Move over, Old MacDonald! Lester and Diane Aradi have the coolest farm in the country!
Lester had just spent 10 years as a police chief, along with nearly four decades in law enforcement in Florida, and he was ready to escape from the city. He and his wife Diane moved to Georgia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. They had peace and quiet for a time—but they weren’t alone for long.
The couple had always loved horses, and now that they had plenty of open space, they were able to keep a few for themselves. They began working with the Georgia Equine Rescue League, taking in sick, neglected, and/or elderly horses.
It started with Haggis. Once a top performer at the race track, he had since been neglected and needed a caring family to take him in. Next came Samson, who had knees so weak that he required a special diet to keep his weight low.
Haggis has the same markings as Joey in the book/movie "War Horse." Four white sox, same marking on forehead, same coloring and black mane and tail.
Gradually, they added in more horses like Atlas, Razor, and Beau, each with a unique and heartbreaking story. The Aradis dubbed the farm Horse Creek Stables—although they soon opened their doors to more than just horses.
“It’s a labor of love,” Lester told MNN. “It all happened like a domino effect, having that one potato chip that gave us a desire to have a second one, and it continued.”
They soon adopted a golden retriever named Tricycle from Adopt a Golden Atlanta. Tricycle had lost one leg in an accident, which inspired his name—but his welcoming attitude made him a favorite among the family. Lester even loved the dog so much that he wrote a children’s book called “Tricycle and Friends.” It tells the real-life stories of Tricycle’s time at Horse Creek Stable.
“I’m certainly no writer,” Lester admitted. “I go by the old saying, ‘hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.’ I don’t have talent, but I know how to work hard.”
Tricycle wasn’t the last dog to find a spot on the farm, however—not by a long shot! They adopted another retriever named Romeo who also had only three legs. They became fast friends and have both started working as therapy dogs.
Another farm-favorite was Major the English mastiff. Major was the victim of extreme abuse with his former family, but in spite of that, he was an incredibly kind soul. Major passed away in 2015, but his memory will live on forever.
…………… REST IN PEACE "MAJOR MOOSE" ……………Major was seized and brought to us two years ago by Union…
“We have had eight or nine animals we have had to put down on this farm,” explained Lester. “But they are buried here, so their spirits live on with the other animals.
“We take the real old ones, the ones nobody else wants, the ones in danger, the ones who only have a year left to live. That’s the way it is.”
Carrie’s mouth suffered temporary paralysis due to neglect. Her owner failed to shear her during the summer months, so she suffered heat stroke. While her prior life certainly was far from ideal, her new life at Horse Creek has made her happier and healthier than ever before.
Carrie, the badly neglected rescued llama mama, has one more month to go before she delivers her baby at horsecreekstable.com home of Tricycle and Friends #rescue #llama #agritourism
The Aradis don’t just keep all of the animals to themselves, however—they like to invite others in. Anyone is welcome to visit Horse Creek free of charge, making it a popular destination for field trips. The Aradis give free tours, but they also run a paid bed and breakfast in an old carriage house for those looking to stay the night.
“Every dime after expenses will go towards the care of the animals,” Lester explained. “The better the business is doing, the more animals we can take on.”
Yet if you can’t visit the farm yourself, fear not—because Horse Creek could come to you. Tricycle and Romeo regularly visit nursing homes as therapy dogs, while the Aradis have a few more therapy animals, including Buckaroo the miniature donkey and a much young retriever named Hope.
Hope has an incurable brain disorder called Cerebellar Hypoplasia, which makes it difficult to walk. When she came to Horse Creek as a puppy, she was given a set of wheels to help her get around. Lester and Diane absolutely love their little Hope and are thinking of making a sequel to “Tricycle and Friends” about her.
Lester might no longer be a police officer, but he’s still dedicated to helping those in need.
“We just told God that when we retired and had a little bit of land, then we would take on larger animals that nobody wanted,” he said. “We never thought we’d be where we are today.”