Healing, education, rescue: how a local nonprofit is saving the lives of horses and humans alike

Posted on May 21, 2020

Laughing Pony Rescue is a nonprofit organization founded in 2010 by local Rancho Santa Fe resident Celia Sciacca. The organization is committed to saving the lives of horses and humans through healing, education, and rescue. Since its founding, Laughing Pony Rescue has saved more than 1,200 horses, donkeys, and farm animals from abuse, neglect, and slaughter by finding new and caring homes. The dedicated team also houses and cares for many of the rescued animals at its Rancho Santa Fe location.

Not long after its founding, the organization expanded beyond rescue efforts to providing equine therapy for individuals dealing with all types of personal issues, including PTSD, illness, depression, trauma, and abuse. The program is run by Dr. Tufia Steidle, a licensed clinical psychologist. Dr. Steidle holds both a master’s and a doctorate degree in psychology, is an EAGALA certified therapist, and has more than 20 years of experience working to help individuals alleviate psychological and emotional issues. Her expertise, combined with interaction with the rescued equines on the property, helps individuals build confidence, reduce anxiety, and start their personal healing process.

Another focus of Laughing Pony Rescue is delivering community education programs to build awareness about neglected, mistreated, and slaughter-bound horses, donkeys, and farm animals. The team works to educate local organizations, schools, libraries, and the community at large on all aspects of equine care.

In an effort to showcase these programs and impact even more members of the San Diego community, Laughing Pony Rescue had planned a ‘Day at the Ranch’ fundraising event for the month of April.  Unfortunately, due to evolving COVD-19 pandemic, the event was cancelled.  As the ranch’s marquee fundraiser for the spring, the event was critically necessary to raise funds for operating expenses, animal care and feeding, and subsequent rescue efforts. As such, Laughing Pony Rescue needs the community’s support, as those funds are desperately needed now more than ever. To learn more and donate, visit laughingponyrescue.org/donate.