As the head trainer of Cactus Jack's Trail Rides, Debbie Zito cares for a fleet of healthy, happy, and well-trained horses, which she also pairs with beginners and experienced riders for leisurely tours. Debbie and her other guides call upon their seasoned riding experiences as they lead visitors throughout the shade-speckled trails of the 110-mile Cross Florida Greenway trail system. While groups ride along, the guides point out historic sites and natural inhabitants, such as great horned owls, red-tailed hawks, coyotes, cardinals, and armadillos. Debbie and her team also offer lessons to increase riders' confidence and help them communicate with horses effectively rather than sending them commands through email.
Staff Size: 11?25 people
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Parking: Parking lot
Most Popular Attraction/Offering: Works in the permanent collection
Recommended Age Group: All Ages
What is the one feature of your business that you're most proud of?
Our permanent collection and temporary exhibits present a wide variety of types of art, including paintings, sculptures, furniture, decorative art, and antiquities. There is something for everyone.
What is the experience customers can expect, and how do you make it special?
Visitors can learn something about different cultures and different eras, from pre-Columbian artifacts to contemporary art. Our temporary exhibits change frequently and there is always something new to see.
Is there anything else you want to add that we didn't cover?
We offer a scavenger hunt for children that encourages them to look more closely at the art and find the answers to the questions. After completing their scavenger hunt the children are rewarded with a prize to remember their visit to the Appleton.
Brianna M. Seltser began her equestrian journey at the age of 6, when she first felt the freedom and exhilaration only found on the back of a galloping steed. That first taste inspired her to pursue the sport throughout her childhood; she’d go on to become a young member of the United States Pony Club and compete on show circuits throughout Florida, Massachusetts, and Georgia.
Today she passes on her lifetime of equestrian experience to new riders at the 20-acre Silverstride Equestrian Center. Her aim is to foster a bond between horse and human through lessons for riders of all ages seeking to learn for pleasure, competition, or to finally have an excuse to wear their ten-gallon hat. Lessons take place on the center's half-mile track, on an impressive jump field, or in a secluded schooling area. Since no two riders are alike, she customizes a detailed lesson plan for each student with the end goals of developing riding skills, building confidence, and learning the value of proper horsemanship. Seltser's equestrian center also hosts birthday parties and summer camps designed to inspire budding equine aficionados.
Just beyond the wrought iron gates and cobbled stone walls that stand at the entrance to Young’s Paso Fino Ranch, Paso Fino horses from some of the breed’s most esteemed bloodlines gallop across green fields and rustic meadows. Renowned for their naturally smooth gait and personable dispositions, the steeds whinny their greetings to visitors who arrive at the ranch for farm tours, riding lessons, and leisurely trail rides. To further endear themselves to the horses before saddling up alongside the ranch’s experienced guides and instructors, new riders are encouraged to bring along carrots and wear their finest hay-scented perfumes. When the afternoon sun beats down on the farm’s open pastures, riders can seek shade in the on-site tack and gift shop, where saddles, reins, and souvenirs swing from wooden walls. Aside from daily rides and lessons, the ranch offers full-service boarding in a barn with clay flooring and a covered viewing pavilion.
When maestro Phillip Daniel Vincent strikes with his sword, you'll be lucky if you even see him move. Vincent has been fencing his entire life, first learning foil skills before moving on to the saber and epee, and training with world-renowned coaches and champions. After raking in his own awards?including two Ivy League championships?he became a fencing coach and now heads up En Garde Fencing Club of Ocala.
His students learn fencing and footwork in both private and group sessions, and then practice their techniques in sparring matches that help them prepare to walk the mean streets of the local Renaissance faire. Lessons take place at The Training Center of Ocala, which also hosts stress-busting Raja yoga and tai chi classes. One of the tai chi instructors, Harry Smith, is another distinguished champion who has won bronze and gold medals in national and international competitions.
A famous tautologist once said that nothing pairs better with a crawfish festival than crawfish. This thought-provoking maxim is an apt summation of the Ocala Crawfish Fest, an annual celebration of Louisiana-style cooking and live music. In an interview with Ocala.com, festival organizer Deb Cone described the event as an opportunity to combine kids-education fundraising efforts with casual, laid-back fun. As she put it, “We wanted to do something for the entire community where you don't have to dress up.” Attendees can throw down blankets or lawn chairs and kick back to musical stylings that are as Cajun as the cuisine that is being served up, all while reveling in the knowledge that their merriment is helping the independent education facility Hale Academy.