Mill Creek Farm’s retirement home for hoses puts senior horses out to pasture
Retirement communities are abundant in North Central Florida, but the retirement community known as Mill Creek Farm is exclusive to horses.
The Retirement Home for Horses at Mill Creek Farm, as it is formally known, is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization located in Alachua, Fla., that relies entirely on donations from the public.
The home was founded in 1983 by Mary and Peter Gregory after they retired from the hotel industry in South Florida. It had always been their dream when they were young and living in England to one day create a sanctuary for unwanted, aging, abandoned, neglected and abused horses.
Thirty years ago, they began to realize that retirement dream.
Peter Gregory died in March, but his legacy continues with Mary Gregory and her son, Paul, dedicating their lives to the preservation of this sanctuary.
More than 130 horses are currently retired at Mill Creek Farm, where they live out their days in more than 300 acres of rolling green pastures lined with wooden fences and shady live oak trees.
Most of the horses have been rescued by law enforcement agencies, frontline rescue organizations and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA).
Mill Creek Farm also cares for retired police and military horses. These faithful civil servants, having worked tirelessly on our city streets over the span of their lives, deserve a peaceful retirement.
The rescued horses often arrive frightened, emaciated and injured. One horse was delivered with government paperwork describing it as a “used vehicle in poor condition.” Others have lived their lives in basement stables and have rarely seen sunlight or grass.
April, one of the many horses abandoned in Florida, was discovered in the Everglades starving and injured after having been left tied to a tree. With veterinary attention, special feedings and plenty of hands on deck, Mill Creek Farm was able to regain her health.
With the opportunity to graze in green pastures and form bonds with pasture mates, these horses are allowed to enjoy their retirement for many years to come.
“As a species, horses have been serving man for thousands of years,” Mary Gregory said. “We think they deserve a proper retirement.”
When a horse dies it is buried in the Field of Dreams where a tree is planted in its memory.
With a devoted group of volunteers and staff members and the supervision of the Gregorys, the care of these horses is always the primary concern.
Mary and Paul, who both live on the property, begin their chores before sunrise and end well after the sun sets. Six dogs and two barn cats also call Mill Creek Farm home and are always at hand to see things are done efficiently.
To ensure the farm continues to prosper for years to come, Mill Creek Farm has been placed in a perpetual conservation easement with Alachua Conservation Trust and the Trust for Public Lands. With more than 70 acres of wetlands and forest, there is an abundance of wildlife that also finds sanctuary here.
Feed, veterinary care and farm maintenance is expensive, but with the support of people who believe in our mission, Mill Creek Farm will continue to be a “forever” home for these aging horses.
Please consider sponsoring one of these beautiful animals by donating a monthly stipend to help provide a safe haven for a noble steed in his or her twilight years.
We welcome volunteers and encourage any who are interested to contact us. There are many tasks to choose from, such as grooming, cleaning water troughs, weeding and golf cart maintenance, to name a few. We would love to have your help and have you visit these majestic creatures.
“Our promise is that these horses will never be ridden or worked again,” Mary Gregory said. “Here they can roam freely, live in peace and die with dignity.”
If You Plan to Visit
The Retirement Home for Horses at Mill Creek Farm is located at 20307 NW County Road 235A, Alachua, FL 32615-4228. The farm is open to the public every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. While the admission cost is only two carrots, we hope you will bring more because there will be many heads at the fences hoping for one.
Exit 399 off Interstate 75 and go west on US 441 about half a mile. Turn right after Santa Fe High School onto County Road 235A. Follow north about 3 miles and turn right immediately after crossing over I-75 overpass at the Mill Creek Farm sign on the right.
Contact Mill Creek Farm
Facebook: Retirement Home for Horses Inc.