We truly believe that horses, horse farms and the equine industry create the “sense of place” that makes Ocala and Marion County unique and noteworthy. For there to be horses and an equine industry, there must be farmland available for horse farms. The Farmland Preservation Area in northwest Marion County serves that purpose, and thus it is precious and must be protected and preserved to sustain this sense of place.
Our mission is to inspire the conservation of horse farms through education and awareness so as to preserve natural pasture land focusing on horses and their habitats, and to protect the soil and water on which they depend, while minimizing land use conflicts in Marion County.
That is why a group of locals has formed Horse Farms Forever, an initiative focused on the conservation of horse farms by preserving the natural pasture land for horses and their habitats, protecting the soil and water on which they depend, and minimizing land use conflicts in Marion County.
In April 2018, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) released plans for the Coastal Connector turnpike with projected routes that would go right through the heart of Marion County horse country. After massive public outcry over the potential destruction of the hundreds of horse farms that provide the cultural fabric of Marion County, the FDOT “postponed” this project. Now that the immediate threat of the Coastal Connector has been postponed, the ongoing goal for Horse Farms Forever is to protect horse farms from further government overreach through education and awareness in Marion County.
Ocala’s equine industry contributes nearly 50 percent of the tourism dollars in Marion County, brings in nearly $3 billion annually and employs 20,000 workers. Our equine industry is at stake should this project resume at a later date or future projects be approved. We must preserve and protect Marion County’s green space that is revered as the Horse Capital of the World.™
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Membership & Giving
It will take a unified effort from all of our residents to come together to raise our voices to protect our horse farms and our way of life. Join our effort and have your name listed among our neighbors here in Marion County who want to protect the Horse Capital of the World.™
ResourcesOur resource center provides quick links to industry facts and project updates.