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Saddle Up at the Horse Capital of the World
Discover the heart of all things equestrian in Ocala/Marion County. Aptly named the “Horse Capital of the World™,” the area leads all other counties in total number of horses and ponies in residence, with over 70,000 acres of thoroughbred breeding and training farms. Though it is a wonderland for equine enthusiasts and professionals in the industry, even those who have never jumped up in the saddle can find an unforgettable adventure in Ocala/Marion County.
For those interested in learning more about the world of equestrian training, horse farm tours offer guests a behind the scenes look at working horse farms. Farm Tours of Ocala takes groups on a three-hour tour exploring three horse farms in the area, letting spectators get up close and personal with local legends and world-class champions, as well as their trainers and caregivers. Depending on the day of the week of your visit, your tour could include watching thoroughbreds train rail side, seeing newborn foals, OBS sales, show jumping, dressage, polo and sport horse breeding farms, each offering a unique thrill and opportunity to become fully immersed in this fascinating industry.
Additional area horse farms also offer behind the scenes tours, with Gypsy Gold being a particularly exquisite stop for a look at a rare breed. Owner Dennis Thompson and his late wife Cindy brought the first Gypsy Vanner horses to North America in 1996. Together, they established The Gypsy Vanner Horse Society, the world’s first registry for a selectively bred horse developed by Gypsies. Dennis offers a fascinating, in-depth tour in which you’ll get to know him, his story and the beautiful Gypsy Vanners on his farm. If you’re lucky, you might even get to see a foal during your special tour!
If you’d like to do rather than see, trail rides and riding lessons from BG Trail Rides at the Florida Horse Park are your ticket to guaranteed excitement. The multi-use Florida Horse Park is a world-class equestrian facility with international competitions that draw top-level competitors. At the same time, BG Trail Rides caters to the needs of riders at every skill level, from beginners to the very experienced. Guided one-hour trail rides start daily at 10 a.m. and continue throughout the day, concluding after their evening sunset ride. For riders looking for a challenge, BG Trail Rides offers polo lessons, taught by Marcos Bignoli, world-renowned international polo player.
Truly earning its title as Horse Capital of the World, Ocala/Marion County has a world-class venue for every equine event imaginable. If hunter/jumper competitions are your preference, HITS Post Time Farm will fit the bill. This equine event company specializes in producing world-class hunter/jumper shows. From barrel racing to driving and dressage, jumping competitions and more, this venue has it all. Another notable venue in Ocala/Marion County is the Southeastern Livestock Pavilion. This large setting is ideal for everything from rodeos to horse and livestock shows, trade shows, hot-rod shows and more. They’ve even hosted the Cirque Italia, an Italian water circus.
Explore all of your equine interests in Ocala/Marion County. Plan your trip, book accommodations and learn more about this destination at www.OcalaMarion.com.