Live Oak International, which takes place March 7-10 in Ocala, Fla., offers world-class competition in two sports: driving and jumping. The driving event is one of the largest driving competitions in the United States, and the jumping competition, the $100,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Ocala, is part of the prestigious North American League.
But there’s a lot more to know about this unique competition, which is celebrating its 28th anniversary this year. We’ve got you covered with 10 fast facts, including live stream information and how to buy tickets to attend in person:
1. Catch the driving live on USEF Network.
USEF Network will stream all three phases of the driving competition, starting with driving dressage on Thursday, March 7, at 8:30 a.m. Not a US Equestrian member yet? Use promo code LIVEOAK19 for access.
2. Heading to Ocala? Get your tickets online.
From general admission to VIP packages, there are options aplenty, at prices from $10 to $10,000, at liveoakinternational.com/shop. Start here to buy your tickets. Daily general admission, week passes, tailgating spots during Saturday’s driving marathon, and VIP hospitality options are all available. Parking is free, but this year spectators have the option of purchasing premium parking, closer to the entrance gates. Have questions? Stop by the Spectator FAQs for the scoop on attending the event in person. And check out the event schedule here.
3. Check out US Equestrian's Joy Booth at the venue.
US Equestrian’s Joy Tour brings the celebration of horse sports to venues around the country. The US Equestrian booth will be hopping at Live Oak—come join us! Stop by for free fan memberships, ShopUSEF merchandise, and opportunities to learn more about our breeds and disciplines. Live Oak attendees can sign up for a US Equestrian fan membership (a $25 value) completely FREE to receive access to our Learning Center videos, USEF Network, US Equestrian magazine, MemberPerks program discounts, and much more! While at the booth, shop 'til you drop with our selection of US Equestrian + Ariat apparel and accessories.
4. It’s a “golden” reunion and a national championship showdown in the driving competition.
All three members of the World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 gold medal-winning U.S. driving team are entered in the 2019 Live Oak International. Chester Weber, Live Oak’s defending four-in-hand champion and the individual silver medalist at WEG, will compete with his former WEG teammates Misdee Wrigley Miller and James “Jimmy” Fairclough for the USEF Advanced Four-in-Hand Horses Driving National Championship. Also on the line at Live Oak: the USEF Advanced Pair Horses Driving National Championship.
5. Take the leap: watch jumping in the Competition Arena.
Jumping competition takes place Friday through Sunday. The highlight is Sunday afternoon’s $100,000 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Ocala, the final opportunity for show jumping riders in the North American League to gain points to qualify for the 2019 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final in Gothenburg, Sweden.
6. Don’t miss the Parade of Nations in downtown Ocala.
On Thursday evening, March 7, the Live Oak International Parade of Nations will take place in downtown Ocala. As a complement to this annual parade, Live Oak International also will host an exhibit of different breeds of horses at the show grounds.
7. Get up to speed on driving.
8. It’s all on the grass.
Live Oak International is historically held on grass, making it one of the most picturesque competitions around. Following the completion of a two-phase renovation at the venue, competitors will drive and jump on grass with a sand-fiber base. The competition also features a new arena, built last year.
9. The venue is a storied thoroughbred property, too.
Live Oak Stud, which hosts Live Oak International, is a 5,000-acre working farm that includes a famed thoroughbred breeding and racing program as well as a large cattle operation. The thoroughbreds race under the banner of Live Oak Plantation, whose outstanding runners have included Breeders’ Cup winners, Eclipse Award champions, multiple Grade 1 winners, and more.
10. Showcase your tailgating talent.
Reserve one of the limited tailgating spots and you’ll be automatically eligible to compete in the free tailgate contest during Saturday’s cross-country marathon phase of the driving competition. Put on your best southern hospitality, get creative, and enjoy a close view of some of the most exciting hazards on the course. For information on entering the free tailgating contest, visit liveoakinternational.com/tailgaiting-with-style.
Heading to Ocala? Here are Five Other Activities to Explore
Live Oak International’s setting in bucolic Ocala, Fla., is well worth the trip, even if you never leave the competition venue with its majestic oaks festooned with Spanish moss. Wherever you are in Ocala/Marion County, you’re never far from horses; according to a 2018 American Horse Council survey, the county has more than 80,000 horses. Whether you’re touring a farm or hacking through the local countryside, there are equine opportunities all around.
Start with the Live Oak International Parade of Nations in downtown Ocala on Thursday evening, March 7, then make a little time for these five excursions into central Florida’s horse country and beyond with these five trip suggestions.
Take an equestrian tour. Ride horseback through the Sunshine State’s second-largest forest, the Ocala
National Forest. Offering self-guided and unhurried rides through the sand pines of the “big scrub” and the straight and sturdy longleaf pines of the “flatwoods,” and numerous lakes and grassy prairies.
Dozens of other invigorating trail ride opportunities exist throughout the county.
Ride a bike. The Santos Bike Trails are an International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA) Bronze ride center, with an IMBA Epic ride. This unique trail system is built on abandoned canal diggings and phosphorus quarries to give it elevation. Riders of all skill levels can participate, as the path offers beginner to advanced trails.
Have a treetop adventure. Canyons Zip Lines and Canopy Tours offers the highest, fastest zip lines in Florida and longest zip line over open waters in the U.S. Get a treetop view of enormous cliff walls, sparkling lakes, alligators, snakes, and panoramic vistas. Your professionally trained tour guide will educate you about the history, wildlife, and nature.
Not ready to be a daredevil but want to see this amazing property? Try the Mine and Wine tour. Sit back and relax as you sip on a variety of wine tastings and tour the property on an open-air wagon. The tour concludes at the property’s mining station where you will have the chance to sift through dirt and rock to uncover treasures that you get to keep. Want to stick close to horses? There’s a horseback tour, too.
Get out on the water. The area is rich in crystal-clear, artesian springs that offer up-close, nature-driven encounters. Silver Springs State Park, Florida’s oldest attraction and home to one of the largest springs in the world, has renowned glass-bottom boat tours.
Rainbow Springs, designated as a Natural Florida Landmark, is another paddle paradise. Enjoy a leisurely paddle down the Rainbow River, surrounded by towering palm trees, ferns, gardens, and magnificent waterfalls. Rainbow Springs State Park, and nearby KP Hole Park provide visitors with 1,470 acres of hiking, swimming, tubing, and paddling.
Step inside for a range of art and culture. The Appleton Museum of Art houses five permanent art collections comprised of 18,000 pieces of art and artifacts spanning five continents, while the
Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing is home to the biggest antique and drag racing car collections in the state.
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