s temperatures mellow out to a mild 70 degrees, the fun begins to heat up. Ocala/Marion County in the heart of North Central Florida, offers a variety of outdoor events and springtime activities sure to excite visitors traveling to the area.
As spring begins to flourish, athletes from around the world converge in Ocala/Marion County. Known as the Horse Capital of the WorldHITS (Horse Shows in the Sun) TM, the destination is proud to host top performing athletes of both the human and horse variety. makes its way to Post Time Farm in Ocala beginning January 16th ththrough March 25. As one the national locations hosting the renowned equestrian show, Ocala welcomes elite riders from all corners of the world to this unforgettable 10-week event. With three weeks of non-rated circuit competition, followed by seven weeks of skilled riders competing for the million dollar grand prize, HITS is a can’t-miss gathering for any show jumping fan or visitor wanting to watch top equestrian athletes.
HITS Post Time Farm will also welcome the Federation Équestre Internationale (FEI) Nations Cup www.HitsShows.comfrom February 13th ththrough February 18, during which international champions will compete for more than $450,000 in prizes. As one of the four locations across the world to hold this prestigious event, the esteemed Ocala venue will host eight national teams from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Germany, Ireland, Mexico, and the United States, with the events being broadcasted worldwide. Admission to the FEI Nations Cup events is $10 and a complete schedule of this legendary event is available at .
The Parade of Nations Horse Celebration will take place at the historic Downtown Ocala Square on February 17th. This second annual event will honor the athletes competing in the FEI Nations Cup and will help “jump” start the week long competition. The Parade of Nations will welcome riders from each country as they make their way through the downtown streets and around the city square for the welcoming ceremony. Over 30 horse breeds will also be present during the parade showing the diversity of the equine industry. A special appearance by the Budweiser Clydesdales will be the parade finale, but the fun doesn’t stop after the parade is over. There will be horse drawn carriage rides, vendors, snacks and more! Free and open to the public, this event provides visitors the opportunity to see first-hand how the horse industry is woven into the identity of our destination.
For the past 26 years, Live Oak International, held at Live Oak Plantation in Ocala, Florida, has set the standard for combined driving and show jumping competition, welcoming leading international drivers, trainers, coaches and owners. This year, the competition will take place from March 15th ththrough March 18, and will feature a vendor village and plenty of fresh food and cold drinks available for purchase. General admission to the event is $10.
Wrapping up 10 weeks of thrilling competition, the HITS Ocala Great American Million Dollar Grand Prix takes place on March 25th and is set to welcome more than 40 of the world’s most accomplished horse and rider combinations. Competing for the richest prize in American show jumping, participants will face off at the HITS Post Time Farm where spectators can be a part of this legendary equestrian event. Adult admission is $10, while children under 12 can watch the action for free.
Ocala/Marion County, Florida offers thrilling equestrian competition that is both spectator and budget friendly. Enjoy all this heart pumping action in a serene setting that offers lots of activities long after the competition has ended for the day. For a complete listing of stay and play options within the destination, visit www.ocalamarion.com.
About: Outdoor adventures abound. Ocala/Marion County offers countless opportunities to connect with nature and relax in a classic Florida destination. Home to the Ocala National Forest, the second largest national forest in the state, as well as historic Silver Springs. This unique destination is ideal for both leisure and business travelers who seek authentic outdoor experiences. Known as the Horse Capital of the World™ with more than 700 horse farms, the County boasts a legacy of breeding and training world champion thoroughbreds. Centrally located less than two hours from Orlando, Daytona Beach and Tampa, Ocala/Marion County is a must-stop when visiting Central Florida. For more information on Ocala/Marion County, visit www.ocalamarion.com.