The open spaces and temperate climate attract many horses and riders to Ocala and Marion County every year. But one discipline that is increasing by leaps is eventing. Eventers are flocking to Marion County to work and train with the some of the industry’s most talented trainers and competitors.
With its many equestrian members and state-of-the-art Equestrian Center, Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club likes to include news and information about the thriving horse industry in its blog.
Eventing, considered the triathlon of horse events, features competitions in three disciplines by the same horse and rider team. Each team performs in dressage, showjumping and cross country.
- Dressage is the art of riding and training a horse in a manner that develops obedience, flexibility and balance.
- Showjumping is the competitive sport of riding horses over a course of obstacles with penalty points for errors in speed or fences knocked down.
- Cross Country is an endurance test, which proves the speed, endurance and jumping ability of the horse and rider.
A Natural Location
With so many international show jumping, dressage and eventing trainers and competitions here in Ocala, it is a natural location for the eventer to train in the winter months.
Olympic eventing teams training here including those from America, Canada, plus members of the New Zealand and Australian teams as well.
The University of Florida has a new Eventing Team, created about a year ago. The 12-member team now has one semester of experience behind them and is looking ahead to the future. Its proximity to Ocala is considered an asset since Ocala is known as a “hot spot for professional eventing,” according to a recent story in the Ocala Star Banner.
Eventing in Ocala
Buying up horse farms, creating training centers and hosting clinics featuring international stars like William Fox-Pitt, the eventing community continues to thrive in Ocala.
This past November, The Ocala Jockey Club hosted the successful inaugural CIC3* course designed by Mike Etherington-Smith, known for his designs at world-class events such as Sydney 2000 and Beijing 2008 Olympic games. The course was magnificent, with rolling hills and grand live oaks dotted amongst the grassy pastures.
“The footing is looking fantastic, some of the best I have seen in the USA,” said Etheringrton-Smith. “Well done to all.”
The Ocala Jockey Club was a great success with compliments from the competitors as well as the spectators and vendors. “We will be back next year” was heard everywhere.
Whether you want to learn more about the sport of eventing or see it as a spectator, Ocala is the place to be. A variety of events are held here, including international competitions held through the fall, winter and even into early spring. Many training centers are also staying open throughout most of the summer months.
Upcoming events include:
- Equiventures Ocala Winter II Horse Trials, Feb. 10-12 at the Florida Horse Park in Ocala.
- Exmoor Eventing Recognized Horse Trials – March 18-19 at Exmoor Eventing in Northwest Ocala
- Ocala International 3-Day Festival of Eventing – April 12-16 at the Florida Horse Park
For more information about the Golden Ocala Equestrian Center or annual memberships, contact us today at 800-251-7674.