From one nursing home to another: Oak Hammock residents help sponsor 4-legged neighbors – In Focus

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Oak Hammock residents give carrots to horses at Mill Creek Farm on their private tour. (Photo courtesy of Oak Hammock)

Mill Creek Farm Horse Nursing Home in Alachua, Florida opened in 1983 after owner Mary Gregory met her future husband and they bonded over their love of animals.

Now, at their Florida horse retirement farm, they are dedicated to providing a good life for horses that are too old to be worked or ridden.

It costs about $3,000 a year to maintain a single horse, but residents of a local retirement continuing care community, Oak Hammock at the University of Florida, are helping to lower that cost by s’ uniting and sponsoring their first horse, named George, for $50 a month.

“This operation is done entirely by volunteers,” said Oak Hammock resident Bill Rossi, describing Mill Creek Farm. “The lady who owns this place and her son have dedicated over 300 acres here to save animals. I think it’s a place of beauty.

Horse care home president Paul Gregory says the partnership with Oak Hammock is beneficial to mental and physical health.

“We really want this to be a learning experience for people here,” he said. “A senior horse, just like a senior, deserves to be respected and cared for.”

Oak Hammock residents give carrots to horses at Mill Creek Farm on their private tour. (Photo courtesy of Oak Hammock)

According to Katherine Osman, director of community services at Oak Hammock, about 20 Oak Hammock residents went to visit the retirement horse farm after hearing about the program, and more are interested in returning when it gets warmer. costs. She anticipates it will be an ongoing relationship, with around 50 residents attending the pre-trip briefing.

Osman said to kick off the program, people from Mill Creek came to talk about the organization and educate residents. A private tour of the 350-acre property was held after the meeting, allowing residents to meet the horses and learn their stories.

“Some of these horses survived horrific abuse and neglect or worked in dangerous situations, so they all deserve a happy retirement,” Osman said.

After the visit, residents pledged to sponsor a horse. Additionally, some Oak Hammock residents individually plan to donate and sponsor horses to the facility.

From one retirement community to another, there is no doubt that the friendships between Mill Creek Farm and Oak Hammock will only grow.

“I think when we focus on others, even other four-legged people, it helps us realize how big of an impact small gestures can have,” Osman said.

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