Name: Busy Shires Byerly
City/State: Micanopy, Florida
Occupation: Director of Conservation Strategies, Horse Farms Forever
How long have you been part of the horse world?
My whole life! My twin brother and I were raised on a horse farm near Alachua, Florida, by my mom, Cyndy Shires. In the 1970s, my mom organized the very first horse trials in Florida and we held horse trials and clinics at the farm for 20 years. I have so many happy memories growing up on the farm and it’s my favorite place in the whole world.
Horses have taught me so many things about life. Most of all, I’ve learned about the power of intention. If you ask a horse to move forward and you don’t really mean it, they will just ignore you. A horse can read your mind!
What part do you play in the horse world?
As the director of conservation strategies for Horse Farms Forever, I’m working with community leaders and landowners to establish a rural land management plan in Marion County’s comprehensive plan to help protect the nearly 1,200 horse farms in the county. In addition to protecting the land for farms, this will help protect the horse industry, which contributes over $2.6 billion to the county’s economy and employs more than 20,000 people.
There is nothing like Marion County in the whole state of Florida. Without horse farms, there are no horses, and Ocala would look like any other urban city. Horse Farms Forever is dedicated to preserving the horse farms to ensure that what makes our community unique is protected.
What’s your favorite thing about what you do?
I have 16 years of land preservation work experience and my favorite part of the job is working with families to protect their land for future generations. As I was growing up, I watched the scenic countryside began to be broken into smaller tracts of land and developed. This inspired me to pursue a career in land conservation.
What’s your biggest achievement?
One of my favorite projects was working with Kerry Heubeck, the son of Elmer and Harriet Heubeck, to protect 800 acres of Quail Roost II farm in Citra with the nonprofit land trust Conservation Florida.
What are your goals for the future?
My dream is to start a classical riding school at our family farm.
What is the best thing about your life?
Being a mom to my beautiful 6-year-old daughter. She inspires me every day and we share a love of horses.
Best kept secret about what you do?
I publish audiobooks of classical horse books at audiohorsebooks.com.
For more information, visit www.horsefarmsforever.com/