Whether your passion is Thoroughbreds, Arabians, Miniatures, Paso Finos, or one of several dozen other breeds, you will find Marion County to be the home of championship horses. Ocala/Marion County was recognized by the Department of Agriculture in 1999 as the Horse Capital of the World. With over 200 farms and training centers devoted to breeding, training, and showing the 50 breeds of horses represented, it is easy to catch the horse fever here in Ocala.
Ocala Breeders Sales
At the center of Ocala's thoroughbred horse industry is the Ocala Breeders Sales (OBS). Each year, OBS holds half a dozen live auctions at which thoroughbreds are bought and sold. Everyday, off-track betting is available as well as televised races from all over the country. Every year, during the Week of Champions in March, Florida-bred horses compete for the Champion Stakes.
Horse Shows in the Sun (HITS)
Horse Shows In the Sun - commencing in January and running through March each year at HITS Post Time Farm on Hwy. 27 in Ocala. HITS competitions will run for a total of 8 weeks this year and will award over $1 million in prize money. HITS' economic impact on Marion County is $50 million. Olympic level riders and show jumping competitors come from all over the world and approximate attendance each year ranges from 2,000-3,000 competitors each week, 7,000 horsemen and 10,000 spectators. Spectators are always welcome and many weekends are filled with special
Friendly Horse Farms
Several horse farms welcome visitors. Arrangements can be made for families or small groups with just a phone call. Some of the area's scenic farms include:
Bridlewood Farm, founded in 1975 by Arthur Appleton, has earned a position of prominence among Florida's and the nation's premier horse farms. Over 80 stakes winners took their first tentative steps on Bridlewood's 960 acres of rolling pastureland. Bridlewood is a full-service farm with breeding, foaling, training, a full stallion facility, and boarding operation. Each year, the stallions are displayed to the public during the annual stallion parade.
Padua Stables, home of two 2002 Breeder's Cup winners, began in 1998 as the dream of Satish and Ann Sanan. Padua Stables is committed to breeding and racing thoroughbreds, while ensuring the success and well-being of all horses residing at their facilities Ocala Stud, Florida's oldest operating thoroughbred farm, was opened in 1956. Among the horses trained at Ocala Stud include Unbridled, winner of the Kentucky Derby and Breeder's Cup Classic.
Among the area's prominent farms are George Steinbrenner's Kinsman Farm and Charlotte Webber's Live Oak Stud, home of the 2006 Breeder's Cup and 2006 Eclipes Award Champion turf male, Miesque's Approval. For more information about the area's exciting thoroughbred industry, please contact our Experience Specialist at: (352) 854-1400 or reserve your experience now!