Journal on the Road

Farther Down the Road to the Horse, 2012

March 11, 2012

Day 2 brings some wrinkles and changes of plans — but always plenty of good spectating. Check out our photo slideshow so you can follow along.

By Holly Clanahan

Pat Parelli introduces his new colt, Bucks Attraction, to the large ball. On his second round-pen session, Pat had the colt following the ball on his own accord, and he said that was the first step to getting him to follow a cow. Journal photo.

Saturday, the second day of Road to the Horse 2012, was an eventful one.

For starters, as the colts were brought into the round pens Saturday afternoon, the crowd began murmuring. There were supposed to have been two bays and a sorrel. Instead, we saw a bay, a sorrel … and a stocky, light-hued palomino. Emcee Rick Lamb quickly explained: Pat Parelli’s horse, Playboys Valliant — the missing bay — had had some gastrointestinal issues the night before. The veterinarian on site first thought it might have been something more serious, but fortunately, it turned out to be just a tummy ache. Nevertheless, it was enough to take the bay colt out of the competition.

“Road to the Horse has always put the horse first,” Rick said. Producer Tootie Bland said later that the horse was fine, but she likened the situation to keeping your kid home from school if he’d had a stomach ache.  

So, Pat was given the chance to select another colt, and he said the palomino — Bucks Attraction — had initially been his second choice. This colt is by the same sire as Pat’s first pick, Playboys Buck Fever, a son of Freckles Playboy. Bucks Attraction is out of Cowboy Attraction, a daughter of champion racehorse Mr Jess Perry.

Pat worked with the colt Saturday, in a roundpen next to Australian Guy McLean’s and Canadian Jonathan Field’s. But unlike his competitors, who had also worked with their colts on Friday, this was Pat’s first time to put a hand on his colt. He was given a catch-up training session at 5:30 today (Sunday), the only time it could be fit into the schedule. Now, going into the final round later Sunday, all trainers had been with their colts for four hours total.

The other wrinkle on Saturday came when Australian Dan James fell ill. He was supposed to have trained his horse first, before teammate Guy McLean, but Road to the Horse judges allowed them to swap places, giving Dan a little more recovery time. While Guy worked with his colt, Dan received IV fluids and red-light therapy, and there was some question as to whether he’d be able to perform at all on Saturday. But he rallied, turning in a full two-hour training session, and Tootie later joked that he should try to get sponsorships from Gatorade and Campbell’s chicken noodle soup.

Now, the stage is set for the final showdown — the colts and their trainers will soon be asked to negotiate a challenging obstacle course and then given the opportunity for a freestyle performance. Stay tuned; we’ll bring you results and more photos here on America’s Horse Daily!

Click here if you need to read our report from Day 1, with more background on this colt-starting championship. Interested in current scores? Road to the Horse is updating here.

The photo slideshow illustrates more about Day 2. Be sure to click on the photos to read the descriptive captions.

Are you finding this post after the event? See our final results story here!

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