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Liz Halliday-Sharp Becomes an HFF Founder

Liz Halliday-Sharp Becomes an HFF Founder

Five Star Eventer Liz Halliday-Sharp Aligns With Ocala’s Horse Farm Preservation Movement

Horse Farms Forever® is thrilled to have Liz Halliday-Sharp-HS 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.

A Master of Speedy Things

On the one hand, Liz is an international three-day eventer who competes successfully up to the CCI5* level, while on the other she’s formerly a professional racing driver in sports car and GT endurance disciplines. Liz is also an experienced TV broadcaster and presenter and has worked with numerous different channels and companies in both the US and Europe.

For the past twenty years, Liz split her time between the UK and USA which helped her to create a successful business producing and selling horses, as well as providing an opportunity to compete and train in both Europe and America. Now she is lucky to be based full-time in the United States.

Over the last few years, Liz has enjoyed wins and top results up to the CCI5* level of Eventing competition across both continents. Those results have helped her to become an established member of the US Equestrian Eventing High Performance Training List for many years. She has also appeared on multiple Nation’s Cup Teams and was the reserve for Team USA at both the 2018 World Equestrian Games and 2019 Pan American Games. With a strong team of horses in the barn, Liz is very excited for the future.

Rider of the Year

Over the course of the 2020 season, Liz amassed 590.5 leaderboard points to clinch the US Eventing Association Rider of the Year title – the first female since 1981. She rode 13 different horses including Deniro Z, Fernhill By Night, Cooley Quicksilver, Shanroe Cooley, Cooley Seeking Fortune, Cooley Be Cool, Cooley Stormwater, Cooley Black Hawk, Flash Cooley, Cooley Moonshine, Cooley Starship, Maryville Sir Henry, and Cooley HHS Calmaria, at 22 different events including Grand Oaks, Rocking Horse, Pine Top, Three Lakes, Red Hills, Ocala, Stable View, Maryland Horse Trials, Champagne Run, Virginia Horse Trials, River Glen, Fair Hill, Great Meadow International, Chattahoochee Hills, Blue Ride Mountain Horse Trials, Plantation Field, Hagyard Midsouth, Galway Downs, and Tryon International. Including her 25 national and international wins, she finished in the top five a whopping 67 times.

More about Liz in 2022:

 

​Please join us in thanking Liz and Horsepower Equestrian for their support. She does Marion County proud in her eventing pursuits.

Liz Halliday-Sharp aboard Cooley Stormwater alongside Rob Desino of Ocala Horse Properties, who partner with Liz as an owner/sponsor.
Source

Most recently, US Equestrian named Liz and Miks Master C, owned by Deborah Palmer and HFF Founders Ocala Horse Properties, to the Bromont CCI Three Day Event Nations Cup Team. They will compete on August 18-20 at Bromont in Quebec, Canada.

Ocala Horse Properties Matt Varney, Liz Halliday-Sharp, Chris Desino and Rob Desino.
Source

It is the vision and mission of Horse Farms Forever to inspire conservation of horse farms through education, awareness and idea exchange so as to preserve natural pasture land focusing on horses and their habitats, to protect soil and water on which they depend, and minimize land use conflicts
in Marion County, Florida.

We are watchful of government and others to preserve and protect horse farms and farmland for future generations - especially in the Farmland Preservation Area. We are neither anti-growth nor anti-development; we encourage urban growth to remain inside the Urban Growth Boundary.

Horse Farms Forever® is a Florida not-for-profit corporation registered with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services as a charitable organization and approved as a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) corporation by the Internal Revenue Service. Horse Farms Forever® does not have a political mission. Our status as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization does not allow us to participate or intervene in political activities. The organization will neither advocate on behalf of political candidates nor advocate for the passage of legislation.

 

Meet the Founders of Horse Farms Forever®

Meet the Founders of Horse Farms Forever®

New Founder Tasha Osbourne of Premier Sotheby’s International Realty 

Horse Farms Forever® welcomes 13 new Founders!  They join a group of 56 Founders who understand the connection between a robust preservation program for horse farms and a strong equine industry.

Our Founders demonstrate the pinnacle of commitment to preservation of horse farms by investing in the mission of Horse Farms Forever®, year after year. Not every member is a Founder, but more and more people are raising their hands and making a difference in Marion County to help protect horse farms for future generations.

 

Open Spaces, Beautiful Places

A leisurely Sunday afternoon drive through Marion County’s Horse Country is one of the most beautiful and enchanting landscapes to experience. The iconic open spaces draw you in with their magical Spanish moss-covered canopy, magnificent horses and miles of 4-rail fences. To protect horse farms in our treasured crown jewel – the Farmland Preservation Area – Horse Farms Forever® has adopted a long-term strategy with achievable and visionary goals to help preserve horse farms in Marion County.

Real Conservation Takes Real Commitment

Horse Farms Forever® has worked hard to share the vision with the other major stakeholders in Marion County. We have achieved success by being relevant in our actions, educational in our messages and always respectful of others’ opinions.

This long-term approach takes commitment, time and expertise to make it happen – just as the leisurely drive takes longer – yet the end result is worth the effort. Our commitment is to create lasting, impactful change as we celebrate the organization’s fourth birthday.  And over the past four years, Horse Farms Forever® has many blue-ribbon wins to celebrate.

  • Coastal Connector Toll Road – HFF joined other major stakeholders in asking the FDOT to reconsider the routes of the proposed Coastal Connector Toll Road through the heart of the FPA.
  • New FPA Signs – HFF partnered with Marion County to help identify the Farmland Preservation Area by designing the new FPA sign (the sign with the horse) and funding for the placement of dozens of new signs.
  • WEC Agreement – HFF reached an agreement with the Golden Ocala Equestrian Lands leadership to save 275 acres from being removed from the FPA.
  • ATV Racetrack in Flemington – HFF lead the charge to stop the development of an ATV park and ¼-mile dragstrip in the heart of the FPA and a large area of horse farms.
  • QoL Survey – HFF served as the catalyst for the Quality-of-Life Survey to gauge the community wide support for preserving horse farms and the FPA. Over 90% of the community agreed that these special features should be protected.
  • Conversations About Conservation – HFF hosts two annual events focused on protecting horse farms and the FPA.
  • HFF Amendment – HFF successfully amended the Marion County Comprehensive Plan to add further protections to the FPA by more tightly defining rural character and compatible land uses.
  • Conservation Easements – HFF is working with the County leadership to refine the Transfer of Development Rights Program to make it more effective and functional, adding further protections to the FPA with conservation easements.

The support of our Founding Members was the key to bringing home these blue-ribbon wins, and we are so grateful for the tremendous level of support from a broad spectrum of members. While HFF was started by some of the most iconic horse farms, over the past four years the original founding members have been joined by a wide spectrum of other individuals, foundations and businesses. To all of our Founders, we say THANK YOU!

Hanna Pieri and her fiancé Jason Lyons, owner of The Yard Stop.

Jason Lyons of The Yard Stop put it plainly, “Horse farms are the foundation of our business. Without horse farms, there are no horses and no equine industry. We are excited to continue and increase our support for Horse Farms Forever.”

We are so honored to have Tasha Osbourne of Premier Sotheby’s International Realty and Jason Lyons and Hanna Pieri of The Yard Stop as two of our thirteen new Founding Members. They share HFF’s goal of protecting this iconic landscape. This culture of conservation is important to ensuring that the Farmland Preservation Area, our crown jewel and the foundation of our brand and identity as the Horse Capital of the World®, is preserved for future generations.

Take a drive through the list of our new and continuing Founding Members.

Our Newest Founders:

Individual/Family:

Niall & Stephanie Brennan

Niall Brennan Stables

Lori & Peter Conway

Conway Arabians

Janet & Kurt Giesselman

Naked Horse Farm

Jacqueline Mars

Stonehall Farm

Phyllis & Patrick Harlow

Ladera Farm

Corporate:

Misty Lane Cattle Co.
Misty Lane Cattle Co.

Tasha Osbourne

Premier Sotheby’s International Realty

Foundations/Trusts:

Misty Lane Cattle Co.

Cathy D. Perry Estate

Misty Lane Cattle Co.

Saint Bernard Foundation, Inc.

It is the vision and mission of Horse Farms Forever to inspire conservation of horse farms through education, awareness and idea exchange so as to preserve natural pasture land focusing on horses and their habitats, to protect soil and water on which they depend, and minimize land use conflicts
in Marion County, Florida.

We are watchful of government and others to preserve and protect horse farms and farmland for future generations - especially in the Farmland Preservation Area. We are neither anti-growth nor anti-development; we encourage urban growth to remain inside the Urban Growth Boundary.

Horse Farms Forever® is a Florida not-for-profit corporation registered with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services as a charitable organization and approved as a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) corporation by the Internal Revenue Service. Horse Farms Forever® does not have a political mission. Our status as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization does not allow us to participate or intervene in political activities. The organization will neither advocate on behalf of political candidates nor advocate for the passage of legislation.

 

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

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.

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.

Commissioner Zalak focused on the growing economy and tourism. In 2010, there was a 14.4 percent unemployment rate. “Times were tough,” he said. However, with the County’s focus to grow the economy over the past 10 years, the unemployment rate is now about 2.8%.

Balancing growth is important to the County, while also growing the economy. Approximately two-thirds of the County is protected from urban development between the Farmland Preservation Area and the Ocala National Forest.

The County’s tourism industry is also growing with the opening of the World Equestrian Center and the FAST Aquatic Center.

“Great venues like the World Equestrian Center have made Marion County as a destination on an international stage,” said Commissioner Zalak.

Marion County is also becoming a logistics hub due to its central location in the state and I-75. The tax revenue from the buildings helps keep the County’s property tax rates low.

Commissioner Zalak also reported that Marion County is being considered as an ideal location to site a 120-bed Veterans’ Nursing Home; funded through the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs (FDVA) and the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs. The County is home to more than 45,000 veterans. About 650,000 veterans live within a 75-mile radius of the site.

Commissioner Curry presented a summary of the County’s Litter Task Force to help change the mindset of people negatively impacting our community and scenic roadways. The task force is tasked with coming up with a plan that the community can implement. The County spends over $900,000 picking up litter every year and nearly 84 percent is thrown intentionally.

“We are better than this,” said Commissioner Curry.

Commissioner Michelle Stone presented an update on affordable housing and the Commitment to Zero plan to help improve transportation safety.

Commissioners Jeff Gold and Kathy Bryant also presented summaries on fire rescue and law enforcement infrastructure improvements, and the County’s $2.5M in park improvements at Blue Run Park near Dunnellon.

 

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

Broadband Feasibility Study

Commissioner Michelle Stone also presented the Broadband Feasibility Study to research the need for high speed internet county wide. The County is partnering with Televate to conduct the study, which will help determine where new or improved broadband services are needed. The County is also partnering with the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) for the Broadband Speed Test to help develop Florida’s Broadband Availability Map.

For the Broadband Survey, there is an eCheckup to share what type of internet service residents currently have. For the Broadband Speed Test, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) has a link to take an internet speed test.

Attend a Presentation

Three more presentations of the State of the County are planned:

  • Wednesday, July 27 at 7 pm, Salt Springs, VFW
  • Tuesday, August 9 at 1 pm, Del Webb Spruce Creek, Ballroom (Only open to Spruce Creek residents.)
  • Thursday, August 18 at 7 pm, The Villages, Mulberry Grove Recreation Center

It is the vision and mission of Horse Farms Forever to inspire conservation of horse farms through education, awareness and idea exchange so as to preserve natural pasture land focusing on horses and their habitats, to protect soil and water on which they depend, and minimize land use conflicts
in Marion County, Florida.

We are watchful of government and others to preserve and protect horse farms and farmland for future generations - especially in the Farmland Preservation Area. We are neither anti-growth nor anti-development; we encourage urban growth to remain inside the Urban Growth Boundary.

Horse Farms Forever® is a Florida not-for-profit corporation registered with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services as a charitable organization and approved as a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) corporation by the Internal Revenue Service. Horse Farms Forever® does not have a political mission. Our status as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization does not allow us to participate or intervene in political activities. The organization will neither advocate on behalf of political candidates nor advocate for the passage of legislation.

 

April Showers Bring New Members

April Showers Bring New Members

New members are popping up all over the place this Spring as we celebrate the success of the Amendment to the Comprehensive Plan. As a large herd, we can turn our concerns into smart planning for a future that both grows our economy and protects our horse farms. We thank our renewing members and welcome new members this month:

horse-farms-forever-farmland-preservation-area-ocala-marion-county

Longwood Arenas

Founder- NEW

Longwood Arenas has focused on building the highest quality all-weather riding arenas around the United States. We are equestrian builders who understand the needs of fellow equestrians.

Over the last 44 years, we have experimented with horse riding arena footing from all over the world that mimicks grass. We’ve developed an extensive knowledge base about equestrian development and horse arena footing through this research and experimentation. There is no better way to understand a subject than through real-world experience and trial and error. When you build with Longwood Arenas, you can rest assured that our work is tried and true.

“When it comes to horse arena footing and equestrian construction, we have seen and done it ALL at our own facility. That gives us the confidence to guarantee perfection at your facility.”

– Joe Watkins – President, Longwood Arena.

New to the Herd


We welcome you!

Christina Parker – Partner

Fran Brown– Friend

Alexis Macaulay – Friend

James Moore – Friend

Julio Viteri – Friend

Renewing


Thanks for your continued support!

Laura Payner – Partner

Melissa Henry– Friend

And our monthly recurring supporters!

Ron Beschman

Sara & Bryan Fennessy

Karen & Lonny Powell

Donna Saatman

Paula & Craig Wehde

horse-farms-forever-farmland-preservation-area-ocala-marion-county

Charlie & Rachel Cantrell

Founder- NEW

Charlie Cantrell is a movie producer, entertainment consultant & New York Times best selling author. He has been featured in hundreds of newspapers and magazines across the globe, and has appeared on Oprah, The View, Today Show, Good Morning America, Early Show, Super Tiny Animals, Animal Planet, National Geographic, ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, FOX, ITV, BBC, CBC, PBS, including scores of international TV networks. He is the proud owner of EINSTEIN – The Smallest Stallion.

 

When horse lovers Charlie Cantrell and his wife, Dr. Rachel Wagner, received the news that a tiny horse had just been born to champion miniature horses, they knew they had to meet the mini-miniature foal. Sure enough, it was love at first sight, and Charlie bought the baby as a present for Rachel, an experienced rider and owner of a number of horses. Two weeks after Einstein was born, the Cantrells were shocked to discover a procession of 4,000 visitors, soggy and shivering in the rain, lined up to pay homage to their little horse.  Cars were parked all the way to the center of the small New England town, and local police had to shut the roads down a mile from Einstein’s barn and turn many more cars away.  Some people stood for over an hour just to get a sixty-second glance at the fast asleep baby stallion.

As Charlie and Rachel greeted the half-mile line of fans from all walks of life, they immediately recognized an unmistakable connection among the crowd: Einstein elicited a feeling of pure joy and remarkable gladness in everyone he touched.  The good feeling spread as videos of newborn Einstein swept the Internet.  Within days the tiny foal was featured in newspapers, magazines, and television programs as far away as Australia. 

Dr. Rachael Wagner is an MD with a family practice. In late 2021, they bought a house in NW Ocala and have fallen in love with the open spaces and beautiful places.

horse-farms-forever-farmland-preservation-area-ocala-marion-county

Cone Distributing

Founder- RENEWING

Cone Distributing is a distributor of craft beer, hard seltzer, and other beers and beverages. We have offices in Ocala and Tallahassee, serving over 20 counties and stocking everything from local brews to internationally recognized brands.

In every pour of every pint, we take pride in the people and the passion that got that liquid from grain to glass to you. We believe it takes excellence every step of the way. We strive to deliver the highest quality beverages from all around the world and with excellence in service

Whether beer or soda, tea or cider, Red Bull or red ale, all of our products were handled with care by people committed to excellence and quality day in and day out.

Cheers.

Ocala Metro Chamber & Economic Partnership

Founder – RENEWING

We welcome the Ocala CEP in their new level of support as Corporate Founders and thank them for aligning with our mission.

The Ocala Metro Chamber & Economic Partnership (CEP) works to be the leading voice of business. We strive to improve economic prosperity with our key areas of focus Business Attraction, Business Retention and Business Creation. Moving Forward is our charge and it reflects our desire to be a catalyst for the business community. By working together with our partners and community investors, we will continue to improve our quality of life and build a strong base for economic growth in our community.

the-yard-stop

The Yard Stop

Founder – RENEWING

We welcome The Yard Stop in their new level of support as Corporate Founders and thank them for aligning with our mission.

The Yard Stop of Ocala is a one stop shop for quality outdoor power equipment including Stihl, Hustler, Spartan, Wright, and Big Dog. Authorized eNVy Crossover Electric Cart Dealer. Full service Garden Center with first picks from regional nurseries. Industry Leading LandscapeDesign and Installation Division. All proud to serve our Ocala, Fl community and beyond.

 

Corporate Membership

Looking for a way to promote your business throughout the equine community? Becoming a Horse Farms Forever Corporate Member gives you access to our members in Ocala/Marion County and beyond.  Donating to Horse Farms Forever, a registered 501(c)3 with the IRS, reaches our members, friends, and subscribers though our newsletters, social media, advertising, and events.  To learn more or to join please contact our Executive Director,
Emily Holmes

Who Belongs to Horse Farms Forever?

Individuals, farms, businesses from all over Marion County who share an appreciation for our farmland and a desire to preserve our open spaces and beautiful places. Visit our interactive map for a bird’s eye view.

Always Watching

We work hard to keep you informed, and to represent our members’ interests in preserving our horse farms, farmland and the unique character and culture of Marion County. Join the herd. Every voice matters.

Horse Farms Forever® Amends the Comprehensive Plan

Horse Farms Forever® Amends the Comprehensive Plan

A Victory for the Farmland Preservation Area!

THE HORSE FARMS FOREVER® AMENDMENT

Horse Farms Forever® is excited to announce a recent victory for the Farmland Preservation Area! On April 30, a large-scale Text Amendment to the Future Land Use Element was successfully adopted as part of Marion County’s Comprehensive Plan. This Amendment helps protect the Farmland Preservation Area from incompatible Zoning Requests and Special Use Permits.

We worked diligently for over a year with community leaders, major land owners, developers, and other stakeholders to seek support for the Amendment to strengthen Future Land Use Objective 3.3 – Farmland Preservation Area. After 14 months, these efforts paid-off when the Growth Services staff recommended approval of the Amendment, the Planning and Zoning Commissioners voted unanimously for approval, and finally the County Commissioners voted unanimously at the two public hearings to approve the Amendment.

The County’s Comprehensive Plan is similar to a company’s Mission Statement in that it lays out Goals, Objectives and Policies to provide a vision for sustainable urban, suburban and rural growth that supports a transportation network, a variety of land uses, natural and agricultural resources, and open space.

In the Comprehensive Plan, Objective 3.3 establishes the Farmland Preservation Area. Policy 3.3.1 defines the Elements of Rural Character.

The Horse Farms Forever® Amendment enhances the definition of Rural Character and further requires that all applications for Zoning Requests and Special Use Permits “be consistent with and preserve, protect and support and enhance the rural, equestrian, and farmland character of the Farmland Preservation Area.”

Throughout this year-long process, HFF worked closely with the Growth Services and County Administration departments to develop a Text Amendment that would help protect the Farmland Preservation Area and also be compatible with the existing language and guidelines in the Comprehensive Plan. We especially thank County Commissioner Michelle Stone and County Administrator Mounir Bouyounes for their leadership and guidance through this year-long process.

“This amendment is important because a Special Use Permit is requested when the proposed land use doesn’t meet the guidelines in the Comprehensive Plan. It will have a positive effect on the Farmland Preservation Area. This is the hard work of real land conservation and where the rubber meets the road.”
Busy Shires

Director of Conservation Strategies, Horse Farms Forever

Why Amend The Comprehensive Plan?

If you live near Flemington in the Farmland Preservation Area, you may remember the ATV racetrack and drag strip that was proposed during the summer of 2020.

Horse Farms Forever® opposed the Special Use Permit for the ATV racetrack and drag strip, and launched a strategic outreach campaign to oppose the Special Use Permit as incompatible with the Comprehensive Plan Objective 3.3 – Farmland Preservation Area.

Objective 3.3 reads: The Farmland Preservation Area is intended to encourage preservation of agriculture as a viable use of lands and an asset of Marion County’s economy and to protect the rural character of the area. Planning principles within this area are designed to protect significant natural resources, including prime farmland and locally important soils as defined by the United States Department of Agriculture and unique karst geology that provides high recharge to the Floridan Aquifer, a key source of freshwater for central Florida. The County establishes this area as critical to the enhancement and preservation of its designation as the Horse Capital of the World.

We were surprised and disappointed when at the meeting for the Planning and Zoning Commission, the Growth Services Director recommended approval of the Special Use Permit. Thankfully, our outreach campaign paid-off when the Planning and Zoning Commissioners and the County Commissioners both voted to deny the Special Use Permit.

After the votes, the Horse Farms Forever® leadership met the Growth Services leadership to better understand why they recommended approval. It was out of that meeting that the campaign to amend Objective 3.3 of the Comprehensive Plan began.

What Is A Comprehensive Plan?

Every City and County in Florida is required to adopt and maintain a local Comprehensive Plan, which must also be consistent with the state and regional plans. These plans help guide growth and development to appropriate areas while also protecting public health and safety as well as natural resources.

The Introduction of Marion County’s Comprehensive Plan states:

The Marion County Future Land Use Element Goals, Objectives and Policies are designed to provide a comprehensive, area-wide vision for sustainable urban, suburban and rural growth that supports a transportation network, variety of land uses, natural and agricultural resources, and open space.”

The Land Development Code is a separate document with specific guidelines to implement the Goals, Objectives, and Policies of the Comprehensive Plan.

 

How To Amend The Comprehensive Plan

A comprehensive plan can be changed and updated over time. In fact, in Florida, there is a requirement for each municipality to update the plan every five to seven years through the Evaluation and Appraisal Report (EAR) process.

The ability to amend the comprehensive plan is not limited to municipalities.

Any resident, business owner, or organization can submit a request to amend the comprehensive plan, but the Board of County Commissioners makes the final decision to adopt the amendment. However, the process to submit a request is lengthy and costly, as the process takes months and months, plus the application fee is $5,000.

It is the vision and mission of Horse Farms Forever to inspire conservation of horse farms through education, awareness and idea exchange so as to preserve natural pasture land focusing on horses and their habitats, to protect soil and water on which they depend, and minimize land use conflicts
in Marion County, Florida.

We are watchful of government and others to preserve and protect horse farms and farmland for future generations - especially in the Farmland Preservation Area. We are neither anti-growth nor anti-development; we encourage urban growth to remain inside the Urban Growth Boundary.

Horse Farms Forever® is a Florida not-for-profit corporation registered with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services as a charitable organization and approved as a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) corporation by the Internal Revenue Service. Horse Farms Forever® does not have a political mission. Our status as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization does not allow us to participate or intervene in political activities. The organization will neither advocate on behalf of political candidates nor advocate for the passage of legislation.

 

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