By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
One of West Seattle’s best-known residents is leaving.
It’s not because of the bridge closure.
It’s not because of the pandemic.
It’s … the grass.
Jeb the miniature horse has lived at an Admiral home, adjacent to a public street-end greenbelt, for more than 15 years. This Tuesday, a horse-transport firm will pick him up and take him to his new home in Taos, New Mexico.
Jeb’s human companion Mimi Miles contacted WSB because she wanted all his fans to know about his imminent departure. Word’s gotten out around the neighborhood. And there are signs up on the fence by his yard along that greenbelt:
Mimi’s not leaving – just Jeb. “I’m bracing myself for a hard transition,” she lamented. But maybe it won’t be so rough for Jeb – he’s leaving to live with Mimi’s daughters Hope and Celeste, who were living at home when he joined the family. They were “obsessed” with horses and “begged and begged” for one. So just days before Christmas in 2005, they got the then-2 1/2-year-old miniature horse from Mount Vernon, “packed him in the back of our Vanagon,” brought him to West Seattle, and the rest is history.
The main reason for the move is Jeb’s health. Much as he loves to graze the greenbelt, Seattle grass isn’t good for him – too much nitrogen and sugar, Mimi explains, and that contributes to health problems including Cushing’s Disease and laminitis. His main diet is a special type of hay she drives to Issaquah to buy. The wet weather also is less than ideal for his hoof problem.
“He’ll have a really nice life down there,” Mimi declares, living with four other horses, near trails and even the Rio Grande. Miniature horses can live into their 40s, she explains, so at 18, he has many potentially good years ahead, and deserves to be in the best place for him.
But he may not become the kind of celebrity he’s been in his West Seattle years, with appearances at community events. He gained fame within a few years of his arrival; we wrote about Jeb 10 years ago, taking a close-up look at his life with the Miles family (including the tale of a petition drive after someone complained he might not have enough room to roam, though he did).
Fast forward a decade. The girls are gone but others in the neighborhood have followed in their footsteps as Jeb devotees. While we were talking with Mimi and Jeb at midday today, more came to say farewell:
In fact, during this pandemic year, Mimi says, Jeb’s drawn even more visitors than before – with people working and studying at home, taking neighborhood walks, “let’s go see Jeb” has been a popular pastime.
She’ll miss him.a lot – “still trying to wrap my head around this” – too. He’s been relatively easy to care for, just a few problems over the years; he’s gotten out on occasion, and that’s even led to police bringing him home.
But he’s so mellow, “the earth could shake around him and he wouldn’t care.”
If for some reason New Mexico doesn’t work out, she reasons, he cam always come back here. But she’s certain the Southwest will be “a better life for Jeb.” Until the transport company comes to get him Tuesday, though, he’s holding court. Two more visitors stopped by before we left.
“Are you Jeb’s mom?” they asked Mimi, presenting her with a card.
And of course, even after he leaves, she always will be.