Horse Capital of the World – Discover Where Champions Are Made
More than 70,000 acres of thoroughbred breeding and training farms make Ocala/Marion County capital to all things equine. Whether it’s the love of competition or enjoying a leisurely ride through our nature trails, the history that comes with a long legacy of champions being born, bred and broken in Ocala/Marion County makes it a true equestrian escape.
In 2007, Ocala/Marion County was officially named the “Horse Capital of the World™,” a testament to the County’s unique involvement in all things equestrian and its record of producing some of the finest champions in the sport. With a beautiful, mild climate all year long and soil rich with limestone calcium for strong bones, Ocala/Marion County is home to more horses than anywhere else in the country.
Needles, so named due to his to numerous injections as a sickly foal, of Bonnie Heath Farm in Ocala, became the first Florida-bred Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes winner in 1956. This legendary competitor was inducted into the United States National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, and his success in racing sparked a boom in Florida horse breeding. Since then, world champions have attributed part of their success to their time in Ocala/Marion County. In fact, the last two Triple Crown winners, one of the highest honors and accomplishments for thoroughbreds, have ties to Ocala/Marion County—American Pharoah trained here and Affirmed was born, bred and trained in the County.
Aside from producing some of the biggest names in racing, Ocala/Marion County is also home to national and international equestrian events and competitions, including the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit, Live Oak International and Ocala Breeders’ Sale. From renowned thoroughbreds to jumpers, drivers, hunters and show horses, our County is rich with equestrian legends.
Many local horse farms offer equestrian enthusiasts the chance to get up close with the biggest names in the sport with guided tours of their properties, which are often populated by international champions and legends in the making. Experience a destination rich with the thrill of competition and explore the home of world champions on a local horse farm tour in Ocala/Marion County, the Horse Capital of the World.
The Finest Breeding, Training & Beauty
Ocala/Marion County is one of only four major thoroughbred centers in the world with 600 thoroughbred farms that have produced 45 national champions, 6 Kentucky Derby winners, 20 Breeders’ Cup champions and 6 Horses of the Year.
Witness World-Class Competition
Renowned as the Horse Capital of the World, Ocala/Marion County offers horse lovers from around the globe a chance to experience the best equine competitors in an array of special events in a variety of disciplines, breeds and more.
An Equestrian Escape
Saddle-up for a spirited adventure. Gallop through open fields on horseback or across the 70,000-acre, 110-mile corridor Greenway Trail System, where you can relax and explore the oak-lined trails. Discover a world on horseback, fit for even the most novice rider, and set against expansive green pastures and the gorgeous abundant farmland you’ll find only in Ocala/Marion County.
Excellence in Competition
Take in the thrills of Olympic-level equestrian sports, international competitions, show jumping, polo and any of the other many equine special events held in the area. From the 500-acre Florida Horse Park Florida Horse Park, which hosts a number of eventing, dressage, and driving competitions; to HITS Post Time farm winter circuit hunter/jumper show, HITS, you’ll only find first-rate venues to host world-class competitions here in Ocala/Marion County.