynamics of starting a horse rescue.  They also do programs for kids at risk and with autism that work with the horses.  Keith Dane- Director of Equine Issues at the National Humane Society and SPCA gave a synopsis of issues facing the country's horses and the programs he has in place. Dennis Wilson talked on carcass disposal.  Nuthin' new here.  The lack of cost effective options made for a charged discussion.   There are landfills that are taking and burying horses even tho it is not legal.  My opinion is that it needs to be made legal ASAP, with all the necessary sanitary considerations.  Currently we actually have to cart our dead horses to Merced. I thought a renderer was local to Sonoma, even though I could find no such business in the phone book.  But apparently only the  collection sites are local.  The truck has to haul all the way to Merced. That is why it is so expensive. Rendering takes place at very high temperatures and is actually costly.  The renderers are also dependent on a market for their "products." This does not ensure their viability. Although it is not a happy topic - having cost effective disposal is a major hurdle to overcome if we are to present folks with a cost effective alternative to auction and slaughter.

We were encouraged to send in our issues and assets to continue the conversation.  It was a long day....

Dec 05, 08

We have gotten together a Board of Directors and today filed for our non-profit.  This has been a bit of work but very necessary to gather resources to do this work.  We are still looking for foster homes that can take full size horses especially. I mailed out a survey to participate in on the national level- and an invitation to a SOLSTICE EVENT!

Oct 29, 08

Little Mono went to the hospital to get gelded.  I fed all the horses while Michelle at Harvest Moon hitched up her trailer to take him in.  As soon as the morning feed was over I drove down to see him.  He was only 45 minutes awake and a little shaky.  Trying hard to be alert and respond to me. Trying hard to figure out what was happening.   Such a brave little guy.  His water was waaayyy up high for a regular horse so I got a bucket for him to drink from.  I assured him that he was coming back home.   The next morning Michelle (Animal Communicator) went to get him as he had to stay overnight.  She reported he was so sad he wouldn't eat or drink.  He was sure he was not going to get to come back to his family - that that was the end of his life with them.   When she came in with the halter he was overjoyed!  He stuck his nose in and and went right to the trailer and hopped in. When they pulled up he called and his girls called back - what pandemonium there was!  They were all soooo happy they hopped around the pen calling and snorting!  He has had some sore days but is healing nicely.  Check out their new pedicures. They have had their second trim. This is Ellie the Mom:

Here is Peanut; the daughter, and Dad.

Refer down to the original pictures below for pics of their elf feet.  Good work Linda Cowles!

On Monday they went to a wonderful home - all together. Lots of room and other horse folks to play with.  A great situation! Here they are on their last day at Harvest Moon Ranch:

Thank you to all the members of the community that made their new lives possible.

Oct 7, 08

Auction Report

Went to the Petaluma Auction Monday.  There was only one horse but I thought.....that one horse still needs looking after.  A woman who wants to volunteer came with me.  I thought it would be a good experience.  I did sign up to bid tho just in case.  We looked at the horse.  Very handsome and well put together mare about 10-12. Red Roan, 14.2 hands and very very scared.  She bonded with us immediately as her saviors. There were several other guys looking her over and I chatted with them.  A couple of horse dealers and a backyard breeder.  Stockman types.  I was not going to bid as it is not SAFER's mission to buy horses that are not being bid on by the kill buyers.  Then my new friend says, " hey, I LIKE her, and she's exactly the size I've been thinking about for our family ... the boys have been taking lessons and are doing really well ... but I wasn't planning on getting a horse today ... but she's so sweet ... oh, just look at her ... " Well after all the obvious disclaimers about having her vetted and a trainer evaluation, I said I would rehome her if it didn't work out. So I bid on her for my friend.  Got her for .22 cents a pound.  Plus tax she came to $227.  Katie at Watermark Farm came over in her rig and we brought her home.  (THANK YOU KATIE) Katie did some evaluation and found a disturbing fact:  this very sweet mare had marks on her ankles and squealed when her front legs below the knees were handled.  Very fearful although she did let Katie finally pick her feet. She didn't appear to have pain or lameness at all however.   After some investigation we were advised that she had most probably been used for the Mexican rodeo for horse tripping and horse "dancing"  - two illegal activities in CA that nevertheless occur. Our source said that the Mexican rodeo's are dropping horses off as the rodeo season is done and they don't want to feed them over the winter. Horse dancing, by the way, is when the lower legs have painful agents applied and/or are whipped to make the horse "dance".  Many a horse would be ruined by this activity but I have a feeling this mare will come around.  She will be evaluated thoroughly by a qualified trainer and all precautions are being taken.  She is a pocket pony, tho and really seems to want human attention.  Go figure.  What is it with these animals that they are so forgiving. Anyway, she is doing much better even only one day later so we'll see.  Here she is with one of her possible future rider and her dayglo auction hat.

Meanwhile the Mini's pulled their bagged supplement bucket through the fence and started opening bags....bad Mini's.  I swear they must have crawled under that fence to do it. Still looking for a vet to do pro bono or at cost gelding for the little guy - and soon - so he can recover in our care.....they still are needing forever homes so don't be shy !!  Call me at 707-824-9543

Oct 5 '08

The little stallion has a horrible rope burn under that long mane. The pus and blood had matted a lot of hair.  I am thinking they went out into the back field and roped him to get him in that small pen. I'm sure after all these years he regarded them as predators and fought like hell to protect his little family.  The vicious little brute then, despite his pain, put his head in a halter presented by strangers.  Strangers to be sure that took  the 15 minutes required to identify ourselves and communicate our intentions. Then calmly walked to our trailer and jumped in.  At home, I easily haltered him and took him out, tied him to a rail, and soaked the whole area with hot soapy water for quite a while to get it clean. Even tho he flinched, he stood very still the whole time, never once offering to bite or kick or even try to leave.  I have wound salve on him now.  I groomed him all over to his obvious delight, and picked up all his feet. What a hellion.......maybe I should get a stun gun to protect myself...

  There is also a Llama that is still at the place where we got the mini's that needs a home.   We called the Llama sanctuary but it is full.  He is 11, very handsome, registered and on the unhandled side. Anyone need a watch Llama?


      Houston......we have mini's!

  SAFER sent out a questionnaire with our cards to all the Counties large animal vets and the response was immediate.  We have taken custody of a small family of three minis - Mom, Dad and 8 year old filly that were scheduled for euthanasia on Tues Sept 30. The above is as we found them. They were part of a hoarders cache and she died in '97 - leaving them to her son who had them in a field for the last decade. They managed to breed only once. There is Mono the Dad - 14, Ellie the Mom - 14, and Peanut the daughter - 8. They are very affectionate with one another and they need help. SAFER needs immediate donations for their care or we will not be able to respond to the other requests for help.  These little horses are truly adorable - very pretty in spite of their neglect.  They are also very SMART and know exactly what is going on.  Unbelievably, although in pain from hoof neglect, they handle very well and stand at liberty for hoof treatments. Ellie as you can see in the picture has tooth abscesses that need immediate care.  Yet she lets us touch and examine her.

    I swear Ellie is smiling in this pic.  She knows she and her little family will now get help. A huge THANK YOU to Michelle at Harvest Moon Ranch ( ) She transported them immediately to her ranch and set up a small pen for them in the shade. They can stay for 2 weeks. The former owner said the mom and daughter had foundered but we don't know that for sure. One of the county's true angels and bare-foot trimmer extraordinnaire - Linda Cowles ( ) has volunteered her services for all three for 2 trimmings. She is soooo good with the animals they always seem to relax around her and let her do her job. And boy does she have her work cut out for her.  Those hooves are ROCK hard.  These guys are survivors. This is Peanut below.  She will really be a beauty when cleaned up !

Here is Dad pictured below.  What a hunk! He is very gentle and loves his family.  However, he will need to be castrated soon. He has been trained to pull a cart according to his previous owner. These mini's would make for a fabulous little team of mascots for any ranch or family pets.  They can live in paddocks and smaller areas.  Watching their loving interactions and the fact that they respond so well to human interaction would make them a joy. They are obviously very hardy. Any takers?

Please see costs and donations on the accounting page. Please consider sending whatever you can to SAFER C/O Kate Sullivan at 9501 Mill Station Rd Sebastopol CA 95472. No donation is too small (or too large!!). Don't have a paypal yet. An outright adopter would be the best outcome, as SAFER does not have the resources to cover all these expenses at this time without help. In truth, without the communities help - there is no SAFER place for horses. So please consider helping us do this work here in Sonoma.


* See latest post reporting on horses at the Petaluma auction *

     There is a community Proboard formed so that we can all have discussions with one another.  As many know from joining boards in other areas; this is a great way to get to know each other, help each other and plan community events.

     Many times advice from horse persons more experienced with a particular problem can really be important and is readily available from your local Proboard group.  Issues of transport and orphan foal problems can be researched quickly within this community group. Many horses are rehomed on these boards as well without having to go through a rescue scenario.  It's a great place to brag about your kid's latest Pony Club accomplishment or perhaps your own experience in a show ring. It is great to see pictures of local horses and their accomplishments - especially if they were once a rescued horse!