Tuesday, July 2, 2013
Bob Heisler told me about the Mill Creek Farm, Retirement Home for Horses was established in 1984 as an equine sanctuary by Mary and Peter Gregory in Alachua Florida. Over one hundred horses stay in these rolling meadows where they are never ridden or worked again. Terry and I visited the farm on June 1st, and were greeted by Peter, age 83, at the entrance when we arrived. He gave us a tour of the property in one of the go carts that he and volunteers use to get around the huge property's acres.
Some of the formerly abused horses came from circuses, the military and police forces. One horse has a medal of commendation signed by the president. Some horses from a New York City riding academy had lived in stalls in a basement, and had never seen sunlight. They now roam free in pastures. On the weekends, volunteers come to give the horses a grooming. Horses are taken from their pastures where they get plenty of attention. Voltan stood with regal pride as he was groomed. One of the first pastures had horses that were blind. A sign explained that if you tapped a carrot against the fence then the horses would come to be fed. One horse literally had no eyes, just empty sealed over sockets. Terry gave them some carrots. Visitors come to the retirement home each weekend to feed and pet the horses.
All the horses that had been formerly abused, abandoned or destined for slaughter, are provided a lifetime of care. Peter drove us through "The Field of Dreams" this is where horses are buried when they die. He explained that about one horse dies each month. The retirement home went for four months earlier this year with out any horses passing away, but last month four died. Each time a horse dies, a tree is planted to mark it's grave. The Field of Dreams is slowly becoming a forest.
The property is open every weekend to the public from 11am to 3pm. Admission is two carrots. If you love horses, consider sponsoring one at the farm under the Adopt-a-horse Program. This requires a monthly stipend to help provide care for a noble animal in his or her twilight years. Call or write for details.
Retirement Home for Horses
P.O. Box 2100
Alachua, FL 32616-2100