no one knows Ocala better than Joan Pletcher.
A love for horses and land have been a hallmark of Joan Pletcher’s life since childhood. She was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, where her father was a builder and developer. He would buy several hundred acres at a time, where Joan could indulge in her obsession with raising, training, and showing horses while learning about the business. Joan launched her real estate career there and still maintains her real-estate licenses in Florida, Arkansas, and Texas.
While living in Arkansas, Joan met the love of her life, J.J. Pletcher, a Thoroughbred race-horse trainer. They married in 1981 and continued their life-long passions as a team. In 1985, the Thoroughbred business brought them to Ocala, where they designed and built CB farms, an $8-million Thoroughbred training center.
They are the proud parents of race-horse trainer, Todd Pletcher, who has won numerous awards and over 4,412 races. He is the all-time-leading money winner in the United States with over $348 million.
Today, J.J. and Joan own a racing stable of about 15 horses, all trained by Todd. They also own Payton Training Center, named after their first grandson, an 80-acre private-training facility in Ocala where they break and train about 100 horses.
Why is Ocala and Marion County such a special place for equestrians, and how is it unique?
“The soil composition of Marion County is high in limestone,” Joan explains, “which contributes to strong bones and healthy horses. The annual rainfall provides lush pastures where grass roots grow deep.”
Ocala is often called the Horse Capital of the World, and Joan lists some reasons, “It’s home to numerous and ever-increasing venues geared towards all equine disciplines, as well as an extensive network of riding, carriage, biking, and hiking trails. Among the more popular venues are the Ocala Jockey Club, Exmoor Eventing, Grand Oaks Resort, Florida Horse Park, HITS Post Time Farm, and the new World Equestrian Center. Plans are underway for an international equine-quarantine facility as well.” Plus, Ocala is centrally located in Florida and offers easy access to highways, airports, and major attractions.
Buyers attribute Joan’s success in real estate to the way she places their needs, interests, dreams, and desires at the center of everything she does. Her vast knowledge of local topography and soil composition—which varies throughout Marion County—is also a great asset, as is her background and knowledge of design and construction, which gives her the ability to help her clients visualize how a specific property can be modified to meet their wishes.
Sellers appreciate her network of buyers, both national and international. She advertises heavily in equine magazines, luxury publications, and mailings, using demographics targeted towards the ideal prospective buyer. Joan also maintains a full-time professional photographer on staff, who works exclusively with her and is certified for the use of drones in advertising. joanpletcher.com