There’s a farm in a town called Fountain Inn, South Carolina, that has some of the rarest equines known to humankind: unicorns. Here, visitors will find the mystical white horses with the single horn on their head. Magical. Beautiful.
Okay, fine. The ‘unicorns’ in question belong to Hidden Pasture Unicorn Farm and are really miniature horses sporting a homemade horn. But the effect is truly out of this world.
Hidden Pasture bills itself as a “visiting farm” and part of the growing agritourism movement. The farm hosts programs for children, writing on its Facebook page, “we combine and factual and the magical to blend education and entertainment programs for our guests, with a focus on children.”
The venue hosts camps and birthday parties; there is also a petting zoo with a menagerie that includes miniature cows, peacocks, goats, bunnies and more. Hidden Pasture will also bring the mini-unicorns to other venues, be it a children’s party or photo shoot – think magical wedding snaps!
The farm is owned by Kate Nichols and Rick DeBerry, who began rescuing horses and ponies that were intended for export as meat. Their herd grew quickly; Nichols told a media outlet that often miniature ponies become defacto “lawn ornaments” and owners don’t want them any more, so many wind up in horse auctions and are ultimately shipped to slaughterhouses. But the pair wanted to do more than just house the rescues, so Nichols rehabilitates the ponies with the hopes of finding them forever homes.
“I finally got to a point where I thought, ‘You know, we have to do something with these animals. We have to make their lives better not just by caring for them, but allowing them to be rehomed,’” Nichols told The Greenville News.
One way that the couple support their farm and its four-legged residents is by opening up the farm to visitors year-round. But the most special time of the year is the holidays, and a few years ago, what started as an experiment has now grown into a legendary local attraction.
Nichols was previously involved in an area Christmas light festival known as the Roper Mountain Holiday Lights and used her skills and connections to create a Yuletide Unicorn Festival in 2019, featuring her miniature ponies with horns handcrafted by DeBerry. This year marks the second year for the unicorn farm, but the third for the Yuletide Festival. And judging by its success, it certainly won’t be the last, largely in large part to Nichols’ marketing savvy and clear passion for the animals.
“I always thought I was going to be a book writer, so I’ve been writing stories about unicorns my whole life,” she said in the article. “We’re just bringing them to life with this.”