This year Missy and the BHF team settled into a beautiful 80 acre property in Citra owned by Cindy Torbeck, an area about 20 minutes from the heart of Ocala. The farm was beautiful, with a central home (used for Cindy's guests), 2 large barns and a gigantic front field primarily used for training, dressage and show jumping. Ample turnout ensures that all the ponies have plenty of room to stretch. Cindy even installed electric and septic for the caravan of BHF riders who hooked up their campers for the winter season. Given the option to stay up at the main house, I quickly opted to stay in one of the campers near the BHF crew, eager for the legitimate experience and bonding time with these crazy eventers!
Facebook Photo Gallery of the farm.
I'm embarrassed to say that this was the first year I was able to break away and visit "The Horse Capital of the World", and Ocala doesn't take that claim lightly! I was astounded by the back to back farms that dot the landscape of this sprawling horse mecca. It is every horse competitor's paradise, with a variety of options for seasonal rentals ranging from small backyard "pony condos" to state of the art competition barns and enormous Thoroughbred training facilities. It is truly an equestrian melting pot.
Highlights of my stay included getting my tail kicked by Jordan, the infamous personal trainer who is based out of Longwood Farm South, eating more than my share of burritos at Pepe's, spending the entire weekend at Ocala Horse Trials photographing my favorite clients, and touring the area to take facility photos for my footing client Wordley Martin Equestrian.
I also was able to spend 5 days in awe of my longtime friend Missy Ransehousen. Even though we are neighbors at home, I don't often get the opportunity to tag along and watch her in action with all of her staff and clients. It's appropriate to say that Missy spends an enormous amount of time supporting and seeking the best for all of the people around her, be it making my coffee and muffin in the morning before running off to teach a dressage or jump lesson, riding the fox hunters at Blue Elephant, coaching clients at the event, orchestrating the care of all of the horses in her program, then cooking for the whole crazy crew back at the campground. There is not a moment where Missy isn't constantly thinking about pleasing everyone else. She is truly selfless and always puts everyone before herself.
|Missy and DD|
Photo courtesy Brigitte Aiklin
Once she gets home in April, it's my turn to make the coffee.