Are you an experienced equestrian enthusiast? Or maybe just someone who is interested in exploring nature by horseback? Ocala and Marion County in Florida may be just the destination for you. You’re going to add this destination to your Florida Travel bucket list! Marion County, one of four major Thoroughbred centers in the world — along with Lexington, Kentucky, Newmarket, England, and Chantilly, France — is home to 3/4 of Florida’s breeding and training facilities. Combine that with its 1,000’s of acres of horse-friendly trails and it is easy to see why this part of central Florida has earned the moniker of “Horse Capital of the World.” If equestrian competitions are your thing, Marion County is home to the Florida Agriculture Center and Horse Park, a 500-acre training site for the U.S. Equestrian Team, which hosts numerous Olympic-level competitions including dressage, polo and versatility challenges throughout the year. The area also has a reputation for breeding and training the best racing horses in the world. Both of the latest Triple Crown winners — American Pharoah and Affirmed — have ties to the area, having been born or trained there. If you want to explore the area’s pristine nature preserves, the Ocala National Forest, the Florida Greenway, and a variety of public trails offer horse-friendly places to ride that are both guided and self-guided. These offer trails for every level of rider from novice to advanced and some offer training to help get you on horseback for the first time. There are even horse-friendly camping areas if that is the adventure you are after. Finally, if you’d like to experience a horse-powered tour but have no inkling to climb on top of one of those majestic animals, you can always opt for a horse-drawn carriage tour. There are several options to sightsee through the area’s parks and historic districts. With Florida’s summer heat slowly changing to the milder fall weather, Ocala-Marion County should be on your list of places to visit if you are a horse lover. Find a full list of Ocala/Marion County Activities here.
Don’t forget to look into Ocala/Marion County Lodging so that you can make it a quick weekend getaway!