March 15, 2013
h4>Two former champs, two young women and some really nice colts from the Four Sixes Ranch are the cast of characters for the 2013 Road to the Horse.
By Holly Clanahan
Around the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, there's been a lot of talk about some Texas horses. This year, for its 10th anniversary, Road to the Horse, billed as the world championship of colt starting, has moved to Lexington from its longtime home in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. And so the colts from the famed Four Sixes Ranch in Guthrie, Texas, are now in bluegrass country. The ranch sent a remuda of 12 3-year-old colts — sired by Playboys Buck Fever, Royal Fletch, Stoli, Sixes Pick, Waresthecat and Sixes Country — and AQHA again signed on to sponsor the remuda.
The competitors — Guy McLean, Dan James, Obbie Schlom and Sarah Winters — drew numbers to see who would pick first. With first dibs, Dan chose a buckskin named Playboys Ginnin Buck, sired by Playboys Buck Fever, who earned a National Reined Cow Horse Association Supreme award and
earned more than $62,000. His first 22 performers have earned nearly $300,000 in reining, reined cow horse, roping and barrel racing. Playboys Ginnin Buck is out of a Tanquery Gin mare, Ginnin Rose, who has AQHA points in working cow horse and has earned money in the Ranch Horse Association of America.
Next up was Guy, who wanted to check out a Waresthecat horse. He selected the solid bay Streakin Cat, whose dam is Natural Streaker, by the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame racehorse Streakin Six. Waresthecat is a young Four Sixes stallion sired by High Brow Cat, a leading sire of cutting horses.
Guy and Dan won last year's competition, working together as Team Australia. This year, they're competing as individuals against the first women since Stacy Westfall to grace the Road to the Horse arena.
Sarah selected Salt Creek Lad, also sired by Playboys Buck Fever and out of a Tanquery Gin mare. His dam, Ginnin Woman, once placed third in senior reining at the Palomino Horse Breeders of America World Show.
Obbie's chosen horse is Surprise Fever — another Playboys Buck Fever colt. His dam is Naturally A Surprise, by AQHA and National Reining Horse Association world champion Surprise Enterprise.
The remining horses in the remuda were chosen by “wild card” contestants, who will take the colts home for a year before returning to compete with them at the 2014 Road to the Horse. The winner of that competition will then step forward as a competitor for the 2014 Road to the Horse.
So, with that cast of characters, how did the first day of competition go? Well, former champs Dan and Guy ended up with very different, but very challenging horses. Dan's buckskin is very sensitive, which requires Dan to slow down a bit and get a good foundation laid. Guy's horse, however, didn't have much “forward” in him, and it's important for these colts to get their feet moving. So Guy used tarps, stock whips (cracked only in the air, not on the horse) and other training aids to generate some energy. Both Obbie and Sarah worked slowly and methodically, using good fundamental training techiniques.
It was charming to hear 19-year-old Obbie give credit to her colt. “He's a good kid,” she said midway through her session. “I like this pony.”
And the judges liked Obbie, giving her a score of 243.5 and putting her on top of the leader board going into Saturday. “That horse is making me look really good,” she said. Sarah was close behind with a score of 240.5, then Dan with a 202 and Guy with a 196.5. Of course, there are two more days of competition, and anything can happen. Stay tuned! We'll have updates on America's Horse Daily, on Facebook and on Twitter so you can follow along!
For more from Day 1, check out our slideshow below. Click on the photos to read the captions.
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