A Great Getaway

An elegant destination for equine sports, World Equestrian Center Ocala hosts world-class equestrian events as well as seasonal festivals and fun events for all to enjoy.

Ocala, a small central Florida city with an internationally famous equestrian scene, is just over 100 miles down U.S. Highway 301 from Callahan in western Nassau County. Travel the highway that used to be the main thoroughfare through the central part of the state and you will see beautiful Old Florida backwoods country and small towns, and eventually you’ll arrive at one of the most beautiful sports-centered and elegant destinations in all of Florida.

The World Equestrian Center, which opened in Ocala in 2021, is a 378-acre paradise of horse-centered activities, show rings and arenas, stalls and barns, elegant lodging, and community activities. The Roberts family of Wilmington, Ohio had owned a Quarter Horse breeding and training facility in the area for years and extended their family love for all things equestrian to WEC, as it’s known. WEC Ocala is one of two premier equestrian and event venues developed by the Roberts family.

Set among rolling hills and Spanish-moss draped oak trees, WEC features 23 outdoor rings and six climate-controlled indoor arenas, offering year-round horse shows and competitions. You don’t have to be a horse owner or rider to enjoy the WEC experience. There are winding bridle trails throughout the expansive property, which is open to the public for daily visits, equestrian events, festivals, conventions, and more throughout the year. With 26 climate-controlled barns housing nearly 3,000 horses, the facility is a horse enthusiast’s dream. According to Justin Garner, Senior Director of Hospitality Operations at WEC, the complex was developed “horse first, people second,” with facilities designed with animal welfare in mind.

Some of the most prestigious equestrian events are now held at WEC, which can accommodate all equine sports, including dressage, hunter-jumper, western, and breed shows. World Equestrian Center hosts some of the most famous and talented riders in the world at its Grand Prix and international jumping events. And the fun at WEC isn’t limited to just equine activities. Visitors can enjoy a variety of social and entertainment events scheduled throughout the year in conjunction with the horse shows and as stand-alone events. Musicians are often at the on-site pubs, and WEC hosts festivals, organized walks and runs, costume parties, and more.

In late March, WEC hosts the Longines League of NationsTM Qualifier, an international jumping event featuring the Top 10 teams from around the world. April brings the National Collegiate Equestrian Association (NCEA) national championship for college teams, along with barrel racing and Western shows. In May, of course, WEC hosts a Kentucky Derby Hat Party and race-watching events. A quarterly Wine Series is also held on the terrace of Stirrups restaurant, and holiday-themed events take place throughout the year.

Pick an event from the extensive events calendar and enjoy a day trip to WEC, or make a weekend of it. The Equestrian Hotel, an elegant destination with 248 rooms and suites, boasts three restaurants and International shopping venues. World Equestrian Center also offers nearly 300 full-service RV hookups and a “Home Away from Home” park with 90 units.

The extensive grounds of WEC and special events are open to the public, and planning and reservation information can be readily accessed at www.wec.net. World Equestrian Center is located at 1390 NW 80th Avenue in Ocala, Florida.