History of the Park - Ocala Florida

Footers being poured for each of the five permanent barns. Adding clay to stall base. Erection of spacious 12x12 stalls.

2015

May -- Under the direction of Florida Horse Park Executive Director Shawn Doherty, the five permanent stabling structures were completed. Each barn houses 32 spacious 12 X 12 stalls. The facility now has a combined permanent and temporary stabling capacity of 282 stalls.

2014

Dec. -- The Florida Horse Park declares that the newly constructed 79,500 square-foot covered arena is open for business. The massive structure is the size of a covered football field. The Southern Junior Rodeo Association not only held the first rodeo at the park, but also held the first event under covered arena.

2013

Nov. -- Site work begins on the new for the construction of the new 79,500 square-foot covered arena.

May -- Under the direction of Florida Horse Park Executive Director Shawn Doherty the first of five permanent stabling structures were completed. Each barn houses 32 spacious 12 X 12 stalls. The facility now has a combined permanent and temporary stabling capacity of 282 stalls.

2012 

Nov. -- Site work begins on the new for the construction of the new 79,500 square-foot covered arena.


2011

The Florida Horse Park completes construction of the new welcome center which contains concessions, storage, shower and restroom facilities. 

2010

The Florida Horse Park receives a grant through the Office of Tourism and Economic Development for the construction of a new development center.

2009

January Connie Duff Wise, State Farm Agent in The Villages, Florida, is elected as Chairman of Florida Agriculture Center & Horse Park Authority.

January  Todd Gralla Equestrian Architects are hired to create the Park's site plan.

1996

March 14 Florida Agriculture Center & Horse Park Authority was created by state statue


1998

January 22 A 50 year lease commences between the Florida Agriculture Center & Horse Park Authority and the Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services.

May 1 Florida Agriculture Center & Horse Park Authority Board is vacated by state statute.  Tom Warriner is then appointed by Commissioner Charles Bronson as the new Chairman of the Board.

June 1 International Event Organizer Shelley Lambert is hired as the first employee of the Park

August 5 First Full Board Meeting of the newly formed Florida Horse Park

August 8 Olympian David O’Connor is hired to design first cross country courses at the Park

October 4 Florida Horse Park Groundbreaking Ceremony

November 5-6 The first event, Ocala Fall Horse Trials and Sunshine State Driving Competition, is held at the Park

November 14 Construction of the All-Weather Arena Commences


2006

January 16 First Dressage Event is held at the Park in the newly constructed All-Weather Arena

April 8 Children’s Home Society’s Dozer Days makes its debut at the Park

April 8 First Arena Polo Game is held at the Park

April 7-9 The first Show Jumping show, the Ocala Jumping Classic, is held at the Florida Horse Park

April 7-9 The first international event is held at the Park: The Sunshine State CAI International Combined Driving Event

April 20-23 The first international 3-Day Event is held at the Park:  The Festival of the Horse International CCI**/* 3-Day Event

August Florida Horse Park Polo Club Forms

December Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company and OBS Feed make a generous donation to the Park and are granted naming rights to the All-Weather Arena


2007

January-March Florida Horse Park hosts for the first time the CFCC Equine Studies Class in Event Management

February 17-19 Florida Horse Park hosts largest Horse Trials ever in the Southeast Region (509 entries)

March The Equestrian Center at Horse Creek Entry Level Cross Country Course, donated by Mrs. Parker J. Collier is completed

August 10 Florida Horse Park office gets its first flushing toilet.  The office staff  are no longer required to use port-a-potties.

August 21 Representatives from the Florida Horse Park meet with Governor Crist to discuss the Park

September Park is awarded a CCI**/* International Event to be held in conjunction with the Ocala Fall Horse Trials i


2008

January Whitfield M. Palmer, Jr. is elected as interim Chairman of the Park.  Craig G. Bachrodt takes over as Chair for the second half of the year.

August Park applies for specialty license plate through the Department of Motor Vehicles.  Sen. Carey Baker and Rep. Kurt Kelley agree to sponsor the legislation during the 2009 Legislative Session.

October State of Florida Office of Tourism, Trade & Economic Development awards Park a grant of up to $1 million dollars to fund basic infrastructure.

November IDEO, a global design consultancy out of California, begins a project to hone the strategic vision for the Park and to envision the horse park of the future.


2009

January Connie Duff Wise, State Farm Agent in The Villages, Florida, is elected as Chairman of Florida Agriculture Center & Horse Park Authority.

January  Todd Gralla Equestrian Architects are hired to create the Park's site plan.