It’s an exciting time for the team that’s bringing eventing to the 950-acre Ocala Jockey Club property in Reddick, Florida, as the FEI has approved a new CIC3*, CCI2* and CCI* event to be held at the facility on Nov. 24-27, 2016, over Thanksgiving weekend next year.
Equiventures CEO Richard Trayford, who is spearheading the project alongside Ocala Jockey Club owners Erik and Pavla Nygaard, said they strategically wanted that holiday date for a reason: to host a showcase event that will attract people on a weekend when families are already out and about.
“We deliberately wanted to host the event around Thanksgiving to capture that Black Friday urge to rush out and do Christmas shopping and be together as a family,” Richard said. “You have your Thanksgiving dinner, and then then you’re looking for something active to do. We’ll offer fabulous shopping and entertainment with the goal of getting a good crowd for the final event of the season.”
Equiventures announced in August that the Ocala Jockey Club property will be used to expand the popular Ocala Eventing Series, which title sponsor Ocala Horse Properties doubled financial support for this year. With the Ocala Jockey Club also being approved to run a CIC3* next year, Richard said it’s a big step toward creating a world-class event that will attract riders from across the globe.
“We’ve got beautiful, hilly country at this facility. Florida is notoriously flat, but this area is not. The turf and terrain is suitable, and the climate is always great,” Richard said. “We have a chance to create competitions that won’t conflict with the rest of the international calendar and will entice foreign riders to come here. We want to make the U.S. the place to come.”