Clydesdale breeders near Plainville lose horse, cabin to wildfire

Emily and Michael Reif lost their cabin and one of their Clydesdale horses in a Dec. 15...
Emily and Michael Reif lost their cabin and one of their Clydesdale horses in a Dec. 15 wildfire near Plainville, Kan.(KWCH)
Published: Dec. 16, 2021 at 11:15 PM CST
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HAYS, Kan. (KWCH) - A wide range of emotions in north-central Kansas follows a massive fire that burned nearly 400,000 acres in parts of four counties. Among those heavily impacted by those fires was a couple near Plainville that breeds Clydesdale horses.

Emily and Michael Reif own Sunflower Clydesdales. They suffered great losses to one of their prized horses and their cabin. Still, they’re taking the time to thank their community for the support that’s followed Wednesday’s devastation.

The Reifs are staying at a hotel until they can figure out a plan.

On Wednesday, Michael was watching the weather when he lost cell phone service and the power went out. He rushed to try to help his horses.

“I tried to make it to our stud pin to let them out, but I couldn’t reach them,” he said.

Michael said he was soon covered in smoke and ash.

“The fire came so fast, I didn’t have any time to react,” he said.

Micheal said the cabin on their property burned to the ground. The fire also claimed the life of one of the couple’s 13 Clydesdales. The Reifs said they were able to recover the other Clydesdales along with their other two horses.

“[Thursday] morning, we were able to find the horses and load them with the help of a lot of generous people,” Michael said.

Several other horses were injured and the Reifs aren’t sure if all of them will make it. For now, they’re just happy it wasn’t worse and are thinking of others in their community also dealing with the aftermath of the fires.

“The sun came up today shining. We are happy about that,” Emily said. Good friends, help around, we just feel blessed about that.”

A GoFundMe page has been started to help Sunflower Clydesdales and the Reifs rebuild a shelter and provide food and veterinary care to their horses.

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