One of the four contestants in this year’s Road to the Horse was selected from a pool of wild card trainers. Each wild card selected a horse from the 2013 Road to the Horse remuda from the 6666 Ranch. They had a year to work with their young horse, then returned to this year’s even to compete for the final spot in the 2014 Road to the Horse championship. On Friday, they completed their final round of wild card competition, and it was Canadian Jim Anderson who came out on top on the judges’ cards and in the people’s choice voting.
Richard Winters won the Road to the Horse title in 2009. He now serves as co-host of the event, providing expert commentary for the spectators. He made a big entrance on Friday, performing a bridleless reining pattern.
Wild card contestant Sean Patrick guided his horse, Joker, through a different kind of joker, demonstrating the calmness and trust he had developed in the gelding over the past year.
Mary Kitzmiller, the only woman in this year’s event, turned in an impressive final performance with her horse, Pal, en route to a second-place finish in the wild card competition.
Jim Anderson’s bridleless ride with Maverick impressed the judges and the spectators, earning him the wild card spot in this year’s Road to the Horse.
Among the tasks each wild card contestant was asked to complete was the outhouse. Each rider groundtied his or her horse, then went into the outhouse for ten seconds, testing the horses’ obedience.
The 2014 6666 Ranch remuda was herded into the Alltech Arena in dramatic fashion.
The 3-year-old geldings have had virtually no handling prior to the start of the Road to the Horse competition. They find a lot to look at in the busy arena.
Jim Anderson picked the first grulla to be born at the 6666 Ranch. After successfully haltering the horse for the first time, Anderson lets him rest for a moment.
Antoine Cloux took a methodical approach to his horse’s early training, gradually gaining his trust in the pen.
By Sunday, each horse will be expected to complete an obstacle course under saddle. Jonathan Field included ground poles and other objects in his early training to help prepare his colt for what’s ahead.
Dan Steers was the first trainer to sit on his colt. The horse wasn’t sure what to think at first, but quickly accepted having a rider on his back.
For more information on Road to the Horse, visit roadtothehorse.com.
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