Julian Portch Photography
From the age of 8 years-old, Douglas’s mother encouraged him to go riding at his local yard, it was apparent very quickly that he was a natural and his love for riding grew quickly. Douglas took part in local competitions where showjumping became his forte and he excelled at the sport.
At 16 years-old Douglas knew that horses and showjumping were his future and he moved to work full time with Showjumping Trainer/Rider Ron Brady. Ron became his mentor and trained Douglas, encouraging him to ride as many different horses as possible to improve his skills. Ron spotted Douglas’s talent straight away and gave Douglas the opportunities through competition to achieve his first major goal of qualifying for the Royal Highland Show. Douglas has competed at the Royal Highland most years since the age of 16, and has been placed in a number of classes and he even won the spectacular Young Masters class in 2006.
Douglas’s drive and determination then resulted in qualification for Horse of the Year show at the age of 17. Since then Douglas has qualified every year for the highly prestigious show and although his main ambition at the time was to qualify, after a couple of years his ambitions progressed to win.
As Douglas jumped quickly up the competition ladder, Ron gave him the ride on his more talented horses to compete through the 'Young Rider's competitions between the ages of 19-21years. Over the years he continued to gain successes in his showjumping career establishing new partnerships with new owners and their talented horses.
Douglas has ridden some amazing horses to date but his most successful partnerships would include the fabulous Volcano, owned by Julie McLelland, who was the first horse Douglas rode to represent Great Britain at the 4* Senior Nations Cup and also to win the infamous Puissance competition at Horse of the Year Show in 2013 jumping an enormous 7ft 3inches.
More recently Douglas has been competing with the talented Quidam B Z, a bay gelding of 10 years co-owned by Douglas and his sponsor AWJ Jenkinson where this year alone they have competed in Spain aiming for the Grand Prix and Young Horse classes, followed by the County circuit in England where they have achieved placings in the International Stairway classes. They finished 5th in the Hickstead Derby Trial this year jumping a course at 1.60m. At the CSI 5* Longines Royal International Horse Show they also achieved 5th in the world ranking class also jumping 1.60m. Together they won the prestigious 2015 Ripon Select Foods Cock O’the North title at the Great Yorkshire Show winning a staggering £8000 first prize.
Djoel, a 7 year-old chestnut gelding owned by Nicholas Morgan is another of Douglas’s top rides. This year has seen them finish 1st in the Grade C at the Hickstead Derby Meeting, 1st in the Foxhunter Second round at the Scottish Summer Extravaganza and finish 2nd overall in the Horse & Hound Foxhunter Final at Horse of the Year Show.
Looking to the future, Douglas’s ambitions are to continue climbing up the world rankings and aim to be part of the Senior Nations Cup Team representing Great Britain in 2016 with Quidam B Z.
Douglas with his wealth of knowledge and experience not only wishes to continue progressing in his own competition career but is now training others to follow in his footsteps. 21 year-old Jordan Thomson is Douglas’s stable jockey, being trained by him and being given those all important opportunities to compete, finishing second in the National Under 21 Years Final at Scope this year to name just one. Jordan is also regularlycompeting 1.40m – 1.50m tracks travelling the length and breadth of the country with Douglas to further his own showjumping career.
As we can all imagine Douglas’s mother is extremely proud of what he has achieved and loves to follow her son's successes attending as many shows as she can to watch him.
Ron Brady is also very proud saying “Douglas is the most focused and ambitious person he knows. His work ethic is tremendous and second to none. Still to this day Douglas works exceptionally hard to ensure his horses welfare comes first never taking a day off, he is 100% focused. Douglas still gets stuck into the hard physical work and is an extremely talented rider with superb determination.”
Anne Logan, Chairman of Scottish Branch has known Douglas for many years. Anne says “I have known Douglas since he was a boy and he has always been a very capable and sympathetic rider, and when he smiles he brightens up every show! He is an asset and a credit to Scottish Showjumping”.