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John and Leslie Malone To Receive The Acorn Conservation Award

John and Leslie Malone To Receive The Acorn Conservation Award

The Acorn Award was crafted by renowned wildlife sculptor, Bryce Pettit of Durango, Colorado.

Horse Farms Forever is honored to announce that the 2022 Acorn Conservation Award will be presented to John and Leslie Malone, Owners of Bridlewood Farm, at the upcoming Conservation Summit on November 14th at Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company.

The Acorn Conservation Award is presented by Horse Farms Forever to a Marion County landowner who has made a significant contribution to the preservation of horse farms. The Award is a one-of-a-kind bronze sculpture crafted by renowned wildlife sculptor Bryce Pettit from Durango, Colorado. The phrase “From tiny acorns, mighty oaks grow,” aptly describes how we envision the conservation movement in Marion County. A few landowners are leading the way by putting their vision into action as they protect their land. Each time, they become an example to other landowners who see the possibilities, and the movement grows. In the end, a magnificent tree has grown, with branches that spread throughout the County, and the Farmland Preservation Area is sheltered in its shade.

George Isaacs, Bridlewood Farm General Manager, Horse Farms Forever Director and newly elected President of the FTBOA, will present the Award to the Malones at the Summit this Monday. The Summit is free and open to the public. Come one, come all to honor the Malones and hear Secretary Jared Perdue of FDOT and Administrator Tracy Straub of Marion County tell us the latest about present and future road projects in Marion County.

John & Leslie Malone

 

About Bridlewood Farm and the Malones

Bridlewood Farm, a name synonymous with success at the highest levels in Thoroughbred racing, breeding and sales, encompasses more than 2,200 acres. Founded in 1976 by Arthur and Martha Appleton and owned today by John and Leslie Malone, Bridlewood Farm has represented excellence for 43 years. Under the ownership of the Appletons and the direction of General Manager George Isaacs, Bridlewood Farm was represented by more than 100 stakes winners, including Grade 1 winners like Florida Champions Jolie’s Halo, Wild Event, Forbidden Apple, Southern Image, and David Junior, along with countless equine millionaires.

Under the stewardship of the Malones since September of 2013, Bridlewood is firmly committed to the goal of becoming a prominent, nationally-recognized breeding and racing entity once again. We have quickly garnered a world-class broodmare band and have already been represented with our partners in Grade 1 winners Moonshine Memories and Tapwrit. We look forward to the future and our entire staff embraces daily the challenge to breed, raise, train, and produce quality equine athletes.

The Malones have kept the Bridlewood name–inaugurated by the late Arthur I. Appleton–both to honor its history and to create opportunity. More than 100 stakes winners have been bred and raised under the name Bridlewood, and superstar Champion Smarty Jones is among the many top horses trained at the farm. Many top stallions have stood there as well, including Silver Buck (sire of Hall of Fame champion Silver Charm), Skip Trial (sire of Hall of Fame champion Skip Away), and Stormy Atlantic (Champion Juvenile Sire of 2006). Three stallions will stand at Bridlewood in 2022: Valiant Minister, Tunwoo, and Chitu.

The Malones purchased the historic facility in Ocala, Florida in August 2013. In the short span since they purchased Bridlewood, they have procured some of the most sought-after bloodstock in the sales arena, and secured three new Graded stakes winners for their stallion barn. John Malone, Chairman of Liberty Media Corp. (whose holdings include Sirius XM and the Atlanta Braves) is the largest land owner in the United States. Leslie, a horse lover since childhood, is a well known equestrian and major supporter of the U.S. Olympic Dressage Team.

While the Malones credit their Irish heritage for their quest to acquire land, the purchase of Bridlewood hit a little closer to home.

“We’re approaching retirement age, and we were originally thinking of a retirement place,” John told The Blood-Horse. And the thrill and excitement of the Thoroughbred industry, coupled with the opportunity to preserve such a famed operation, was an opportunity too good to pass up.

“It’s a beautiful property,” John said. “To find a hill in Florida is a rarity. The place has a lot of natural beauty, and visiting the farm kind of brings out the farmer in me.”

 

Bridlewood Farm is 2,200 acres – the largest and most iconic Thoroughbred Farm in Marion County. Photos by Bridlewood Farm and Elma Garcia Cannavino.

George Isaacs, General Manager

George Isaacs grew up around cattle and horses on his grandparents’ farms in Kentucky. At the age of 18, he began his equine career at Stanley Petter’s Hurricane Hall Stud as a groom. In 1981, Isaacs went to work for the late Joe Taylor at John Gaines’ Gainesway Farm as a stallion groom and was later promoted to Asst. Stallion Manager as well as Yearling Manager.

Isaacs came to Florida in 1989 to assume the post of Stallion Manager at Arthur I. Appleton’s Bridlewood Farm. Three years later, he went to work for Allen Paulson as General Manager of his Brookside South Farm where he was involved with Breeders’ Cup winners Ajina, Cigar, Eliza, and Escena, and countless more stakes winners. Mr. Paulson was recognized as Eclipse Award-winning Breeder in 1993, as well as Eclipse Award-winning Owner in 1995-96, during Isaacs’ years with him. “To be able to work for Mr. Paulson and all those great horses and people in my early thirties seemed surreal at the time. It was an invaluable learning opportunity that helped prepare me for taking over Bridlewood.”

In 1996, Isaacs returned to Bridlewood as General Manager and has overseen the farm’s operation ever since. During that time, well over 100 Florida-bred stakes winners and 12 Grade 1 winners have been bred by the farm, including Florida Champions Jolie’s Halo, Wild Event, Forbidden Apple, Southern Image, David Junior, and Eden’s Moon. In 2001-04, Isaacs helped manage the training and racing career of Kentucky Derby & Preakness winner Smarty Jones for the Chapman family. Leading Florida stallions such as Skip Trial, Stormy Atlantic, Halo’s Image, and Put It Back have all stood at Bridlewood under Isaacs’ guard.

Summit 2022

Let’s Talk Transportation

Monday, November 14
11am to 1:30pm
Live stream begins at 12 Noon

 

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Like Our Horses, We Are Stronger Together

Like Our Horses, We Are Stronger Together

Thank you, Conservation Summit Sponsors!

 

This year’s Conservation Summit is focused on one of the most important issues facing Marion County – traffic and transportation. Horse Farms Forever is delivering on our mission to raise awareness about this key issue and how it affects horse farms and the equine industry.

The community, like a herd of horses, has come together to show their support, and the herd keeps growing! This year over 60 Sponsors have stepped up to support the Conservation Summit. Their generous support makes this event possible and helps build a broad base of support to help protect Marion County’s high quality of life.

We are honored to have Brook Ledge Horse Transportation as the Title Sponsor for the third year in a row! We also welcome several new Sponsors, including Long Creek Wines, Laura Connolly, The Duke Energy Foundation, and William Kearns.

Connolly, owner of DarkHorse, recently bought a farm in Ocala. She is a successful Grand Prix show jumper and has competed for many years in Europe and in the United States. She owns the talented gelding, Rahmannshof Upgrade, who is competed by European Champion and FEI world #1, Martin Fuchs of Switzerland.

“When I think of Ocala, I think of horse country. Horse Farms Forever’s mission to preserve that character speaks straight to my heart and passion. I couldn’t be prouder to support this incredible organization and their purpose,” said Connolly to HFF.

Like many people that moved to Ocala because of horses, William Kearns, one of Marion County’s largest commercial developers, was also drawn to the area by horses.

“While I am a developer, I chose Ocala as my home long ago because of the horses, and I certainly don’t want the farmland to be impacted in the name of progress,” stated Kearns.

Over the next 20 years, the land use decisions made by landowners and stakeholders, will determine Marion County’s future. To protect the community’s high quality of life, preservation and growth have to coexist strategically or neither succeeds. Maintaining this balance is going to take a cooperative effort from both sides of the table.

Matt Varney, Broker with Ocala Horse Properties, which is one of the top real estate agencies in Ocala, understands the importance of balancing growth with preservation.

“Ocala is incredibly unique in that it is growing on two different tracks. On one hand, we are adding diverse industries, housing and jobs – classic urban growth. But also, we have one of the largest regional farmland preservation areas in the country and a thriving equine industry dependent on those farms,” said Varney.

The purpose of the Conservation Summit is to facilitate this conversation about how to maintain a balance between growth and the preservation of what makes Marion County so special – it’s open spaces and beautiful places – maintaining this balance will take a cooperative effort from both sides of the table.

Please join us in thanking our generous Sponsors for their support of the Third Annual Conservation Summit.

 

Special Guests! The Peeps Foundation

The Peeps Foundation is an organization dedicated to rescuing, rehabbing and finding new forever homes for miniature horses in need.

Rescued dwarf minis will be there to greet you and share their stories at this year’s Summit!

Summit 2022

Let's Talk Transportation

Monday, November 14
11am to 1:30pm
Live stream begins at 12 Noon

 

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Hour(s)

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Brought To You By:

Gold Sponsors

Diamondback Hospitality Group

William Kearns

Leonard & Lois Green Charitable Foundation

Live Oak Stud Ocala Marion County Florida
Live Oak Stud Ocala Marion County Florida
Misty Lane Cattle Co.
Misty Lane Cattle Co.

Cathy D. Perry Estate

Stonehall Farm

Saint Bernard Foundation

Tri-Eagle Sales Logo

Silver Sponsors

Bronze Sponsors

Florida Horse Park Logo

Marketing Partners

Special Delivery: Brook Ledge Horse Transportation’s Commitment to Conservation

Special Delivery: Brook Ledge Horse Transportation’s Commitment to Conservation

Horse Farms Forever is honored to have Brook Ledge Horse Transportation as our Title Sponsor of our Conservation Summit for the third year in a row. This year’s topic – Traffic and Transportation – is especially important for their business.

An HFF member since 2018, Brook Ledge is a family business that cares about Marion County’s horses and horse farms.

In 1955, Bill and Bob Gotwals started in the trucking business with one truck. Since that time, the family owned and operated business has grown to include Brook Ledge Inc. and XpressWay. Brook Ledge Inc. is now one of the largest Horse Transportation companies in North America. In addition to operating out of its home office in Oley, PA, Brook Ledge Inc. maintains terminals on small farms in Lexington, KY and here in Ocala. There are three generations of Gotwals currently working at Brook Ledge.

Brook Ledge and the people behind the name are committed to providing the most outstanding service possible in horse transportation. They ship famous show and racehorses to pasture companions and faithful steeds. They understand that whether your horse is a companion or a champion they are all equally important and this is why they treat each horse with the highest care and attention.

Brook Ledge’s fleet is operated by expert drivers and video monitoring of the horses while in transport, and frequent communication during the route provides peace of mind for horse owners.

Brook Ledge is incredibly proud to present their customers with lifelong horsemen and women to ship and care for their horses. Their professional drivers come from a wide range of equine backgrounds consisting of trainers, farriers, professional competitive riders, grooms, horse farm managers, who all have extensive horse experience. Most of the drivers are current or past horse owners and many are second and third generation horse people—the horse is in their blood.

One of the many ways that Brook Ledge gives back to the equine community is through their Brook Ledge Road Scholar award. Through this program, they gift round-trip travel to one full-time student who wants to take their horse to college but doesn’t have the means to get them there. This opportunity is open to any incoming or current undergraduate student under the age of 24. Interested students apply at https://www.brookledge.com/roadscholar  and the winning applicant is most heavily weighted on need and the quality of their applicant essay.

As a business, we think about how we can give back to this place and the horse farms and families that we’ve been able to serve.

We’re truly blessed to have what we have – these horse farms and that rich belt of land that grows good horses. If you’re not nurturing the whole system – land, business and the equine industry, there won’t be anything left for our kids to be a part of.

It’s so easy to think in the ‘now,’ but the ‘now is tomorrow and the next day. We want to encourage growth in Marion County but there is still plenty of land where that can strategically happen so that everyone can flourish in such a wonderful place that is Marion County.

Brian Roberts

Manager, Ocala Depot, Brook Ledge Horse Transportation

Watch the Brook Ledge Feature Video:

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's 193,000 acre Farmland Preservation Area.

Join the herd. Every voice matters.

Questions About Transportation and Traffic in Marion County? Let’s Hear Them…

Questions About Transportation and Traffic in Marion County? Let’s Hear Them…

What Concerns Drive You?

Please use the comments section at the bottom of this blog to ask your question.

When we surveyed the audience after the 2021 Conservation Summit about future topics for Conversations About Conservation, several of you said this:

“Transportation and how it relates to conservation. Proposed new Marion County Roads. 75 Interchange North of 27.”

And that makes sense, because in last year’s Quality of Life Survey, you rated Transportation and Traffic second only to Preservation of Natural Resources as a topic of concern.

So at this year’s Conversations About Conservation Summit to be held on November 14th at Ocala Breeder’s Sales, we’re bringing you the two people most qualified to address that very topic. Keynote Speaker, Secretary Jared Perdue of the Florida Department of Transportation has the big picture of Florida’s transportation needs and challenges in hand. He was appointed by Governor DeSantis in April to lead the Department. Perdue has served at FDOT for 18 years, most recently as District Five Secretary where he was responsible for leading and developing a workforce of nearly 600 employees and managing an annual budget of nearly $1 billion. As District Five Secretary, Perdue led the completion of the I-4 Ultimate Project, FDOT’s largest project to date. He also oversaw the Wekiva Parkway project, a model transportation project for environmental conservation.

Secretary Perdue lending a hand with the aftermath of Hurricane Ian. Source: FDOT.

And there is nobody more qualified to speak about the granular details of Marion County’s 42 ongoing road projects than our Guest Speaker, Marion County’s own Tracy Straub, Assistant Administrator of Public Works and Growth Services. Straub oversees the Office of the County Engineer, which consists of the Road Maintenance, Stormwater, Transportation Design, and Traffic Management sections. She is also responsible for the Growth Services department and its sections; Planning and Zoning and Code Enforcement. Straub’s duties also include the departments of Building Safety, Community Services, MSTU/Assessment, and Tourist Development. As an Ocala native and fifth-generation Marion County Floridian, Straub takes great pride in her community and helping to shape its public infrastructure while preserving the beauty and environment of her home.

Secretary Jared Perdue (in helicopter) and District Secretary John Tyler from the Florida Department of Transportation (second from right) took flight with Marion County Adminstrator Mounir Bouyounes and Assistant County Administrator Tracy Straub to get a better perspective of traffic in Marion County. Special thanks to pilots Master Sergeant Darren Bruner and Corporal Joe Jenkins from Marion County Sheriff’s Office Air 1 for the birds-eye view of Marion County. Source: Marion County.

Comment Below

We’re excited to bring you two deeply experienced transportation leaders with demonstrated care and concern for environmental impacts in Marion County and our state as a whole. They will both answer a few moderated questions as part of our program on the 14th. But since our Program is just 1-1/2 hours long, we only have time for a few questions to each speaker, selected beforehand. We want to hear from you! Please use the comments section at the bottom of this blog to ask your question. We will compile the questions and look for common threads to present to our speakers. We will also forward all constructive questions to the speakers for their own edification.

So please, let those questions fly – we will post all constructive questions to this blog so we can all learn from each other. Let the conversation begin! And thanks.

The Marion County Quality of Life Survey

While Horse Farms Forever was the catalyst for the Survey, we were honored to collaborate with five sponsors who represent the business and non-profit community in Marion County: Ocala Metro Chamber and Economic PartnershipCollege of Central FloridaOcala Horse PropertiesFlorida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association and Hotel Development and Management Group.

The Matrix Group, an independent insights and consulting firm based in Lexington, Kentucky, administered, processed and tabulated responses. Working closely with our partners, we sought to ask the questions that are on the minds of Marion County’s residents.

Read more survey results.

Summit 2022

Let’s Talk Transportation

Monday, November 14
11am to 1:30pm

FREE and Open to the Public

at Ocala Breeder’s Sales
Live stream begins at 12 Noon

 

Brought To You By:

Gold Sponsors

Diamondback Hospitality Group

William Kearns

Leonard & Lois Green Charitable Foundation

Live Oak Stud Ocala Marion County Florida
Live Oak Stud Ocala Marion County Florida
Misty Lane Cattle Co.
Misty Lane Cattle Co.

Cathy D. Perry Estate

Stonehall Farm

Saint Bernard Foundation

Tri-Eagle Sales Logo

Silver Sponsors

Bronze Sponsors

Florida Horse Park Logo

Marketing Partners

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.

 

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