Go Horse Shop’s Guide to Horse Shopping In: Ocala FL.
Written by Go Horse Shop on September 14, 2017
Horse Shopping in Ocala, Florida
The end of summer is steadfastly approaching, and with that means that a migration is coming. But it’s not the kind of migration that’ll be covered on Planet Earth; it’s the migration of horse people of the East heading south for the winter. If you’re lucky enough to be a part of this migration, you have many beautiful destinations to choose from. So why not start with horse shopping in the horse capital of the world?
Once entering the picturesque rural city of Ocala, Florida it’s clear to see why it’s known as the “The Horse Capital of the World”. Exquisitely built barns sitting atop lush green pastures, bordered with white fence lines containing stunning horses – it’s like stepping into a horse lovers’ dream. There is absolutely no shortage of great farms, knowledgeable trainers, and great horses to fit whatever you’re looking for. A rockstar OTTB, a fancy Warmblood, a fiery Eventer, or a steady Hunter, you came to the right place to look! But with over 1,200 horse farms, it’s hard to know where to begin.
If you’re looking for your next Eventing partner, the first place to start in Ocala is Exmoor Eventing. Founded by British International Eventer Daisy Trayford and her husband Richard, and partnered with Carol Gee of Ireland’s Fernhill Sport Horses, Exmoor Eventing is known for breeding and offering top quality European event horses. Having sold over 1,000 horses worldwide, their knowledge, reputation, and state of the art facilities make them a top Ocala horse shopping destination. If you’re visiting them this fall, be sure to watch the Exmoor Horse Trials October 14th!
Next stop for shopping is Wentworth Farm, owned by Peter Gray and Paul Delbrook. Peter Gray competed at most international events in Europe and North America including three Olympic Games, World Championships, and is a Pan Am individual bronze medalist. He is now is a noted trainer, rider, judge, and popular clinician in Eventing, Dressage and Equitation worldwide. Peter and Paul have both taken special interest in producing young horses in a variety of disciplines, and take pride in offering extremely fine horses for sale in Marion County.
You can find the esteemed entrepreneur Emil Spadone and his team at Redfield Farm in Califon NJ and Ocala Fl; both are full service facilities that serve as home base while they compete at A rated hunter/jumper shows up and down the east coast. Emil’s concentration is buying and selling top quality hunters and jumpers, and Redfield Farm always has a superb collection of horses for sale, ranging in prices to suit your needs.
Follow Chestnut Hill Farm from Wisconsin down to their south facility in Ocala, FL for the winter. Chestnut Hill farm attends A rated shows throughout the country, spending winters showing on the HITS Ocala circuit. Owners and head trainers Kathy Frame-Dewar and Kyle Dewar provide top level training, and offer a fine selection of hunter/jumper horses for sale year round. Chestnut Hill Farm Ocala is also located less than a mile from Golden Ocala Golf Club – perfect for relaxing in your down time.
You can also follow David Jennings of Full Circle Farm from Tennessee down to Ocala for the winter. David has an innate ability to work with young horses and developing them into top jumpers, and has established himself as a top Grand Prix rider. Full Circle Farm always has a top-quality group of sale horses available, ranging in prices, age, and experience level. He has also recently partnered with KM Farms in the selection of quality sale horses imported from Europe.
The fact is, there are so many great trainers and horses that reside in Ocala full time or come down for the winter, it’s hard to name them all – there’s just too many! Of course we can’t mention every superstar on their way down to Ocala such as Laine Ashker, Virgina’s eventing icon, or every single top show barn like SBS Farms of New York, but we can tell you that it’s a horse lover’s paradise. Here are some more reasons why.
Trainers and show barns from all over the east bring their best to the extremely popular HITS Ocala Winter Circuit. Offering an extensive range of classes, over $4 million dollars in prize money, top trainers and horses, and abundant showing opportunities, HITS Ocala at Post Time Farm is a prime winter destination and the perfect place to try horses. Check out the Holidays series this December, USEF National and Premier-Rated Hunters, 5* and 6* Jumpers, two $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derbies and the qualifiers for the HITS Championship throughout January and March. Don’t miss the FEI Nations Cup Jumping in February and the concluding Great American $1 Million Grand Prix in March!
Next on the list to check out is The Ocala Jockey Club, settled on over 900 acres of pristine equestrian paradise. The Ocala Jockey Club is well known for training young Thoroughbreds into talented racehorses, offering unparalleled lay-up and rehabilitation care, and the perfect place to condition your eventer on miles or rolling terrain. 400 acres of the farm have been developed into a world class Eventing training and competition venue, home to the Ocala Jockey Club International CIC3* 3-Day Event, taking place this November 16-19th (a must see!). Their restaurant sits on one of the highest points in the County and offers panoramic views the farm and training track, a picturesque setting for weddings, clinics, and retreats. You can stay in one of their beautiful townhomes for the winter, among 4* riders such as Jennie Brannigan who board and train their horses at The Ocala Jockey Club for the winter.
Right in the middle of the Sunshine State and nestled into the Horse Capital of the World is the Florida Horse Park, renowned for holding some of the top equestrian events in the Southeast. The 500-acre park routinely hosts local, national, and international competitions in a wide variety of disciplines including dressage, rodeos, eventing, driving, and polo. They also host international festivals, dog shows, 5k runs, and even Civil War re-enactments. Ranked in the top 8 equestrian facilities, and an official training site for the US Equestrian team, the Florida Horse Park boasts six arenas, nine separate barns, a premier cross country course, and beautiful trails. Check out the Equiventures Horse Trials in Winter 2018, and the Ocala Festival of Eventing.
And if you’re less into the big competitions, or need break from the show ring, there’s plenty that Ocala has to offer you. Book a farm tour on one of the many gorgeous farms Marion County has to offer, including the previously mentioned Ocala Jockey Club, or the very popular Gypsy Gold Farm. Known as America’s foundation farm of the Gypsy Vanner horse, the farm is the home of
the first Gypsy Vanners brought to the US from Great Britain in 1996. Enjoy a personal tour led by breed founder Dennis Thompson where you can discover the breeds’ interesting history and meet the gorgeous horses that make the breed so special. You may just fall in love and bring one of their sale horses home with you!
If you find you need a break from all the horses, the showing, and the tack shops on every corner, you might just need a drink at The Beach, the bar that hosts Grand Prix Sundays starting in January, where Eventers and Jumpers come together to party and let lose of their show day nerves. If that’s not your style, get back to nature by visiting the enchanting oasis that is Shalom Park, take a bottomless boat tour on the beautiful Silver Springs River, or camp in the lush Ocala National Forest.
Whatever horse you find, whatever show you attend, and whatever you choose to do, we at Go Horse Shop are glad to be able to help you through your Ocala journey! Start your horse shopping experience Go Horse Shop.