As you travel through Central Florida and wind your way through Marion County, you will eventually find yourself in the city of Ocala. While the area has many charms, you'll also notice that there's something slightly different about this corner of Florida. That's because Marion County is known as the Horse Capital of the World, with an expansive collection of thoroughbred farms and equestrian facilities that you simply won't find anywhere else. Our real estate agents have all the details on why this part of Florida is truly an equestrian paradise.
The Horse Capital of the World by the Numbers
When you shop for Marion County homes for sale, you can be sure that you won't be living far from great equestrian facilities. According to the Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership, the equine industry has a $2.62 billion economic impact on the area every year. That comes in part from the thoroughbred breeding and training facilities in the area, with 431 thoroughbred farms in Marion County alone. Those farms are home to more than 35,000 thoroughbred horses, and the thoroughbred industry accounts for more than $1.3 billion of annual economic impact on its own.
Training the Best of the Best
If you follow the biggest horse racing events of the year, including the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont Stakes, then you've likely seen a winner who was trained in the Marion County area. That includes the historic Triple Crown winner Affirmed, a horse that was bred and trained in Ocala. Every year, some of the biggest contenders in the Kentucky Derby come from thoroughbred farms in Marion County. In total, six Kentucky Derby Winners, seven Preakness Stakes winners, and six Belmont Stakes winners have been trained on Florida thoroughbred farms... with more sure to come.
The Best Place to Work in the Equine Industry
Do you have dreams of working in the equine industry? Then it's time to start shopping for Ocala homes for sale. The racing industry alone accounts for more than 12,000 jobs in Florida, many of which are located in the Ocala area, and generates more than $400 million in wages annually. There are also a wide variety of different jobs available, whether you're interested in training thoroughbreds, breeding horses, or helping the next generation of riders fall in love with the equestrian world.
More Than 75 Years of Equestrian Excellence
Did you know that the first thoroughbred farm in Florida was founded in 1943? Of course, the farm was located in Ocala and quickly started producing winners in major Florida races. It wouldn't be long before local horses hit the national stage, and many more equine facilities soon followed that first farm. Today, horse farms account for more than 77,000 acres of land in the Marion County area.
Training the Next Generation of Riders and Equestrian Experts
While thoroughbred breeding and racing are major industries, they aren't the only things that make Marion County the Horse Capital of the World. The area is also home to an extensive selection of equestrian facilities, where you can learn to ride and show horses. Young riders can expect some of the best instruction in the world when they visit these facilities. Whether for competition or simply for the love of riding, this is an amazing place to learn.
Searching for your own little slice of equestrian paradise in the Horse Capital of the World? Our team is here to help. Contact us to buy and sell homes throughout the Marion County, FL area.
Father's Day is the one day a year that dads get to do exactly what they want, no questions asked. So, hey, if your dad wants to spend his day planted in his favorite recliner, who are we to intervene? But if you're looking to get a little more adventurous, Fernandina Beach and Amelia Island offer plenty of ways to get in touch with nature. Treat your dad to some of the best outdoor activities in Fernandina Beach, FL this Father's Day.
The glistening waters of Fernandina Beach are an obvious attraction, and we'll get to those in a bit. But first: how about a stroll along some of Northeast Florida's prettiest trails? There's Big Pine Trail, the southernmost trail on Big Talbot Island, which takes you on a 0.8-mile journey through a slash pine forest.
Or there's Fort Clinch State Park, where you can bike on the trails along a slender peninsula. The titular Fort Clinch and its astonishing brick facades make for a must-see attraction for architecture buffs, as well. These are just a couple of the trails available in the greater Fernandina Beach area, but rest assured they're all just as exciting as these two.
Somehow, dads and cowboy fantasies just go well together, don't they? Help your dad fulfill at least a part of that fantasy with a horseback ride in Fernandina Beach (six-shooter and cowboy hat not included)! Companies like Amelia Island Horseback Riding and Kelly Seahorse Ranch offer you the chance to mount up on a noble steed and ride out into the sunset. While these rides are all beachside, they still provide a deep connection between man and animal that's hard to beat for a fun Father's Day activity.
The waters of Fernandina Beach and Amelia Island are perfect destinations for a Father's Day escape, and there are lots of ways to enjoy them. You can rent a kayak from spots like Amelia Island Kayak Excursions and Kayak Amelia and explore on your own or take part in one of their guided tours to get a true lay of the land. Or how about a stand-up paddleboarding lesson from Amelia Island Paddle Surf Company?
If your dad prefers a little more aquatic horsepower, you can rent jet skis from First Coast Jets Watersports; 150-horsepower boats from Amelia Island Boat Club; or take a tour on your own two-person catamaran throughout popular locations with Backwater Cat Adventure. Amelia River Cruises offers popular river cruise tours around Amelia Island and Cumberland Island. Or if dad is feeling adventurous, sign up for sailing lessons with the experts at Windward Sailing.
Doesn't fishing feel like a very dad activity? If your dad's idea of a perfect day is hitting the water with little more than a rod and some bait, Fernandina Beach has plenty of fishing charters to help him achieve nirvana. Amelia Island Charters and Semper Fi Charters specialize in inshore excursions, while charters like Ye Ole Pirate and Fish Amelia Island offer adrenaline-pumping offshore fishing adventures. You can even take dad on a great backwater fishing trip with Angler's Mark.