The Herd Is Here
Lauri Zink, the co-chairperson for Horse Fever 2020, kisses one of the 15 Horse Fever Horses as they are unloaded from a semi-tractor trailer at the Transformco warehouse in Ocala, Fla. on Friday, Dec. 11, 2020. [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette] 2020.
Horse Fever 20/20 horses arrive in Ocala
The Horse Fever 20/20 herd of horse statues thundered into Ocala on Dec. 10.
The statues arrived by semitruck at the site of the “stable,” which is the Transformco facility in southwest Ocala. From there, they will be paired up with the artists who will turn them into exquisite works of art.
The first Horse Fever public art project was launched in 2000, followed by Horse Fever in Motion in 2005 and Horse Fever II in 2011. The initial Horse Fever was the seed for formation of the Marion Cultural Alliance. Since its inception, the alliance has given more than $350,000 in grants to local artists and organizations.
“This is the anniversary collection,” noted Laurie Zink, who has been involved in every campaign and is committee co-chair with Jo Salyers for this endeavor. “We have 15 horses to mark this milestone and I’m so excited for the representation we will give the community.”
The original Horse Fever kicked off just days after 9/11; the second one was just before the economic crash; this one comes during a pandemic. Organizers hope that, as with the other endeavors, the initiative will lift people’s spirits as it buoys the community and participating artists and sponsors.
“Everybody is so excited; the artists are excited,” Zink said. “This will be a nice lift for the area.”
There are three returning artists who created horses from herds one and two.
“The artists will pick up their horse Dec. 17 and then they have until Feb. 1 to create a masterpiece. After that, Creech Horse Transportation will pick the horses up and they will be going to a shop for clear coating,” Zink explained. “And, fingers crossed, we’ll have the grand unveiling on Feb. 8.”
Horse Fever is in the top three in the nation for such public art programs. The painted statues have long been a favorite for visitors and are one more reason—along with the dynamic local equine industry— that the Ocala area is noted as the Horse Capital of the World.
“We were very fortunate to do this year as a community outreach,” offered Paul McCormick, general manager of Transformco. “It’s awesome.”
The horse Clockwork Fury, owned by Brent and Crystal Fernung of Journeyman Bloodstock, is the official 20/20 anniversary ambassador. He will be on display at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company for the January sale and will be sold at auction at the spring sale on March 17, complete with a trip around the sales ring and a hip number on his hip. Proceeds from the sale will benefit the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation’s Second Chances Farm at the Lowell Correctional Institution and the Florida Thoroughbred Charities Youth Scholarship Programs.
There will be several opportunities for the public to see the Horse Fever 20/20 herd. To learn more, go to mcaocala.org/hf-2020