Monday, January 31, 2011

Fly Me To The Moon...

I'm just smiling today and it's all because of a little horse named Sinatra...

Even the winter coat can't hide the neglect. Photo From SAFE Msg Board
Almost 3 years ago, a straggly little colt was seized by King County Animal Control as part of the large & highly publicized Jean Elledge neglect case. He was thought to be 4-5 months at the time he came to live with SAFE (Save A Forgotten Equine) in Monroe. His young body was thin, covered in rain rot, loaded with parasites and his tiny feet were severely overgrown. This is how Jean Elledge apparently "cared" for the colored horses she so deeply desired. Yes, this is the same herd that my beloved Coconut Macaroon came from.

Rain Rot, 2 days after the seizure:  Photo From SAFE Msg Board

His Cremello coloring was passed to him through his sire, Seas The Golden Day, the Saddlebred Stallion that Jean owned and bred to everything that walked...and then starved to death. This little guy was discovered in a 12x36 pen with another neglected colt and a dead mare decomposing just 15' feet away who, at the time, was thought to be the Dam to one of these boys.
Starting to recover. Photo From SAFE Msg Board
It was his stunning blue eyes that inspired SAFE to name him Sinatra. All along, like his namesake, Sinatra has being doing things His Way. It turned out that he was actually almost a year old at the time of the seizure, just very small for his age. He might have seemed wise beyond his years in some ways & he never let his size get in the way of doing his job, be it pretending to be a ferocious Stallion (which he isn't....all the SAFE boys are geldings...or become one!) or being the self appointed leader of the baby herd.  Over the years he developed quite a personality & has always been a volunteer favorite.

Stallion (gelding) Game at Bonnie's w/Benny. Photo From SAFE Msg Board
 There were some less than flattering images of him posted of his awkward 2-3 year old phase & he often wore a coat of green and brown because he wasn't necessarily tidy about his personal appearance (Hey, he's a horse right!?!?)

Two months post-rescue and showing some improvement. Photo From SAFE Msg Board

But when he got cleaned up, he cleaned up VERY well!!

Summer of 2009  Photo - J. Parrett

At his first horse show, the 2009 SAFE Benefit Horse Show, he won FIRST PLACE in Halter-Rescue. The judge said he walked in the arena and shot her a look as if to say "You know you want to give me the what are you going to do about the rest of those ribbons?" She was powerless to his confidence and we were all very proud of him that day.

Quite the Showman at the 2009 SAFE Benefit Horse Show

Back home, even after his Horse Show victory, he was the same old guy....up to his own brand of mischief and just a funny horse who seemed engaged with his human staff.

Nap time with the SAFE Babies. Photo J. Parrett

Some time last year one of his fans stepped up and offered him an amazing opportunity to move to a fancy barn & receive training. This week SAFE Volunteer, Sara, went over to check in on him and was thrilled to report back that Sinatra was on stage for a jumping lesson and he did really well. On top of that, he recently went to his first jumping competition at the Gold Creek Jumper Schooling Show and took FIRST PLACE in all four of his classes.
In Training: January 2011 - Photo by Sara Hall

Another show, another FOUR Blue Ribbons!! Photo by Sara Hall

He's still available for adoption  & my guess is that he'd be missed at his current home and by his current rider. But what a fantastic job they've done with him. What a transformation from gangly colt to fancy showman, but then his name gave him a reputation to live up to and I think he has.

Very soulful: Photo J.Parrett
He's about 14.1 hh and suitable for a child or light adult intermediate rider. If you're interested in Sinatra he's available through SAFE & his adoption fee is $1,000. That's a bargain when you consider all of the training he's already received and his Proven Show Record!! 5 for 5 and BLUE all the match his eyes!

More information about Sinatra at the SAFE Website

Take Me Home! Photo-J.Parrett

Sunday, January 23, 2011

And The Award Goes to....

The last week has just been full of award ceremonies, some you know and some you may not have known about...

I'm starting off with the Golden Globes and the attention for the HBO Movie, Temple Grandin. If you haven't seen it, you so totally should. I mentioned it last February in my post "I'll Take One In Every Color, Please..."; the story of an Autistic woman who becomes an animal scientist. I don't think I'll be spoiling the movie for you because it's not any big secret that she invented a humane system to calm cattle headed to slaughter. The movie about her life & work is simply amazing. It gives you a captivating look into how Dr. Grandin's mind works and how she came to adopt the (not then) retro cowgirl shirt look as her "uniform".

So Monica Bretherton & I were shopping for items to use in her upcoming Winter Sparkle project of taking some very Western-a-fied photos of SAFE horses to expand their portfolios in hopes of attracting some potential adopters who might want to take them in a Western Direction (as in riding discipline, not necessarily the compass point!).

While at Country Square Western Wear we found several "Blingy" shirts that would be perfect for the shoot & I was calling them "Temple Grandin" shirts. One shirt in particular made a huge impression on Monica, so much so that she carried it around for quite awhile. Can you imagine her excitement while watching the Golden Globe Awards and actually seeing Dr. Grandin wearing that exact same shirt?!?!?!?

From the red carpet of the Golden Globes
For the WIN Collumn: Dr. Temple Grandin for just being an advocate for animals, Claire Danes who won Best Actress in a TV Movie for her portrayal of Dr. Grandin and Country Square who donated the use of three shirts, blingy belts and jewelry for the upcoming shoot.

Thank you Country Square, btw, your support of SAFE helping horses in need touches my heart...and if you're looking for BEAUTIFUL western wear, please go see the very nice staff there ...and tell them I sent you!! ( my other friends with major boot addictions...this is boot heaven!!!!)

The following night were the Eclipse Awards broad casted live on TVG...which thankfully we get during football season when Les upgrades to the sports package!! While it didn't have the showmanship of the Golden Globes, overall, I was much more interested in the categories and winners of this lesser known event. It's big in my world but your average person might think it has more to do with the Twilight series than horse racing. And even some of my equestrian friends may not know about it or it's significance. So it's like the Oscars of horse racing and Zenyatta has been the subject of much anticipation and speculation in regards to this years award for Horse of the Year.

There were some who thought Blame should get the big award after his Breeders Cup (very close) victory over the Super-Mare but there was quite a lot of fan campaigning for Zenyatta. If nothing else, she was winning the public opinion poll...whether the voters from the Daily Racing Forum agreed remained to be seen, but I still had the Hollywood Park crowds chanting "Zenyatta, Horse of the Year!!"  in my head. I couldn't be derailed in my total belief that she'd win.

From the paddock at Hollywood Park during Zenyatta's farewell party

Among the honors was a Special Eclipse Award given to Team Zenyatta for their " unfailing generosity of her connections..." and " ... for making Zenyatta so accessible to the public during her encore year in 2010." according to the DRF website. Next Came The "Older Female" Award, which went to Zenyatta and I was hoping that was an indicator that she was also going to win the Horse of the Year award and not some lower crown title (as happens to those kids on Toddlers & Tiara's who don't win the Grand Supreme titles...and yes, I admit it's somewhat of an addicting train wreck that I just can't stop watching!) as a consolation. I kept my fingers crossed...and then Blame won the Older there they were, neck and neck, just like the Breeders Cup Classic...but this time ZENYATTA won!!!!!

As if the award was not wonderful enough, her owner, Jerry Moss gave a beautiful speech in thanks. He mentioned the other horses and how great they were & thanked his own team for their roles. Then he pulled a piece of paper out of his pocket: a clipping from the 2011 In The Presence of Champions Calendar put out by Tranquility Farm, a Thoroughbred Retirement, Rehabilitation & Adoption center, written by Priscilla Clark, it's President:

If you love Thoroughbred horses you go through life hoping that you can see just one more in whose presence the clouds fall away to reveal the mountaintop. It can take a generation or infinitely longer for such a horse to arrive, a horse that is capable of carrying the human heart. For the last one hundred years we know them all by name, but Zenyatta brought to us a beauty that was a tonic for the soul. She allowed us to believe in the impossible, and it was the light of her being as much as the thrill of her races that got us dancing. Zenyatta was transformative."

 Just before he read that he also mentioned that Tranquility Farm is one of the many great programs for retired race horses & further endorsed " We all have to really contribute and help these people because they do the most important job of retiring Thoroughbred horses once they're finished at the race track."

My heart got so full it spilled from my eyes. Although he wasn't speaking directly to me, he was supporting the very thing I feel to the core of my being....that we owe it to these athletes to take care of them, regardless if they win multi-millions or maybe never make it to the track. The simple fact that they're bred for racing, even the chance of racing, makes it the responsibility of every breeder, trainer, owner, vet, farrier, jockey & groom....anyone who makes their living from racing...and lets throw in the racing fans, the tracks & the folks who are on the entertainment side of this as well...each one of us has a responsibility to those horses.

And one other important mention from the Eclipse Awards: Marylou Whitney when receiving an Eclipse Award of Merit, told the racing community that “We have to try more to improve their lives and advance their dignity,” and “As owners, you should be accountable for horses from the beginning of their lives to the end.” I hear from folks who don't like the racing industry for various reasons but I am not ashamed to say that I LOVE the sport and there are some truly amazing folks in it.

So into the WIN Collumn: Zenyatta, Team Zenyatta, Marylou Whitney, Priscilla Clark & Tranquility Farm and Horses!

And my final award subject actually MY Award!!!

On a much smaller level & venue, Maeve & I attended the award banquet for the Equestrians' Institute this evening in Bellevue.The night belonged to riders and drivers who achieved outstanding results last year and along side them,  I was among the many volunteers that E.I. honored for their service at those events. Some of you might remember my posts: Dressage Days and Home of the Brave...In The Rain!  about my adventures in dressage & being a Ring Steward for E.I.

So tonight I received a beautiful etched glass(with my name spelled right even...impressive!) stating that I was a 2010 Dressage Volunteer Extraordinaire. I am both proud and honored!

The best take away, however, was the inspiration to get back out there and work with my horse...and perhaps to take advantage of some of the 2011 events that the Equestrians' Institute has planned including some events at the new Washington State Horse Park!

And the final add to the WIN Collumn: Me & my fancy new glass, Maeve who was likewise inspired, the Equestrians' Institute, all of the amazing equestrians who get out there and DO SOMETHING with their horses & Coconut who seems to like goals.

Yes, it's been an Awarding Week, in deed!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

January HeARTist: Liz Stabbert

I am proud to introduce to you January's featured HeARTist ~ Liz Stabbert!!!!

To start off the new year our featured HeARTist is Liz Stabbert who has been a longtime supporter of SAFE. Her photos have captured many a proud rider at several of the SAFE Benefit Horse Shows and she's participated in both HeART of the Horse Equine Art Shows.

Meet Liz....

"I've been in love with horses for as long as I can remember. Model horses lined the shelves of my old bedroom and posters of horses covered the wall. Though I... managed to beg lessons off and on through the years, spent several years in horse 4H, and leased a horse for a short time in high school, I still haven't realized my dream of horse ownership...yet anyway ;-)

Photography for me started as a whim and turned into a grand passion. I was a traditional artist mostly interested in watercolor, painting, and pencil and colored pencil drawing, but the art classes at the local community collage I was attending were failing to hold my attention. I had always been mildly curious about photography so decided to give Photography 101 a try. The connection was immediate.

After taking every photography related course the school offered, I created my own independent study course with the goal of learning how to be an equine and rodeo photographer. It was through this independent study I began covering horse shows for the Kitsap Saddle Club and Liz Stabbert Photography was born! Before long I found myself at the Art Institute of Seattle studying commercial photography and graduated in December of 2007. It was a little unusual in a group of students who's goals were to become fashion and studio photographers to confess that I planned to become a "horse photographer"!

From my very beginnings as an equine photographer my favorite part has been meeting the amazing people who share my passion for horses and the horses that they love. It's been a wonderful experience and my business continues to grow thanks to the wonderful local horse community! In 2011 I plan to branch out from my current offerings of personal horse portraits, equine and event and rodeo coverage into senior portraits and families as well!"

~ Special Benefit Offer for SAFE through the month of January ~

"Because I know there will be a lot of people who will want to wait for portraits until their horse is out of the shaggy winter yak stage, is offer gift certificates in any denomination desired and 50% of the proceeds will go to SAFE! Gift certificates are good for any services or items I offer including equine and family portraits, and beautiful professional prints and canvases! Christmas is over, but Valentines day is just around the corner you know! A portrait session would be a great gift for a horse-loving valentine ;-)"

Please be sure to mention the SAFE promotion when you purchase your gift certificate 

In addition to the Gift Certificate Sales, Liz is also including a 50% donation with the sale of any SAFE related photographs she's already taken, INCLUDING the SAFE Benefit Horse shows from 2008 & 2009

View SAFE Horse Portraits online and follow the link to the Benefit Horse Shows from 2008 & 2009

Please contact Liz through her website at:

or via email at:

Be sure to tell her you found her through the HeARTist Program; those who might be wishing they had purchased one of the Shano originals, prints or fun accessories, you can still do so and help SAFE. Just remember to mention that you found her through the SAFE HeART of the Horse promotion. Thanks for the ongoing support, Shano!!

Monday, January 3, 2011

A Year later...

A year ago I had this idea that I should write about my many equine adventures while looking back at the previous year & wishing I'd thought to keep track of them...thus the birth of Hoofprints Across My Heart...

I actually started out with a few plans for 2010 and hoped I'd be able to fulfill them so my project wouldn't end up a bust....and secretly prayed that I'd actually find other things to write about, actually worrying that now that I had made a public commitment that I'd fall short of the amazing year I thought 2009 was. BOY, was that a wasted worry!!!

As I started out the year, I found myself without anything actually in the works under the "Making a difference in the life's of horses" part of my intent so I started telling the tale of how I re-entered the horse world in my 40's. that naturally led to what became "The Coconut Chronicles". I swear it was just my intent to share my journey of coming to have Coconut Macaroon in my life. Imagine my surprise when my friends start calling me in tears & the emails started coming when I needed to take a break from "Please write more...". Thank you to all of you who started out with me and went through the retelling as it actually was very emotional reliving it and giving it a life of it's own.

Then the other stories started presenting themselves and I was finding things to write about all around me. Sometimes the blog became a monster that needed feeding when I just didn't have the time but once I sat down to connect with the keyboard, the stories often wrote themselves and I got some sleep (sometimes, yes, I do sleep!).

Some stories just never made it here and maybe I'll still reserve them in my brain for a lull in my adventures but somehow that just hasn't been the case...and I couldn't be happier!! (unless of course I could find a way to make a living at this!).

At first I got a few "followers" and I was honored...and then I discovered that I could read Stats on my account a few months ago and was floored to learn about how many people have read it and that I actually have some Most Popular pages.

Of all the things I've able to be a part of, I'd have to say that the Bucky B Lucky story has been among the top and that it continues to be my NUMBER ONE blog post with (still) daily hits proves that we did the right thing by pulling him out of the kill pen, giving him a new direction and a SAFE home!

Can I just say that again??? Every.....Single....Day.... Super (Horse) Saver get's multiple views. There are days, even seven months later, that it's is my number one most popular post by day. That I had anything to do with that whole situation is humbling and that he continues to speak out through his story fills my hoof-imprinted heart to the very brim!

I'd also like to THANK YOU....the readers of my blog, you blow me away actually!! I am so very grateful for those who have come through this with me, saddled up along the way or actually became a friend through this project. I have to say that I do this for me, but knowing you're there is inspirational in itself!

As we head into 2011, yes, I do already have some adventures lined up so I hope you'll find this coming year as adventurous as the last and let's hope we all can make a difference in the lives of horses because, as we know, they certainly make a difference in ours!

ps: I LOVE to hear from you so please feel free to post comments or contact me

Saturday, January 1, 2011

48 Lines about 25 Horses

Some of the horses who were featured in Hoofprints Across My Heart in 2010...

(to the tune of "88 Lines about 44 women" by The Nails)

Coconut was found and saved
She's what dreams have come to be
Scarlet, she was one of four
Their neglect still dumbfounds me
Deliah was a two-for-one
She was in a motherly way
They showed up with Rose & Ruby
Who came to SAFE but could not stay

Sugar is an artist's Paint
I love that girl like she's my own
Basil is a handsome boy
He finally found himself a home
Mercedes came and picked us up
Coconut was cool with it
Kitty went on her first trail
Since then I doubt she's stopped one bit.

No Flies On Doodle, what a doll
Starts the meet with a SWAG win
Forener was lighting fast
I'd like to see some more of him!
Oaks Day was just second place
For miss Rachael Alexandra
Atta Boy (Roy), our hometown boy
proved to us he was a "mudda"

Another mudder, Super Saver
Won the Derby in Kentucky
My bet on him won me the cash
To save Bucky B Lucky
Jaime's Thoroughbred, Grand Slam
Showed his favorite color, BLUE!
We said good-bye to Chinook Pass
He was a hero, through & through

Ravel & Steffen took home bronze
Their Dressage sure made US proud
Totilas, a stunning horse
Was a favorite of the crowd
Phillippe ~ Vigo, a perfect pair
The model World Equestrian
But Hickstead was the perfect one
No matter who was riding him

Zenyatta danced into our hearts
She won nearly every race
We lost Cedar County Queen
But she left us full of grace
Lola came to stay with us
She frolicked in the sunny weather
Jasmine found her final home
I'm grateful for that time together

48 lines about 25 horses...