-- Florida is a popular retirement place for those looking to enjoy the nice weather and relax after a lifetime of hard work – horses included. The Retirement Home for Horses at Mill Creek Farm provides a loving home where “retirees” can enjoy the remainder of their lives in peace.
The 335-acre farm is home to 128 horses, mostly aged 20 to 30, that are free to roam, graze and be pampered as they live out their the remainder of their days in horse happiness.
Mill Creek Farm in Alachua, a nonprofit equine sanctuary, takes “old, neglected, and unwanted horses,” Paul Gregory, whose parents founded the farm in 1983, told ABC News. The horses are mostly taken from rescue organizations, but retired government and police horses reside on the farm as well.
“They did their public service, they deserve retirement,” said Paul.
And retirement truly does treat these horses well.
The Mill Creek Farm promises every horse that comes to them that they will never be worked or ridden again, and that’s not the only perk.
Every Thursday and Saturday groomers come in to groom the horses, which Paul refers to as “their weekly spa trip.” About every seven weeks the horses have a “pedicure day,” where their hooves are cleaned, and once a year an equine dentist cleans their teeth.
Let’s not forget the weekly love and pampering of their devoted community members. Every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. the farm is open to visitors, who love to come and feed the horses their favorite snacks of carrots, bananas and apples. The price of admission to the farm is just two carrots, the same as it’s been since the day the farm opened.
Mill Creek Farm had been a dream for Peter and Mary Gregory since they began dating as teenagers. Growing up in England, the two would frequently visit horses outside of London, planning to one day run their own farm, and ultimately buying a farm in Florida in 1983.
Paul Gregory, the couple’s son, had promised his father that if anything were to happen to him, Paul would move to the farm and take care of the horses and his mother.
So, when an 85-year-old Peter Gregory died in March, after 31 years of caring for horses on the farm, that’s just what he did. Paul, a Fort Lauderdale realtor for 18 years, left for Miller Creek Farm the day his father died, and he has not been back to Fort Lauderdale since.
“It’s the most incredible I’ve ever felt in my whole life,” said Paul. “These horses are changing my life.”
Paul hopes to fulfill his father’s dream of expanding the farm for more horses, allowing as many as possible to live out their old age in the comfort and happiness of Mill Creek Farm.
The farm accepts donations. Some contributors that have been donating for over 25 years, and people are able to “sponsor” horses, which costs around $50 a month.