3 Facts About Ocala’s Horses We Bet You Didn’t Know
Ocala/Marion County is known as “The Horse Capital of the World®,” and with good reason. This is the place where thoroughbred horses are born, trained and transformed into champions!
The abundance of oak-lined trails and sprawling green pastures make our destination a hot spot for all things equine, and in fact, Ocala/Marion County is home to a higher concentration of horses and ponies than any other county in the United States. This idyllic and unassuming area has produced a stunning total of 50 national champions, 6 Kentucky Derby winners, 26 Breeders’ Cup champions and 6 Horses of the Year.
Here are a few of Ocala/Marion County’s horsey highlights:
Fact #1 - Ocala/Marion County is Home to More Than 1,200 Horse Farms
Visitors to this scenic destination have a wide range of opportunities to meet and greet horses on guided horse farm tours or hop in the saddle themselves with Cactus Jack’s Trail Rides on the Cross Florida Greenway Trail. Whether you’re an expert rider, a beginner, or even a saddle-shy observer, there’s something for everyone to enjoy and experience in Ocala/Marion County.
Fact # 2 - Ocala/Marion County Boasts Ties to Two Triple Crown Winners
American Pharoah and Affirmed are both closely connected to Ocala/Marion County. Affirmed, the 1978 Triple Crown Winner, was born and trained in sunny Ocala. He was the last horse to win the Triple Crown until American Pharoah broke the 37-year drought in 2015. American Pharoah was born in Kentucky, but trained at the prestigious McKathan Brothers Training Center in nearby Citra.*
Fact # 3 - Ocala/Marion County is the Horse Capital of the World®
This Central Florida county is internationally renowned as the “Horse Capital of the World®,” and is home to the largest number of horses and ponies – more than any other county in the United States. This includes nearly 35,000 thoroughbred horses, but the variety and diversity of our horses is unmatched. Beyond its legacy as a top training ground and equine-friendly vacation destination, Ocala/Marion County hosts several national and international horse competitions and countless shows throughout the year, from the Horse Shows in the Sun (HITS) Ocala Winter Circuit to Live Oak International.
With these quick and easy facts under your belt, you should be more than ready to saddle up for a memorable equestrian adventure! Happy trails!