GOESSEL — The Sichley family added a pair of members this summer — two horses rescued from breeding operations.
"Our family, our hearts are turned to the needy, forgotten, abused and handicapped — both people and animals. We are the type of family that would want to adopt a horse with one eye, one ear or no tail," said Emily Sichley.
She and her husband Mark turned to Rainbow Meadows Equine Rescue and Retirement, Inc. to fulfill the dreams of their oldest daughter — Lauren — who has spent two years dreaming of owning a horse on the family farm.
That dream came true when the family chose to adopt not one, but two horses.
"They are very social animals, if you only get one, they get bored," Mark Sichley said. "The rescue won't adopt, they want you to have another equine — a donkey, a llama or another horse. We thought, hey that is great, we'll get two."
The family prepared a fenced and gated area — with no barbed wire — as a home for their horses. About a month ago, Stryk'R and Pepper came to join the family.
Pepper, a 24-year old, Arabian mare, was rescued from a backyard breeding operation where the owners were eventually unable to provide sufficient feed and care for the horses. The mares and stallions were allowed to run together, resulting in unplanned pregnancies. Pepper, at 20-years old, was found in foal. Her filly was born healthy a year later.
"We wanted to give her a good home to finish out the last part of her days," Emily said. "Her whole life was basically a brood mare — she had baby after baby after baby."
Emily said they chose Pepper because of her gentleness and age — she is a good fit for a family with three children.
Stryk’R, an American Paint Horse gelding, was from a large breeding facility, and as a yearling, was kept in a small area which denied him the running and playing which is important for the physical development of young horses.
"The farm had 93 horses, and they were penned up," Emily said. "They were penned two to a stall. The rescue seized quite a few of those horses. The rescue seizes horses that are starving to death or victims of abuse and neglect."
Rainbow Meadows is an IRS-designated 501(c)(3) public charity located in Sedan,dedicated to the rescue of abused, neglected and unwanted horses. It currently houses more than 30 rescued horses, all of which are available for adoption through a process designed to ensure that the horse goes to a safe and caring "forever" home. Rainbow Meadows also actively works to educate current and potential horse owners on how to provide quality care for their horses.
To date, Rainbow Meadows has rescued more than 160 horses — and found homes for more than 150 of them.
"Every time one of our horses is adopted, we celebrate its chance at a new life in a loving forever home," said Karen Everhart, Rainbow Meadows executive director. "The true heroes for these horses are those that support us in our work — the adopters, volunteers, fosters and donors. Without them, we could not be successful in our mission."
In addition to its rescue services, Rainbow Meadows also offers a retirement program for individuals wishing to retire their horses to the ranch. All services provided by the rescue are funded entirely by gifts and donations. For more information, call (620) 725-3402 or visit www.rainbowmeadowsranch.com.