The Leading Ocala Farm Realtors
Ocala Horse Properties was formed in 2007 by twin brothers Chris and Rob Desino. In 2011, Matt Varney joined the team and, today, they represent the largest portfolio of horse farms in the world.
The OHP Team has led the Ocala farm sales market since 2007, and year after year they are number one in farm sales. They operate the boutique company with one goal in mind: To completely satisfy each client one at time.
The team take great pride in applying personal attention to every detail. People notice this about them and are always impressed about how hands-on they are. They are just very passionate about the farms in Ocala and love the real estate business. Many of their former clients are now personal friends.
This is the biggest compliment for them because they truly consider each client’s individuality, take the time to get to know them and, specifically, what they are looking for in a farm. Their goal isn’t to just make a sale and be done, rather, they know their clients are going to be their neighbors and treat them like one from the beginning.
They create an experience for each person they work with and really just enjoy spending time with and getting to know people.
Meet Chris & Rob Desino
As the principles of Ocala Horse Properties, the brothers from Rochester, New York, have earned their place as the leading real estate company selling horse farms throughout Ocala and Marion County. In addition, they also own Wellington Equestrian Realty and between the two companies, represent the largest portfolio of premier horse properties in the world.
Chris and Rob have a passion for everything they do; they enjoy getting to know people and sharing their enthusiasm for horses and for Ocala. They believe in pure customer service and pride themselves on taking the time to listen to the needs, wants and desires of our buyers. Then they find them the perfect farm.
Their drive and determination showed early on as the twins were top performers in every sport they played. But it was competitive rowing where they first made a mark on the national scene.
While attending Hobart College, they were two-time National Collegiate Champions. After graduation, the brothers moved to Philadelphia where they trained and competed for the US National & World Championship Team. Prior to the 2000 Olympics, Rob suffered an unfortunate career ending injury and they turned their focus to another passion – restaurants.
Rob and Chris created a chain of very successful restaurants throughout Rochester, Buffalo and Syracuse, New York, where they honed their exemplary customer service skills. They believe that restaurants were the best training for having an extreme focus on keeping guests happy.
After selling their restaurants, they felt as if the horse farm real estate business was the next step and chose Ocala because they both had wintered here with their horses. They also had invested in Marion County horse farms and had first-hand knowledge of the value and charm of the area. Hooked on the area, they have a deep knowledge and appreciation for all the great activities and businesses here.
Meet Matt Varney
Matt Varney is an accomplished real estate professional who started his career in residential site construction and estimating before working for a privately held Florida-based real estate developer; where at just 26, he quickly became the leading salesman in the company. Matt specialized in large property acquisitions where he negotiated and closed contracts with some of the largest homebuilders in the country.
In 2010 (along with Chris & Rob Desino), Matt started Ocala Horse Properties’ sister company, Wellington Equestrian Realty. Even though Wellington is widely known as one of the most competitive places in the country to sell horse farms, Matt excelled quickly selling more farms than any other realtor in Palm Beach County.
Matt has been entrusted to represent (and has sold to) many members of the Forbes Fortune 100 list and his success has been well documented, including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and 60 Minutes Sports. In Ocala, Matt’s extensive transactional experience has helped further solidify Ocala Horse Properties’ position as the most successful horse farm brokerage the last decade (and counting). In 2020 Matt was Marion County’s leading realtor with over $65,000,000 in sales volume.
Matt is an avid sports fan, a respectable golfer and enjoys riding recreationally, but he lives his equestrian competitiveness vicariously through his wife, Dr. Courtney Varney, DVM. Matt enjoys accompanying Courtney, an accomplished FEI Dressage rider, USDF gold medalist, and equine veterinarian, to as many competitions as his busy schedule will allow. Matt and Courtney are strong supporters of Dressage in Florida, where along with Chris & Rob Desino, Matt was honored as a first founding sponsor of the Global Dressage Festival.
Matt and his family remain very active in helping preserve Marion County’s horse farms through organizations like Horse Farms Forever. Matt was recently awarded the Carry Back Award by the Thoroughbred Farm Managers’ organization which honors those who make a considerable impact on the Florida Thoroughbred industry through their service.
Matt’s enthusiasm is contagious and his ability to quickly decipher and cultivate a clients’ needs, while persistently educating them about smart investments, is what sets him apart. His positive attitude and ability to thrive when challenges are thrown his way continue to give him the edge it takes to be successful.
Meet Amy Atkins
Amy Atkins and her husband Peter began wintering with their horses in Ocala in the late 1990s. The warm climate and access to local competitions won them over, and they moved from New England to Marion County permanently in 2003. They purchased their 10-acre farm just north of Ocala in 2006 and their son Owen was born a year later.
Amy’s innate love of horses and competitive nature have resulted in her achieving success in multiple Equestrian disciplines. She has competed in Eventing up to the Intermediate level, as well as, earning her United States Dressage Federation Bronze, Silver, and Gold Medals. She is also an accomplished endurance rider with international success. In 2018, she completed the 100 Mile Tom Quilty Gold Cup Endurance Race in Tasmania, Australia. Amy was the only American to successfully complete the race and was awarded the coveted Tom Quilty Buckle. Her husband Peter grew up in Tasmania and, as a professional Event rider, rode for Team Australia in the 2010 World Games. Together they run a successful training business with numerous long time clients.
As a very diverse horsewoman who loves all aspects of the horse world, Amy found Ocala to be the perfect place to settle. As time went on, she grew to love introducing others to the rolling "farmscapes" and beauty of the area.
“I’ve been friends with Matt Varney and the Desino’s for years and when they encouraged me to get my real estate license in 2018, it was an easy decision. I love Ocala, its natural beauty and, of course, the amazing farms. There are so many hidden treasures to be discovered and shared. Ocala is my home and introducing others to it is my passion."
Meet Stacy Larsson
As a horsewoman, Stacy Larsson loves her Ocala lifestyle. As a real estate agent, she loves sharing this lifestyle with others. Having lived in Ocala for more than 20 years, Stacy knows the ins and outs of the community and is well versed in the nuances of Ocala life. She has worked with Hudson Phillips for the past four years, and recently transitioned to the Ocala Horse Properties office where she is excited to put her equestrian skills to work for her clients.
“I’m honored the office asked Amy and I to be a part of Ocala Horse Properties,” she said. “We’re like a family and work as a team.”
She and Amy are individual subcontractors; Matt Varney has always been their broker at Hudson Phillips, and they will continue to work under his leadership at Ocala Horse Properties.
Stacy said, “We make a great team, we all work well together and I love them all like family. It’s fitting that we all work together and look out for each other and help each other out. Working in equestrian real estate is super fun and was a natural fit for me; I really enjoy real estate, home décor and architectural design and being able to combine that with these beautiful homes and barns and farms is a dream come true. I also get to put my horse knowledge together when clients are considering how to remodel a barn or make improvements to a property. It’s been fun for me.”
The entire time she’s lived in Ocala Stacy has trained dressage horses and imports horses for resale. “This is kind of the ideal area to raise a horse, with all the space and the good grass,” she said. “There are only five places in the world that have the soil that we have here in Marion County. You get great weather for the most part, and it’s the one part of Florida where you get four seasons, but the winter is still warm enough to ride.”