North Central Texas College wins the inaugural RTTH Collegiate Colt Starting Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas.

North Central Texas College win Collegiate Colt Starting Challenge

Road to the Horse hosted its first Collegiate Colt Starting Challenge, with three college teams competing for the title in Fort Worth, Texas, during the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo. Held February 5–6, the event featured three teams of three college students each starting an untrained 2-year-old filly.

The three teams — North Central Texas College, Texas Tech University and West Texas A&M University — qualified by placing at the top of their divisions at the Stock Horse of Texas World Show.

The collegiate team's winning filly.

During four sessions in two days, the teams worked together to start their selected filly under saddle. In the final round, they were required to ride outside of their roundpen, perform rail work and ride through an obstacle course. Judges Craig Cameron, Barbra Schulte and Richard Winters awarded points based on how well each team communicated with its filly, progressed throughout training and applied sound horsemanship skills. In the final round, NCTC edged West Texas A&M by the slimmest of margins — 1.5 points.

“For this filly, we tried to just fit her,” says NCTC coach Cathy Luse of Sixes Stake, a bay sired by Wagon Stake. “She’s really the winner here. Each round we just tried to build off the last round. And we were really confident coming out of the third round and going into the final. But she dictated what we did.”

The NCTC team consisted of Addie Coutts, Kadin Hernandez and Josh Briggs, who also won the MVP Award.

All three fillies were bred and raised by the Four Sixes Ranch of Guthrie, Texas. Before the event began, each team took turns selecting from a herd of six 2-year-old fillies. The youngsters represented stallions such as Bet Hesa Cat, Jesses Topaz, One Famous Eagle, PG Heavily Armed and Wagon Stake.

The university team celebrated with hugs.

Western Horseman Publisher Ernie King added that each team demonstrated a high level of horsemanship during the competition.

“The talent and collaboration witnessed from each ranch horse team was truly impressive,” King says. “Every team finished the obstacle course with time to spare. This was a direct reflection of the level of horsemanship displayed during the competition.”

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