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The Inaugural Florida Equine Capital Expo Reaches Its EXPOTENTIAL!

Ocala, Florida

December 17, 2007

Horse Capital’s “new Expo” held on November 16-18, 2007, at Hits Post Time Farm in Ocala exceeded everyone’s expectations – the crowds and sales were unbelievable. “My best show ever!” said Jeni Housley of Jeni Designs from Tennessee.

Traffic stood still for miles as horse enthusiasts made their way through the main entrance of Hits Post Time Farm in anticipation of a weekend of sun, fun and horses.

“The inaugural Florida Equine Capital Expo drew horse enthusiasts to Ocala from all over the country. Crowds filled each show ring and there was standing room only in workshop sessions. Many of our vendors sold out of product. The breeds mesmerized the crowds.” said Gordon Calhoun, President HorseSmartSeries Inc. “The beautiful facility of Hits Post Time Farm is an outdoor venue. You can plan all you want for a new venue like this but until you actually experience it, you never know what to expect. Enhancements must be made in several areas but most importantly on tent flooring and food concessions. I relate this first year event to the first year of owning a horse. You learn by experience and strive to improve. And that’s exactly what we are going to do. After all, Ocala & Marion County deserve the very best!”

Dinner In The Dirt™ officially kicked off the festivities on Friday Night. Horse Extremist Tommie Turvey thrilled the VIPs with his “never-seen-anything-like-it-before” performances. 275 VIPs enjoyed a magnificent meal prepared by Chef Randal White. Even the cold temperatures under the stars could not dampen everyone’s excitement.

Florida’s Rick Silvia of Dream Street Stallions was another favorite during Dinner In The Dirt™. Silvia rode Deborah & Rex Howe’s Grand Prix stallion, Fantasma, in a dazzling musical freestyle for VIP diners. The freestyle was under the stars with the spotlight following Silvia and Fantasma as they performed a musical medley of piaffe, passage, extensions and tempi changes between the dinner tables. “It was quite dramatic,” said one VIP diner, “When they rode a long sequence of one tempi changes down the center of the tables, it was like something out of a dream.”

Approximately 12,000 attended the Florida Equine Capital Expo. Preliminary numbers boast a $6,247,290 economic impact for Marion County. 56% attended the Expo from out of state or town, 44% attended from within Marion County or neighboring counties. Estimated gross value of business transactions conducted at the Florida Equine Capital Expo equated to $2,873,000. Over 200 horses and farms participated – many of which have reported unexpected horse sale opportunities. National, Regional & Local advertising did its job to lure newcomers to Ocala with out of state businesses now exploring Ocala as a possible new business location. Event advertising was paid in part by a $75,000 Marion County TDC Grant. A special thank you goes out to Marion County’s Tourist Development Council for all of their support and encouragement.

Horses N Heroes, a 501 C 3 Florida Non Profit Corporation, was the primary charity partner for the event. Founded in 1996 by Mindy Nolan-Morrow, Horses ‘N’ Heroes serve underprivileged little girls and teenagers by giving them hope and a healthy learning environment at the Ocala Horses ‘N’ Heroes horse farm. For more information on how you can support little girls who love unwanted horses, please call Horses ‘N’ Horses at 352-629-5280.

The 2008 Florida Equine Capital Expo is already in the planning stage with vendors and sponsors anxious to sign up. For more information about the Expo planned for November 21-23, 2008, watch for new information on http://www.FloridaEquineCapital.com or call event producers HorseSmartSeries Inc. at 352-390-3393.


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