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March 25th Poker Run for Horse Riders & Drivers

Once again, Equestrian Springs is hosting a “Poker Run” trail ride and drive sponsored by STRIDE Dressage Association. Equestrians from other horse clubs are invited to come enjoy the day.

Riders & drivers will pick up playing cards at 5 points on the 2-mile trail and winning hands will be tallied at the end. 50% of  the proceeds go to the top 5 hands, and the balance will be donated to a local horse rescue.

Carriage Drivers head out at 9:30 am, riders at 10:00 am, with a Pot Luck Lunch & STRIDE Meeting at 12:30 pm.  

Entry $10. Register by March 20. Email for  form: 


5 riders at the Equestrian Springs poker run trail ride

Above: Riders ready to head out at the 2015 poker run.            Below: Horse carriages are welcome!

Yoga For Riders Starts Feb 16th At Equestrian Springs in Ocala

Sylvia Vitazkova in a balancing asana

Sylvia Vitazkova, PhD, begins teaching yoga for equestrians – both professionals and amateurs – on Feb 16, 2017 at Equestrian Springs. For details, contact her at (540) 878-1987


Sylvia K. Vitazkova, PhD, is a yoga teacher, life coach, horsewoman, and conservation biologist.

Her teaching focus is on correct alignment, the joy and challenge of being fully present in one’s body, and the psychological and spiritual context within which the physical practice is embedded.

Sylvia has a lifelong connection with horses, from her first pony while a child in Africa, to teaching at riding camp in the U.S. as a teenager and later at Claremont Riding Academy in NYC, to the current and ongoing exploration of how yoga can be a tool for better and more connected riding.

Horse riding is a physically and mentally demanding sport. Riding well requires acute body awareness, fitness, flexibility, coordination, and focus. While it may be easy to follow the movement of the horse and to recover from falls when one is young, it becomes increasingly challenging to remain supple, fit, and fearless past one’s twenties.

Professionals who ride multiple horses each day need to stretch well-used muscles and engage in constructive mindfulness practices to deal with multiple, often stressful, sponsor, client, student and equine demands. Amateurs must maintain fitness, increase coordination and focus, and often need to overcome fear when riding (though few will admit to it!).

Sylvia teaches riders how to stretch before a ride, how to remain present and fluid while riding, how to loosen used muscles after a ride, and how to prepare mentally to get in the arena or show ring.

In her yoga class, students learn how to:

  • unlock mid-back muscles so they can lift their chest without stiffening the lower back
  • identify which side of their body is stronger and how that affects the aids
  • engage their core and lighten the seat without tightening the buttock muscles and losing fluidity in the spine.

For details, contact Sylvia at (540) 878-1987

Visitors celebrated Fall with 2 Events During Ocala Parade of Homes: Oct 15 Symphony Duet and Oct 23 Trail Ride

Jueun Kim Warf (Violinist) & Kathryn Poore (Violist) Oct 15 at Equestrian Springs IMG 4478

Violist Kathryn Poore (right) from the Ocala Symphony and Violinist Jueun Kim Warf (left) from the Gainesville Symphony performed a duet in the model home at Equestrian Springs on Saturday Oct 15th.

In the photo below: Left to right, Jackie Carlson of TL Carlson Construction who built the home, Hellena Smejda from Equestrian Springs, Jueun and Kathryn, Al Nuh from Equestrian Springs.

Parade duet photo IMG_4482


Cascade from north with pampas in foreground 20161023_132146


The weather was perfect for a trail ride! Pictured is the horse sculpture atop the cascade waterfall, which was the starting point for the trail ride on this beautiful property.

trailer & horse on lot 1 gate background 20161023_105424 Bill Maleske’s Paso Fino waiting for her buddies, parked in front of lot 1.

Maria on pinto and Riana (on Versailles) 20161023_112150

Below: Maria French on her Tobiano Paint and Rianne Ruizendaal of Dutch Dream Farm on the Hanoverian “Versailles”

Denise Raymond and "Sam" 20161023_112506

Above: Denise Raymond on her Missouri Foxtrotter “Sam”

Below: Close-up of the full-size Italian horse atop the 15 foot high cascade made from Florida limestone and surrounded by a moat landscaped with water lilies and other plants. It stands in the roundabout at the apex of the entrance road which then branches left and right. Every visitor loves this ! cascade lilies papyrus 20161023_131930 Laughing Maleskes and Holgate on entrance road 20161023_092337

Bill and Nancy Maleske on their Paso Finos enjoyed visiting with friend and fellow trail rider Karen Holgate.  It was a crisp Fall morning (notice jackets!). 

Below: Karen, Nancy, Bill ready to head outKaren Holgate Nancy Maleske Bill Maleske 20161023_093853 Denise Raymond, Karen Holgate, Nancy and Bill Maleske 20161023_094557

Denise Raymond joins the group entrance muehli grass, gate, cascade, house 20161018_105134

Below: Fall is when Muehli Grass blooms in Ocala. Here, it complements the Knock Out Roses that flank the Florida limestone rocks on the Equestrian Springs entrance island. Shown through the entrance gate posts, in the far left, is the cascade with full-size horse sculpture. Far right is the Carlson-built Parade house on lot 17, seen through the trees of lot 27. 

Below: I love this google-enhanced photo! It’s so romantic.  

entrance sign and mums with google special effects 20161022_180258-EFFECTS

Below: Banners and signs welcomed visitors to our entry in the Fall Ocala Parade of Homes.  Parade sign at entrance with banners 20161022_180918


Equestrian Springs developer “Lucky” Smejda stopped at Ocala’s famous Tas-T-O Donut shop on Silver Springs Boulevard early morning and selected a variety of treats for after the trail ride. The Ocala institution opens at 6 and is usually sold out by 10.



Champagne Concert – Sat Oct 15 during Parade of Homes


Everyone is invited for music, champagne & cookies – and drawing for 2 tickets to choice of events at The Reilly Center!

The “Forest Springs” home at Equestrian Springs will resound with music on the first Saturday of the Fall Ocala Parade of Homes, Oct 15th from 2-3:30pm. This unique “Champagne Concert” features the classical music duet of Ocala Symphony Orchestra Violist Kathryn Poore and Gainesville Orchestra Violinist Jueun Kim Warf.

All visitors throughout the Parade of Homes — Oct 13-16 and 20-23 — may enter a drawing for a pair of tickets to the winners’ choice of events at The Reilly Center, home of the Ocala Symphony and venue for many different cultural events.

The concert is one of two events at Equestrian Springs during the Parade. The second event is a trail ride with Tas-T-O doughnuts and coffee on Sun, Oct 23rd at 9am. RSVP please for trail ride to Hellena at 352/875-8156 call/text.

Ask us about special Parade pricing on Equestrian Springs lots and the Forest Springs house: call/text Al (786) 202-0521, call/text Hellena at (352) 875-8156, or call Lucky at (305) 358-4441.

Pamela Calero, Ocala Symphony Executive Director holding lamp at the model home in Equestrian Springs

Pamela Calero, Executive Director of the Ocala Symphony Orchestra and The Reilly Arts Center,  presented Equestrian Springs with a violin-shaped lamp, in appreciation of developer “Lucky” Smejda’s donation to the Symphony. The Smejda Family has joined other Ocala families, individuals and companies as Founding Members of the OSO.

Ocala Symphony Orchestra Violist Kathryn Poore will be performing at Equestrian Springs' Champagne Concert during the Fall Ocala Parade of Homes in a duet with  Gainesville Orchestra Violinist Jueun Kim Warf, Sat Oct 15, 2:00pm

Ocala Symphony Violist Kathryn Poore

We’re doing the heavy lifting!



Equipment for land clearing being unloaded by Clark Land Clearing Corp's Brian


lot-1-before-clearing-smaller-20160912_130446 GO!

View of tree clearing from SE corner of area on Lot 1 within which a house can be built. All trees under 10" in diameter are being removed.

Still a work in progress: View  from SE corner of  area in which a house can be built on the 3-acre Lot 1.  All trees under 10″ in diameter are being removed so the buyer can walk in and visualize the house footprint.

Lot clearing at Equestrian Springs by Clark Land Clearing Corp of Crystal River, Florida

Land clearing at Equestrian Springs by Clark Land Clearing Corp of Crystal River, Florida








Baking De-Coded at Equestrian Springs

Bring your baking questions to Equestrian Springs on Thurs, Aug 18, 6-8 pm when “Patti Cakes” baker Patricia Phucian shows us how to make her fail-safe Lemon Almond Pound Cake and Ginger Snap Cookies in the award-winning kitchen in the model home.

You, too, can bake successfully! She’ll bring already baked goodies and show us step by step how to bake them from scratch, using natural ingredients without preservatives. We’ll also learn how to “shake up” home-made butter from heavy cream! Then we’ll all sit down and sample her baking.

RSVP to Hellena at (352) 875-8156 or

Can’t make it? Email Hellena to receive our schedule of cultural gatherings celebrating the North Central Florida relaxed and friendly lifestyle.  

You'll find Patti Cakes every Saturday morning at the Highway 326 Farmer's Market (East of Hwy 441/301). She uses all natural ingredients, no preservatives. Try them, you'll like it!

You’ll find Patti Cakes every Saturday morning at the Highway 326 Farmer’s Market (East of Hwy 441/301). She uses all natural ingredients, no preservatives. Try them, you’ll like it!

Cover photo of A Lifetime of Cooking

Patti’s “A Lifetime of Cooking” cookbook has 300 tried-and-true recipes from appetizers to desserts, plus a foreword of instructions and cooking tips.

July 9 – Sunset Poetry Reading at Equestrian Springs


Celebrate summer at our July 9 firesideA luxurious home to relax and enjoy nature poetry reading at sunset (8:31). Dessert from 7:30. RSVP please.

Share your own poem or bring your favorite poem to read under the stars as we gather around the fire ring at the model home. Bring a chair, your children and friends!

Where: Equestrian Springs, 4701 NW 100th Street, Ocala, FL 34482, USA
Contact – RSVP: Hellena Smejda, 352-875-8156,

This is the first in a series of intimate cultural gatherings at Equestrian Springs, Ocala’s most beautiful gated community for horse and nature lovers. Located in near-northwest Marion, Equestrian Springs has 27 home sites from 2+ to 9+ acres in size; winding roads with streetlights; two-mile perimeter riding/hiking trail; 15 foot water cascade topped with a full-size horse sculpture; 3-acre park with spring-fed pond, and another pond with night lit fountain. Easy to find, Equestrian Springs is located at 4701 NW 100th Street, Ocala 34482. That’s three miles West of Highway 441/301 on Martin-Anthony Road (NW 100th Street).

Poker Run Trail Ride at Equestrian Springs Ocala 34482

The 2nd Annual Poker Run Trail Ride, sponsored by STRIDE Dressage and Equestrian Springs, was held May 1. Three dozen riders and volunteers enjoyed a perfect spring day to ride the 2-mile perimeter trail.

This multi-club event included guests from the Marion County Horseman’s Association, Sun Country Trail Blazers, South Eastern Distance Riders Association and Southern Regional Paso Fino Horse Association. The ride benefits a local horse rescue.

3 riders Equestrian Springs Ocala 34482 trail ride

STRIDE Members Tracy Barrett, Audrey Hartnett (hidden), Anne Meinel and Elinor Weith prepare to depart on the 2-mile Poker Run. Riders collected playing cards at 5 stations around the course. The annual trail ride is STRIDE Dressage Association’s outreach to other equestrian groups, and raises funds for a horse rescue.

STRIDE President Lonni Bechen at the Equestrian Springs Ocala 34482 Trail ride

“Trail Boss” Lonni Bechen, President, STRIDE Dressage Association, the Ocala United States Dressage Association group with 250+ members

Loretta and Tanya in front of model home for sale at Equestrian Springs Ocala 34482 trail ride

STRIDE Members Loretta Lucas and Tanya Eyles

Lucy LeMay at Equestrian Springs Ocala 34482 Trail Ride

SEDRA Member Lucy LeMay

Noelle Vander Brink & AJ at Equestrian Springs Ocala 34482 Trail Ride

Noelle Vander Brink, Publisher of Elite Equestrian Magazine, and her senior citizen partner, AJ

Brunch meeting in kitchen of model home for sale at Equestrian Springs Ocala 34482 Trail Ride

While winning poker hands were calculated, riders and volunteers were treated to a brunch by Equestrian Springs at the model home

Riders in front of cascade at Equestrian Springs Ocala 34482 Trail Ride

STRIDE Members Heidi Rogers, Elinor Weith and Audrey Hartnett ride past the water cascade with full-size horse sculpture

Riders heading to starting point at Equestrian Springs Ocala 34482 Trail Ride

Starting point for Poker Run Trail Ride

riders mounted by trailer at Equestrian Springs Ocala 34482 Trail Ride

Marion County Horsemen Members are ready to head for the trail

Paso Fino at Equestrian Springs Ocala 34482 trail ride

SE Paso Fino Association’s Lisa Guess hits the trail

2 riders pass the pond at Equestrian Springs Ocala 34482 Trail Ride

Every horsewoman’s dream! STRIDE Members Carol Hibbard and Sandy Wagner pass the spring-fed pond in the private park

Karen Kim smiling at Equestrian Springs Ocala 34482 Trail Ride

STRIDE Member Karen Kim is happy to ride out

Vickie Rollack watering horse at Equestrian Springs Ocala 34482 Trail Ride

STRIDE Member Vickie Rollack waters her horse

horse trailers under trees on lot 27 of Equestrian Springs Ocala 34482

Shaded Lot 27 was ideal for resting horses after the ride while riders were enjoying brunch in the model home