Summit 2022

Monday, November 14









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.


DarkHorse joins Horse Farms Forever® as a Founder Member

Laura Connolly recently bought a new farm in Ocala and moved her private show jumping barn from Wellington to Ocala for the winter season. In the summer, she trains and competes out of one of the most beautiful barns in the Northeast, her DarkHorse Farm in Ridgefield, Connecticut. She joined Horse Farms Forever® (HFF) as a Founder Member as suggested by Matt Varney, a Realtor with Ocala Horse Properties.

Horse Farms Forever Welcomes Long Creek Farms as a New Founder

Long Creek Farms Owners Kent and Rona Mitchell have a long family history of supporting land conservation, and by joining Horse Farms Forever® (HFF) as Founding Members, they are continuing this tradition. As Founding Members, they are also Gold Sponsors of the 2022 Conservation Summit.

HFF Welcomes Kimberly Van Kampen As A New Founding Member

In 2019, Kimberly Van Kampen moved her Hampton Green Farms from Wellington to Ocala. The move to Marion County was inspired by the opening of WEC; so much so, that in 2021 Hampton Green Farms and Discover Dressage became Founding Partners of WEC.

Her generous support of dressage will help grow the sport in Marion County, and it will also help protect horse farms. In 2019, Van Kampen joined Horse Farms Forever® as a Charter Member. This year, she became a Founder Member of HFF and we appreciate her continued support!

Van Kampen’s move to Marion County is big news for the dressage world, as she is one of the founders of the Global Dressage Festival in Wellington and a member of Wellington Equestrian Partners. But after 20 years, she decided to move her investments to Ocala because of WEC.

HFF Welcomes Valerie Dailey, Owner of Showcase Properties, as a New Founding Member

Valerie Dailey, Owner and Broker of Showcase Properties was one of HFF’s first Charter Members and every year since 2018, the agency has renewed their membership. We are grateful for their continued support to help protect Marion County’s horse farms!

Showcase Properties is one of Marion County’s top 5 brokerages in total volume for 2021 with a combined total of over $200M in sales volume. Dailey, a Florida-licensed REALTOR® and owner of Showcase since 2013, specializes in the listing and selling of equine properties, as well as residential, commercial, and agricultural properties.

In 2018, Dailey was recognized as Realtor of the Year by the Ocala/Marion County Association of Realtors®. And in 2019, she was awarded Entrepreneur of the Year by the Ocala Women’s Council.

Just What IS The Farmland Preservation Area?

Marion County is home to nearly 4,000 farms including over 1,200 horse farms. Most of these horse farms are in the Farmland Preservation Area.

Of Marion County’s 1 million acres of land, the Farmland Preservation Area (FPA) encompasses just under 200,000 acres in the northwest portion of the county. While called a Preservation Area, it is not a preserve. The land is not protected from development and subdivision entirely, but there are restrictions that favor farmland preservation and natural resource conservation.

The boundaries of the FPA, and the rules that govern it, are at the discretion of the Board of County Commissioners. While all five current Commissioners are strong supporters of the FPA, as development pressure increases, additional tools are available to help protect the rural character and preserve compatible uses in the FPA.

The tools that provide permanent protection for the FPA are in the hands of private landowners. Learn more here.

Liz Halliday-Sharp Becomes an HFF Founder

Horse Farms Forever® is thrilled to have Liz Halliday-Sharp-LS Eventing join our growing herd of Founding Members.

Liz Halliday-Sharp is a unique sportswoman. Originally from California, she calls both the Blue Fox Farm in Lexington, KY, and Horsepower Equestrian located in Fellowship, in the heart of Marion County’s Farmland Preservation Area, home for her equestrian pursuits.

Meet the Founders of Horse Farms Forever®

Horse Farms Forever® welcomes 12 new Founders!  They join a group of 53 Founders who understand the connection between a robust preservation program for horse farms and a strong equine industry.

State of the County Report Focused on the Growing Economy and Tourism

Over the summer, Marion County is presenting the State of the County report. The first presentation was held on Friday, July 8 at the Circle Square Cultural Center. Horse Farms Forever attended to be on the lookout about any potential projects that may affect horse farms, primarily in the Farmland Preservation Area (FPA). Three additional presentations are planned throughout Marion County.

County Commission Chairman Carl Zalak, III, presented the report along with fellow County Commissioners and staff.

Highlights included the state of the economy, future improvements to transportation systems, a countywide broadband research study, and improvements to public services such as law enforcement, fire rescue, animal services, and Blue Run Park.

United Voices Support the Farmland Preservation Area

The decision about the future of the Ocala Jockey Club (OJC) was made on June 21 and while not everyone is happy about the Marion County Commission’s vote, every person and elected official who spoke either, in favor, or against the application had one thing in common: a strong desire to protect the Farmland Preservation Area from incompatible uses.

Horse Farms Forever Celebrates Four Years of Big Wins for the Farmland Preservation Area

On Friday May 20, Horse Farms Forever® (HFF) held our annual Spring Speaker Series at the College of Central Florida’s Vintage Farm. It was an intimate event for our members, guests and other large farm owners to continue the conversation about conservation. We celebrated the organization’s fourth birthday and reflected on the growth and success under the leadership of outgoing Executive Director Sara Powell Fennessy.

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Like our horses, we are safer and stronger together.