Open spaces and beautiful places are the hallmark of greater Ocala.

Horse Farms Forever is dedicated to preserving the character and culture that makes us the Horse Capital of the World®.


Horse Farms Forever is a compact and powerful nonprofit,
founded in 2018 to:


Marion County’s Farmland Preservation Area was established in 2005. Its mineral-rich soil and water, and spring sheds are subject to increasing development and roadway threats. We participate and defend.


The culture, character and vibrant economy of greater Ocala is uniquely based on the presence of horses and horse farms. We share the facts.


Landowners who love their land and wish to see it passed along to future generations have many options. We show the way.


The blueprint for Rural Land Management is written at the county level and made strong by collaboration and community influence. We facilitate progress.


See what we’re protecting and who is with us.

The Threats Are Real

From new roadways to rezoning. We are here to gather and multiply all of the voices that understand the value of our rural heritage and seek to preserve it forever.


Marion County Votes for Farmland

As the year turns over, Horse Farms Forever celebrates the growth of our membership at the grass roots. Although 2020 was a challenging year in many ways, the economy in Ocala/Marion County remained strong. Threats to the integrity of the Farmland Preservation Area did not abate, and there’s no sign that they will in the future. More and more farm owners, concerned citizens and businesses have joined us, publicly aligning with our mission to preserve the character and culture that horses and horse farms bring to Ocala/Marion County and protect the Farmland Preservation Area. Here are the latest:

Marion County Future Growth Committee Hears From Horse Farms Forever

Horse Farms Forever was invited to present at Marion County’s Growth and Future Planning Strategic Committee meeting on December 10th. The Committee is seeking input from stakeholders about growth and development as the county develops a five-year strategic plan. It is led by Angel Roussel, Assistant County Administrator of Public Works, and includes staff from Growth Services, Community Services and Utilities. Marion County Commissioner Michelle Stone, who represents the Farmland Preservation Area, is also a member.

Sara Powell-Fennessy Promoted As Horse Farms Forever’s Executive Director

The Board of Directors of Horse Farms Forever is excited to announce the promotion of Sara Powell Fennessy to Executive Director of the organization, effective January 1, 2021. Horse Farms Forever, Inc., is a not-for-profit corporation registered with the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services as well as a 501(c)3 with the IRS.

Our mission is to inspire the conservation of horse farms by preserving the natural pasture land for horses and their habitats, and to protect the soil and water on which they depend, while minimizing land use conflicts in Ocala/Marion County, Florida.

New and Renewing Members Continue to Strengthen Horse Farms Forever

Like one of Marion County’s beautiful live oaks, we are growing broader as an organization even as our roots stretch deep. A dedicated group of supporters continue keep us alive and healthy as our mission gains momentum in the community. Thank you to all who have recognized the importance of open spaces and beautiful places in Ocala/Marion County and the importance of preserving what makes us unique – horses and horse farms.

Welcome New Corporate Member, Tillman Engineering

As we inspire Marion County to uphold and protect its global brand as the Horse Capital of the World®, it is gratifying to see the wide range of members who are joining us. Everyone has a stake in keeping Ocala/Marion County open and beautiful, including our development and real estate companies. We’re going to grow. The question is where, when and how. One new member who is an expert in sensible growth planning and natural resource protection is Tillman and Associates Engineering. Tillman sponsored and attended our Conservation Summit last week. We are grateful for their support and the expertise that president David Tillman brings to the table. As experts in civil engineering who also recognize the importance of preserving the character and culture that horses and horse farms bring to Ocala/Marion County, Tillman is an important ally and resource.

Conservation Summit 2020

Horses and the love for the scenic beauty of Marion County brought a diverse group of large and small landowners, developers, realtors and elected officials – over 100 people – to Horse Farms Forever’s first Conservation Summit on November 19 at Golden Ocala. 

The purpose of the Summit was to inspire preservation of the horse farms and agricultural lands that are fundamental to Marion County’s global brand as the Horse Capital of the World®.

Our speakers discussed practical ways to preserve farmland that benefit landowners and also made several suggestions on how to balance economic development and growth while retaining the sense of place that the iconic horse farms and agricultural lands bring to the area.

Public Hearing Notice: I75 Interchange at NW 49th Street

On Wednesday, November 18, 5:30 to 7:30 pm, a public hearing will take place. The public is invited. We will be there as FDOT shares the results of their study. The public is invited to comment on the “the location, conceptual design, and social, economic and environmental effects of the proposed improvements.” We intend to suggest some improvements that would make the interchange a fitting gateway for the Horse Capital of the World® and the Farmland Preservation Area. It is our intention always to work collaboratively and affect positive change where necessary to protect Marion County’s global brand. Instructions for participation in person and virtually are in the hearing notice below:

A Barrier-Breaking Honor for an American Trakehner Breeder

Congratulations to Horse Farms Forever members, Tim and Cheryl Holekamp, on winning global honors from the German Trakehner Verband as Breeder of the Year, 2019. This is the first time an American breeder has garnered this recognition.

Commissioners Meeting With WEC Centers on Improvements

November 5, 2020: The Marion County Board of Commissioners met yesterday to discuss the proposed amendment to the Golden Ocala – World Equestrian Center’s (GO-WEC) Development Agreement. The main issues discussed at the meeting were about water and wastewater treatment, roadway and intersection improvements, and fire safety.

The Amendment proposes changes to the original Development Agreement. It outlined several infrastructure improvements and other infrastructure needs. The meeting was the continuation of the first public hearing for the Development Agreement Amendment. The second public hearing will be held on Wednesday, December 16, 2020 at 2:00 PM. The public hearing for the proposed changes to the Golden Ocala Comprehensive Plan Amendment (20-D01) and PUD Rezoning Amendment (20200201Z) applications will also be held on December 16.

Conservation Summit Live and Virtual Attendance Details

This is a challenging time to introduce a live event! Nevertheless, the equestrian and land conservation community has enthusiastically expressed an interest in coming together on the important topic of conserving our land in Marion County. Live attendance for the Conservation Summit at Golden Ocala on November 19 is nearly full. We can still take a few more, so if you’re interested, don’t hesitate. Virtual attendance is also open and will remain open until November 16. You are also welcome to switch from live to virtual, but please do so by November 12. More on that below.

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Like our horses, we are safer and stronger together.