The summer is winding down and fall activities in Ocala are ramping up. Soon we will experience the mass migration of equestrians moving to Marion County for the beginning of the 2017/18 show season!
Each year we see a steady rise in the number of avid equestrians relocating their training operations to Ocala earlier in the season. Riders who move northeast to lease training facilities for summer competition venues have purchased farms in Ocala as their home base. Our real estate values and year-round event schedule options are hard to beat. With progress being made at the future location of the World Equestrian Center, buying property in Ocala has never been more enticing!
Marion County Equine Activities Take Center Stage
There is certainly no lack of equine related entertainment in Ocala. Looking for an easy guide to the history of the horse industry in Ocala, and a list of equestrian events by activity? We are here to help.
Your first stop for a broad overview of activities in the region is the Explore Ocala, Marion County’s Visitor & Convention Bureau website. Ocala is widely known as the ‘Horse Capital of the World™’ for good reason – our region has more horses per capita than any other area in the nation.
Horses are so central to our culture here in Marion County, that equine activities take center stage on the Visitors & Convention Bureau’s website. This online guide and helpful resource offers up a list of farms, shows, and horse related events, as well as cultural and outdoor activities at your fingertips.
OHP’s Guide To Everything Equestrian
In this edition of the ‘OHP Guide to Everything Equestrian’, we’re going to focus on locations which host USEA and FEI level combined training events (aka Eventing). We promise to continue this series with feature articles on the multitude of venues and disciplines that host both local and rated events which populate our Marion County landscape.
Longwood Farm South
Longwood Farm South, located in the Northwest region of horse country, is a world-class facility that caters to both the equine athlete and the equestrian. Throughout the year, Longwood Farm holds many events, clinics, schooling shows and horse trials, appropriate for every level of rider, amateur and professional. Ocala Horse Properties has been the title sponsor of this impressive facility for over 5 years, returning once again for the 2017/18 season.
An excerpt of their mission statement and fall schedule is below:
“We’ve created a sanctuary for equestrians to develop their skills and build confidence between horse and rider while providing a unique, safe and enjoyable environment. Whether you are schooling for the day, organizing or attending a clinic, or participating in one of our horse trials, we strive to provide professionals and amateurs with the unique Longwood experience each and every day.”
- October 14th Twilight Dressage
- October 21st-22nd LEF Jumper days
- November 4th-5th Marion Saddle Club
- November 11th-12th LEG Jumper Days
- November 18th Twilight Dressage
As Title Sponsor of Longwood Farm Equestrian Games, Ocala Horse Properties sponsors the entire series of events throughout the year. Keep an eye on upcoming winter horse trial series information through the Longwood Equestrian Games website.
The Florida Horse Park
The Florida Horse Park will certainly be a priority destination as a competitor or a spectator while exploring the region. This 500 acre, county-owned property not only hosts a multitude of horse events, but it also offers plenty of other fun outdoor activities!
In 1997 the Marion County Chamber of Commerce created a committee which founded the Horse Park. Today the park is home to a multitude of eventing, show jumping and dressage competitions as well as agriculture, educational, sports and leisure activities.
The park is open year-round, and during the winter season holds a series of USEA and FEI recognized horse trials, which are attended by the top US and international event riders.
“The Horse Park hosts a variety of events, from international equestrian events to 5Ks, rodeos to dog shows, as well as a variety of educational and sporting activities.”
Check their calendar often and go experience one of Ocala’s premier equestrian & outdoor recreation destinations!
The Ocala Jockey Club
2016 was the inaugural year for reincarnation of this newest competitive venue in Ocala, and it was a huge success! Nearly 400 acres of the 950-acre Jockey Club was recently reimagined and redesigned to host the first 3* competition in the region, and top event riders from Ocala and all over the country descended upon Ocala for the event.
The following quote is from the Ocala Jockey Club eventing website and is courtesy of Kent Guinn, the current Mayor of Ocala.
”The 2016 event was a great showcase of eventing and of Ocala in the event’s inaugural year. This year, riders will be back on their way to qualify for the 2018 World Equestrian Games. An event of this caliber is yet another example of why we call Ocala, Marion County, ‘The Horse Capital of the World’.
In addition to eventing horse trials, the Ocala Jockey Club also hosts many 1-3* Dressage and Show Jumping Competitions throughout the year. The original Jockey Club was built as a private thoroughbred facility, but the new owners have the great vision for an equestrian destination resort, and plans for further expansion are on the table.
“Concept planning is underway for distinguished real estate development, a boutique hotel, retail village, and renewal of the Clubhouse to become a vibrant special events venue, spa, academy, restaurant, meeting center and a favorite place for weddings.”
For details on the Jockey Club 3* event and other equestrian competitions, please visit the OJC Equestrian Event Website.
Stay Tuned For Future Articles
The Marion County region is a melting pot of multiple equestrian disciplines. In addition to the eventing enthusiasts who train in our region, hunter/jumper, dressage, driving, breeding, thoroughbred racing, western and pleasure riding enthusiasts also flock to Ocala.
With so many choices and topics to cover, we’ve decided to break down our feature articles by equestrian interests. Please stay tuned for future articles in our series, which will feature two key multi-discipline competition destinations – HITS Ocala and the exciting new World Equestrian Center at Golden Ocala!