Ocala Horse Properties (OHP) was established in 2007 by twin brothers Chris and Rob Desino. As the principles of OHP, they, along with Matt Varney who joined in 2011, operate the company with one goal in mind: To completely satisfy each client one at time. Today, they represent the largest portfolio of horse farms in the world. But Rob, Chris and Matt are not just selling real estate, they take great pride in making their clients’ dreams a reality.
In addition, they also own Wellington Equestrian Realty and Hudson Phillips Properties. Between the three companies, Varney asserts “We are not just realtors; we are equestrians. “There is nothing that my business partners or I haven’t done on our own properties. We build, we renovate and we’ve done construction. For our clients, we start with an extremely proactive approach.”
Like others at the top of their field, the three work around the clock because their life and work passions are inseparable; they revolve around horses and equestrian farms. They are also personally invested in protecting Marion County’s status as the Horse Capital of the World.
As a client you will work directly with Rob, Chris and Matt. When you hire the OHP team, you don’t get just one agent, you get a team that operates as one and who are dedicated to putting you first.
“We know every detail about how the horse and real estate industries work,” says Chris. “And we use our passion to educate and advise our clients on how to make the best investment in their property.”
Horse farm owners are transferring from south Florida to Ocala in droves. The publicity around the recently opened World Equestrian Center is attracting buyers in an already heated market.
According to the City of Ocala, Marion County is one of only four major thoroughbred centers in the world, with 600 thoroughbred horse farms that have produced 45 national champions, six Kentucky Derby winners, 20 Breeders’ Cup champions and six Horses of the Year.
Varney explains that OHP—through their sister agency Wellington Horse Properties—is uniquely positioned to take on the flood of prospective buyers because the Realtors have established relationships for more than a decade. He added that he appreciates and understands all aspects of equestrian life and expressed enthusiasm about Ocala’s recent growth.
“Ocala really is a melting pot of every single type of horse discipline you can imagine,” he offers. “You don’t have to be hunter jumper or Ventura or dressage or polo or Western. I’ve sold farms to people that own 30 or 40 miniature horses and they show miniature horses, or they are just horse lovers in general.”
Varney added that he enjoys accompanying his wife, Courtney—an FEI Dressage rider, USDF gold medalist, and equine veterinarian—to as many competitions as his busy schedule will allow. “We are strong supporters of dressage in Florida,” he states. “Ocala Horse Properties has been honored as a first founding sponsor of the Global Dressage Festival.”
In Ocala and elsewhere, Varney has assisted buyers on the Forbes Fortune 100. His transactions have been featured in The Wall Street Journal and more recently, 60 Minutes Sports.
He shares that, in Marion County, Ocala Horse Properties has ranked as the most successful farm brokerage year after year over the past decade and that the OHP team has led the Ocala farm sales market since forming the agency in 2007, consistently ranking No. 1 in farm sales each year.
“With the World Equestrian Center being in Ocala, we’ve already built up a massive clientele coming to us for advice and expertise, and we’ve made a lot of sales as a result of this prestigious addition to our landscape,” Varney reveals. “There’s no horse community in the world like Ocala—the only city in the U.S. that provides equine activity all year long.”
A Better Future
In a spirit of giving back to this community, OHP has taken an active role in advocating for Marion County. By helping found endeavors such as Horse Farms Forever (HFF), they have helped the horse industry create more than 21,000 jobs throughout the county with an overall economic impact of $2.3 billion dollars. Beyond the financial gains, protecting the land has fostered more than 80,000 horses in the region and is helping preserve the culture and unique attributes that make Ocala great.
“Horse Farms Forever would not have been able to make such an impact so quickly without the expertise, leadership and tireless efforts of Ocala Horse Properties,” says Bernie Little, president of Horse Farms Forever.
The OHP team plans to continue their work as active advocates to raise awareness and ensure that the character and culture of Ocala/Marion County is protected for future generations.
“It’s about protecting and honoring our land–our shared livelihood,” says Rob, who is vice president of HFF.”
In the same spirit of advocacy, Varney was recently awarded the Carry Back Award by the Thoroughbred Farm Managers’ organization, which honors those who make a considerable impact on the Florida thoroughbred industry through their service.
“Along with my partners, I’ve enjoyed watching Ocala grow over the last decade,” he shares. “I love how the area has grown culturally with new restaurants and art. I also love working with groups like Horse Farms Forever and strive to conserve the beautiful green spaces that make Marion County a special place to live.”
With that commitment to the community, along with an incredible work ethic, the investment they make in their clients and their expertise in the industry, OHP is dedicated to putting you first and making your dreams a reality, whether you are buying or selling.