Monday, April 6, 2015

Chris Cox - Four Time Winner of Road to the Horse

The Road To The Horse competition, stood up in 2003 and hosted in Fort Worth, uses a two day format to pit well know clinicians competing against each other to see just how far they could take a un-broke horse in that short amount of time - Day One - starting them in a round pen and, Day Two - demonstrating their ability to ride in a arena obstacle course.

This year, the competitors were provided with two ranch raised geldings each, courtesy of the famed 6666 ranch. If you missed the event, or failed to see Day One on RFD-TV, you can still go to the RFD-TV On-line Channel and watch the videos which requires you to become a Road To The Horse member at a nominal annual charge. And you can watch Day Two this Wednesday, 8 April on RFD TV. Check your listing for the broadcast times but it'll show in the early evening.

Past Winner's are a partial who's who in the professional clinician world having Clinton Anderson, Craig Cameron, Stacy Westfall, Richard Winters, Guy McLean, Jim Anderson, and Trevor Carter. Chris Cox is the only four time winner, having won each time he has entered this competition.

Other well know clinicians who have competed have been Curt Pate, Martin Black, Mike Kevil, Tommy Garland, Ken McNabb, Van Hargis, Pat Parelli, John Lyons, Glenn Stewart and Jonathan Field.

In this year’s Road to the Horse, Chris Cox won the $100,000 prize and then showed his graciousness by giving $20,000 of his winnings each to the other two competitors, Jim Anderson and Trevor Carter.   Chris Cox is certainly one of America's most successful and highly sought clinicians,  He had more to lose than win by competing, but did so anyway.

I have read some commentary on-line that makes an argument that the Road To The Horse commercialization and competitive nature has no place in starting colts. And I would have to agree that the Legacy of Legends event where there is no competition, only demonstrations on colt starting, is something more suitable to my interests.

I would think like to think that the all three of the 2015 Road To The Horse competitors, and likely all of the competitors in the past, had to rationalize the artificial time constraints of a few hours time spread out over two days for getting a unhandled horse started and going well enough to compete an arena obstacles course.  After all, given the ability to control the environment, starting a colt and continuing that horse's training is going to take as long as it going to take. So say what you will about the Road To The Horse format. I like to look at the positives where more people were exposed to a better way of communicating with horses, and all of the competitors, even under the duress of those time constraints, demonstrated not only the highest levels of horsemanship but the patience necessary to put it into practice.

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