BY CATIE STASZAK
With three lucrative hunter derbies, highlighted by the $20,000 WEC Hunter Derby 3’6″ – 3’9″ under the lights in the Stadium arena, there are no shortage of award ceremonies on what has been dubbed “Derby Friday” at the new World Equestrian Center — Ocala.
But during the venue’s third week of its Winter Spectacular series, a new honor was added. Bill Rube donated the Style of Riding Award, given out to a rider who best displays the American Style of riding in the ring and sportsmanship outside of the competition arena. The recipient is designed to serve as a role model for preserving the integrity and tradition of equestrian sport.
“I am thrilled to be presenting this award each week between rounds of the derby,” Rube shared on social media. “Bring your style and tradition to WEC, along with an attitude of ‘paying it forward!'”
Before the handy round of the $15,000 WEC Derby 3′ Open, in which she would ride to third place honors aboard MTM Farms’ MTM Dashing, Dorothy “Dorrie” Douglas was awarded the prestigious honor. The longtime rider for MTM Farm has quickly stamped herself as one of the venue’s top performers, recording an impressive list of victories across both the hunter and jumper divisions at the Winter Spectacular. Friday evening, Douglas was recognized for the stylish manner with which she conducts herself, both in and out of the saddle. In addition to an embroidered leather duffel bag, Douglas received a white corsage, which she wore in her handy round.
“It’s really flattering and humbling when people recognize you for things like that,” Douglas said. “It kind of puts a little pressure on you, too! When I was wearing that flower on my shad-belly, I didn’t want to mess up! From a riding standpoint, I want to make sure I live up to this award!”
Douglas recently entered her 10th year working with Mike Mccormick and Tracy Fenney at MTM Farm, whose winter base is located just five minutes from the World Equestrian Center — Ocala facility. The tightly-knit team runs an impressive sales business, currently with a group of horses that Douglas says might just be their best yet.
“It’s pretty cool to have the show facility in our backyard,” Douglas said. “We’re able to jump our pre-green horses in derbies, and our [younger] jumpers can do the Futures classes, and they’re getting really great miles. For us, that’s what it’s all about. Every day in the jumper ring, there’s a new jump, and the hunter courses are beautiful. Everything here feels special.”
For Douglas, her style of riding is a constant focus, something instilled in her by her team at MTM Farm.
“A lot of that goes back to way Mike and Tracey train,” she said. “One of Mike’s biggest standpoints when it comes to training people is to have to have good technique. When you talk about the American style of riding, it goes back to his standpoint. You have to have good technique whether you’re doing the hunters or jumpers. Most of the time, your technique is going to be the same. I would say that a lot of my style of riding goes back to Mike and Tracy.”