By TONY STINNETT
Courier Sports Editor
It only made sense that Rachel Dorris would develop a fondness for horses since she grew up in a family with a background in the industry.
Through the years Dorris’ fondness developed into a passion and she has proven to be one of the best in the business as evidenced by winning the International Grand Championship for Weaning Fillies in Murfreesboro in July.
In fact, Dorris won two blue ribbons at the International while showing “She Mo Rowdy.” She not only won the Open Class, which includes professionals, but she also won the Youth Class for Weanling Youth Champion.
“I was totally surprised,” Dorris said of her victory in the Open Class. “I went in thinking maybe I could finish third and that would be great to finish in the top three. When they called my name I totally busted into tears. It’s a huge honor. The other people showing dropped their reigns and clapped for me. The respect they showed for me was just great. It meant so much to me. I’m still ecstatic over it.”
Dorris, the daughter of Vivian and John Dorris, didn’t have too much time to bask in her International glory. The senior at Cannon County High School began competition at The Celebration in Shelbyville last weekend and will show, “She Mo Rowdy,” in different classes there this week.
Dorris began showing colts four years ago and admits she is surprised at her sudden success. Her dad is one of Rachel’s biggest fans but even he is somewhat taken back by his daughters rapid success.
“I am surprised at how well she has done,” John Dorris said. “This is something you may have done for 15 years before you really can get in there and compete, and I mean really compete. Rachel has had good colts and she is good at it.”
Rachel has ribbons to prove how good she is.
In addition to winning two blue ribbons at The International, she also has won the Weanling Champion at the PWHAT Jamboree and at the Liberty Lions Club, showing “She Mo Rowdy.”
“I like competing and bonding with the horse,” Rachel said. “They have such great personalities. When you win it’s great. If you lose you just go home and try harder the next time. I enjoy getting dressed up and showing the colts. I am really surprised at the success I’ve had. I mainly started showing to get extra youth points. When I started doing well and winning I liked it that much more.”
“She Mo Rowdy” is owned by the legendary Bill Harlin of the famed Harlinsdale Farm in College Grove. In recent years Rachel Dorris has had the opportunity to show colts owned by some of the biggest names in the industry, including Harlin.
Her passion was derived from spending time on the farm and at shows with family.
“It has been a family thing for a long time,” Rachel said. “Both sides of the family are into horses, both grandparents. Everyone always had walking horses and raised colts. I always enjoyed it and being around it. Dad showed and it was always so fun to go and do it with dad and spend all the time with him learning.”
Evidently, John is a good teacher or Rachel is a fast learner, or maybe both.
“I had shown horses for 30-to-35 years and won one blue ribbon at The International,” John said, adding “and she won two blue ribbons in one night. Showing horses has been a family affair. You are talking fourth generation with Rachel. She’s good, she’s a natural. She will do anything that needs to be done.”
Dad says there is no job too dirty or too small for Rachel.
“From the time she was 6 she watched me and she would go to the barn and walk behind me and wanted to do everything I did,” John said. “There were things I didn’t want to do that she would. Nothing was too dirty or tough for her. Her mother and I are very proud of her. We are proud of all of our children.”
Showing horses is not all fun and games. There is much more involved than dressing up and going into the show ring.
“With colts it is hours and days and many miles of walking,” Rachel said. “In the summer we are up every morning at 5:30 and working the horses until 8 (a.m.) You wash them every day and make sure their hair is growing and getting ready for August and The Celebration.”
“She Mo Ready” is ready for The Celebration.
So is Rachel Dorris.