The World Equestrian Center Ocala’s Winter Spectacular Hunter Jumper Special Event continued into its second day on Thursday with classes under way in six arenas throughout the day, highlighted by the show’s first signature class, the Welcome Grand Prix, in the afternoon.
MTM Farms and Dorrie Douglas Win First WEC Grand Prix
The World Equestrian Center didn’t have to look far for its first Grand Prix champion of the 2021 Winter Spectacular. Dorrie Douglas and MTM Chelsea 98, of MTM Farm in Ocala, took the win in the first signature class, the $20,000 Added Welcome Grand Prix.
“You can ride a golf cart to our farm from here,” laughed Mike McCormick, who with his wife Tracy Finney own MTM Farm. “Dorrie has worked for us for ten years and she works so hard. This is an 11 year old mare that we had previously sold as a children’s jumper, but they thought she was a bit too much and traded her for another horse. So we took her and started jumping her. She won eight Grand Prix events last year.”
The 11 year old gray is a Casini-bred German mare and was one of three MTM horses in the class. “She really is a unicorn,” added Tracy Finney. MTM Chelsea 98 was one of four horses to have a clean first round at 83.00. They continued into an immediate jump off, where Dorrie and the mare went a lightning quick 42.04 to take first. Diamonts Legacy and Jordan Petersen, riding for Eric Petersen, took the second place award with their clean round of 81.523, and 42.537 in the jump off. Santiago Lambre and Easy Girl set the pace as the first to go in the class, with their clean round of 82.133 and 42.613 in the jump off holding for third place.
Mike and Tracy were excited to win the first signature event at the Winter Spectacular. “Ever since they started talking about it, we’ve been telling everybody that this IS going to be the place to be,” Mike said.
“I came over and talked to Larry, Roby and his team when they were just starting to dig the dirt because we wanted to be nearby. We were trying to buy property here before they even had a price on the land. We’re so excited for the Roberts family, because they have done everything right here, from the layout and flow of the buildings to the show management. I’ve been to shows all over the world, and there is no place nicer than the World Equestrian Center. We love it here.”
Mike was also complimentary of the National Snaffle Bit Association’s involvement with the show. “We have many friends in lots of other associations, and having NSBA be able to step in with a defined set of rules allows us a whole additional avenue,” he said. “I am glad that the groups have been able to work together. It’s very exciting.”
Sharm Wordley Finishes 1-2 In 1.4 Meter
Sharm Wordley had only himself to beat in the $1,500 Added 1.4 Meter Jumping. He took Casper to the win and Cobalou to the reserve award. Sharm and Casper set a 79.144 time as the last round of the class, dropping just one rail during their go. Sharm had the only other one-fault round in the class with Cobalou and a time of 85.682 to earn second.
“Casper is my all-time favorite partner,” Sharm said. “We’ve won a lot together. He’s 15 years old now and is just a great horse. He’s owned by my mother, Della Wordley, and Ambramson Equestrian.”
Like MTM Farm. Sharm was quick to purchase property near the WEC facility. “We used to live in Wellington, but we were so thrilled that they were doing this that we said we needed to move here and set up a permanent base here. It’s beyond our wildest expectations. The facilities and the show management are just beyond compare.
“We have shown quite a bit at WEC’s Ohio shows, and so we were very confident that they would bring the same high-end show experience to Ocala, and they have. This facility being added to Florida will make Florida the winter mecca of showing – in the entire world. For this three-month period, there will be nowhere else to be.”
Anna Schierholz and ‘Lulu’ Win NSBA Baby Green 2’3” Hunter Under Saddle
Anna Schierholz and Lullaby showed the poise of a much more seasoned show partnership when they won the Baby Green 2’3” Hunter Under Saddle on Thursday. “This is just Lulu’s second horse show,” Anna said.
“We hauled her to some shows over the summer and gave her some time off to develop, and she was shown for the first time in December. We bought her just as COVID-19 was starting to take off, and we got her to our barn in May. She’s six years old, and she’s just getting started.”
Anna and her barn, which is based in Saint Louis, Missouri, wanted to come to Ocala to support the Roberts family and WEC Ocala. "We’ve shown in Ohio quite a bit. Since a lot of my clients are back in school, we can’t stay for the entire 12 weeks, but we wanted to come and support Roby (Roberts). We love his philosophy and what he and his family have done here in Ocala. We’re extremely blessed to spend a few weeks here in the sunshine.”
Anna’s familiarity with NSBA also attracted her to the Winter Spectacular. “I was a Division 1 collegiate coach for a while, so I was introduced to NSBA through EIA and IHSA. I was familiar with the association and it just gave me an additional level of comfort to be able to come and show here.”
The Winter Spectacular’s first weekend of the 12-week show series continues through Sunday, January 10. To learn more about the show schedule and show times, please visit worldequestriancenter.com.