Rainbow Meadows: an enterprise that changes the life of horses for the better

09 Apr 2024

The goals of this remarkable enterprise that is helping to save and benefit horses in rural Kansas are Rescue, Rehabilitate and Re-home.

Karen Everhart is executive director of the non-profit organization Rainbow Meadows Equine Rescue & Retirement, which she co-founded with her husband Dave. Karen and Dave are from the Wichita area originally. Everhart said she was the proverbial “horse-crazy girl” who spent summers with horses on her family’s farm in southeast Kansas. Karen became a medical administrator but never forgot her love of horses.

She met and married Dave who spent 38 years in military service.

In 1981, Karen purchased the first horse of her own: A golden Palomino mare named Rainbow. Over time, she added to her horse herd. In 2005, she retired from her health administrator position and purchased a ranch in Chautauqua County.

“People would contact me about some horse that was abandoned or in a kill pen and say, `Could you help this horse?’” Karen said. Within four months, her horse herd doubled from 10 to 20. It was clear there was a need.

In September 2005, Rainbow Meadows Equine Rescue & Retirement was incorporated as a 501(c)3 organization. It can now receive tax-deductible donations. The organization is named Rainbow Meadows in honor of Everhart’s first beloved horse.

“Since that time, we’ve worked harder than we ever did in our professional lives,” Karen said with a smile. “We appreciate our wonderful, caring volunteers.”

The goal is to rescue horses, mules and donkeys that are at risk. These equine are rehabilitated and, where appropriate, adopted out to caring homes.

There are two types of intake to the program. One is horses from horse-owners who find themselves unable to care for their equines due to circumstances such as illness, changed family situations, or otherwise.

“We can be a first responder for the horses,” Everhart said.

The second type of intake, much less common, is receiving horses through a sheriff or police department when the horses are legally seized due to abuse or neglect of the animals.

The Everhart’s daughter earned her master’s degree at K-State, and eventually settled with her husband in the Manhattan area. When grandchildren were born, Karen and Dave wanted to be closer to them.

“I told the Board of Directors that we wanted to move closer to Manhattan so maybe it was time to close Rainbow Meadows,” Everhart said. “The Board said, `You’re welcome to relocate, but we want this to continue.’”

After a long search for property, Karen found and bought the place where Rainbow Meadows is today. “God opened the door to this place,” Everhart said. It is located along Highway 77, eight miles south of Junction City and north of the rural community of Woodbine, population 157 people.

“This is a mission, this is a ministry,” Everhart said. “These abused horses don’t deserve the kind of treatment they’ve received.”.

Since its founding, Rainbow Meadows has assisted in rescuing hundreds of horses.

In addition to having horses that are adopted, Rainbow Meadows offers a horse retirement program where owners can provide monthly support for their horses to come to Rainbow Meadows and live out their days in safety and comfort.  The ultimate wish for every horse that comes to Rainbow Meadows is to find their forever home where they will be loved and cared for until the end of their days. Rainbow Meadows team have granted this wish for hundreds of rescued animals.

In support of this work, Rainbow Meadows hold a fundraising gala each year.

Karen and Dave Everhart and all those involved with this remarkable organization that is making a difference in the lives of horses as well as horse owners involved in rescue work deserve all praise and respect.


By Alex Arlander | ENC News




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