Mill Creek Farm

Horsing around with senior equines at The Retirement Home for Horses at Mill Creek Farm.

Written by Cynthia McFarland

The sad truth is that many older horses find themselves in dire circumstances. 

Peter and Mary Gregory were determined to change that by providing a happy last chapter for equines in need. They put actions behind their dreams and founded a nonprofit sanctuary for old, abused and abandoned horses.

Photo courtesy of Mill Creek Farm

Since The Retirement Home for Horses at Mill Creek Farm opened its gates in 1984, the facility in Alachua has been home to 484 equines.

“The mission is to take in horses over 20 years of age that have been seized by law enforcement and equine rescue groups in cruelty and neglect cases,” explains Paul Gregory, who has helped his mother, Mary, run the nonprofit since his father, Peter, passed away in 2014. “We also take in retired law enforcement and military horses.

“We take the horses that can’t be adopted out by rescues because of issues they have,” he adds, noting that they don’t accept horses from private owners. 

The farm covers 335 peaceful acres where the horses roam happily in large pastures surrounded by woods and wetlands. A conservation easement ensures that the land will never be developed. The sanctuary is named for Mill Creek, which runs through the whole farm.

Of the current 142 equine residents, the horses are joined by a few ponies and miniature donkeys, and one “zorse,” a zebra/horse cross rescued from a hoarding case.

“Once a horse comes through our gates, they never work again a day in their lives, and they spend the rest of their lives with us,” says Paul.

About a third of the equine residents are on medication for specific conditions. A number of the horses are “special needs,” such as the seven who are completely blind.

Caring for this aging herd runs about $3,000 per animal, or roughly $400,000 per year.

“It’s a labor of love,” says Paul. “We couldn’t do what we’re doing without our incredible, dedicated volunteers, team members and donors.”

The sanctuary is open to the public every Saturday from 11am-3pm. Admission is two carrots. 

It’s the perfect outing for families, seniors, college kids or for a date. Thanks to the paved trails, it’s accessible by wheelchair and walker.

Be sure to stop by the kiosk where, for a donation, you can take home a souvenir T-shirt and tote bag or handmade gifts like horse finger puppets, hand-painted greeting cards and more. 

Retirement Home for Horses, Inc. at Mill Creek Farm

20307 NW County Road 235A, Alachua