Lawmakers Put on Their Riding Boots
On a sunny day in Ocala, Florida lawmakers like state senator Steve Oelrich saddled up at the Florida Horse Park. Trainers from the park led the politicians on a scenic horseback tour of the grounds for the Legislative Trail Ride and Cookout.
"It's almost like having a great athletic event," says Oelrich. "It's a great activity for families, it's a great economic boon for the whole area."
One of the main talking points of the luncheon was that whenever a horse comes into Ocala, they bring with them one or two people. People who usually go to restaurants and stores around town, spending money, bringing much needed business and jobs to the area. Julie Jesse and Martie Haught work at a horse supply store in Ocala. I asked them the difference they saw in revenue when the horse park has events.
"Oh, huge!" exclaims Jesse. "Cause we're a horse store. And whenever horses come to the Florida Horse Park, most of the people come and shop at our store. So huge impact!"
It's not just horses that bring businesses to Marion County, either. Ranching for beef and tourism make contributions to the county's largely agrarian economy. Oelrich says he wants the state to capitalize on that.
"I’d like to see more investment in this kind of an enterprise because this is something that we ought to work on as a state to make Florida the kind of all encompassing vacation resort a destination where people come.”
And the ranchers, farmers and horse park owners are hoping more lawmakers will share Oelrich's view after today.
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