May 20, 2020

Horses, horse farms and the horse industry create the character and culture that define Ocala/Marion County. The vision and mission of Horse Farms Forever is to ensure this ‘sense of place’ is protected for future generations, especially the Farmland Preservation Area located in northwest Marion County.

One of the most exciting developments in the equine history of the county is the upcoming opening of the World Equestrian Center. This massive private project focused on sport horses will truly solidify Ocala/Marion County as the Horse Capital of the WorldÒ.

Recently, we expressed our concern about two proposed changes to the Farmland Preservation Area that were included in the amendment to the County’s comprehensive plan requested by the Golden Ocala-World Equestrian Center organization. The first request was to move the boundary of the Farmland Preservation Area on several parcels on County Road 225 A. The second request was to apply a newly created land use designation called WEC to rural property inside the Farmland Preservation Area on the west side of NW 100th Avenue.

Horse Farms Forever was able to reach an agreement with the leadership of the GO-WEC organization regarding our concerns and as a result of this agreement, we will be enthusiastically advocating for approval of the revised amendment. This agreement will preserve the Farmland Preservation Area boundary and permit only equestrian-related uses on the property located within it.

As often happens when there are different opinions, a collaborative focus can bring alignment to positions. In this case, both parties sought to better understand each other’s position. In the end we felt like our goals were accomplished and we stayed true to our mission, as well as continued our support for the World Equestrian Center.

We thank the Golden Ocala-World Equestrian Center leadership for listening to our concerns and agreeing to respect the integrity of the Farmland Preservation Area. We express our appreciation to the Roberts family for their incredible investment in the community, especially the Golden Ocala Golf and Equestrian Club and the World Equestrian Center.

We also thank them for continuing as Founding Members of Horse Farms Forever.

The Board of Directors