Saturday, January 3, 2009

Horse Rescue and Retirement...

My family LOVES animals. Did I say we love animals? I mean we REALLY do. If we could afford to buy a farm , we would. And, we would happily tend to the animals daily - feeding, brushing, loving, nurturing, you name it - that would be fine!

This morning while I was cooking breakfast my husband was watching TV. He found this dog show a few weeks ago that is aimed toward kids. He loves it every Saturday, now. (Of course, he's a big kid so that works!) Anyway, after the dog show went off, he left and left the TV on - a big no,no in our house as it wastes electricity. But, I'll forgive him this once because a little while later Jack Hanna's Into the Wild show came on.

I don't know about you, but I haven't seen this show in years. I did enjoy it the few times that I saw it back then. That Jack is a funny guy when he's chasing animals. But, today the show was different. Jack wasn't chasing animals, he was helping feed animal on a farm. Not just any old farm, a horse rescue farm.

The farm is called Mill Creek Farm - Retirement Home for Horses, Inc. What a wonderful place! This couple, Mary and Peter Gregory, of retirement age themselves (I think the man was 79 at filming!) purchased hundreds of acres of land outside of Naples, FL. They take in horse that have worked, in some capacity or another, all their lives and allow the horses a nice place to "retire". The farm also provides a separate paddock for blind horses (apparently, Appaloosa's are prone to blindness as they age) and a burial ground called "Field of Dreams" as a final resting place.

The Gregory's provide a home for these animals to prevent them from being destroyed, as most owners would do when the horse is no longer deemed useful. Of the horses Jack showed us, some had been abused by their previous owners by starvation, improper grooming habits (trimming of hooves), or improper care after injuries. Others had been put out to pasture after years of police, forestry, or circus work. The remainder had been participants in riding programs and one had been saved from the "animal dumping grounds", also known as the Everglades.

Can you believe that horse owners in Florida will take their horses out to the Everglades and tie them to trees for alligator feed because they don't want to pay to properly dispose of the animal???? Outrageous!

During the filming of the show, a man showed up with a trunk load of fresh fruits and veggies for the horses. He stated that he had been coming daily for 8 years with the same load - a case of bananas, a case of apples or pears, and a 50 pound bag of carrots. Jack's wife introduced us to a family that has adopted a horse, a miniature pony and a burro. The family travels regularly from Germany to visit and groom their adoptive animals! That's commitment!

Jack Hanna stated that he and his wife had found this jewel of a farm over 12 years ago on a trip to the Naples area. They have been sponsoring horses ever since. Jack said that you can sponsor one horse, which offsets the costs of feeding, grooming and veterinary expenses, for $40 a month. The website states that the average cost for one horse per year is about $2100 (and they had a lot!)

If you are interested in more information on this wonderful organization click on their link above or here for their donation information page:
(The horses pictured are from the Mill Creek Farm website. The first is Collier, an Arabian, from the Parker Ranger Service. The second is Denim, a Quarterhorse, from the Veterinary Medical Center of the University of Florida - poor swayback fellow...)


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