Jim Anderson Wins Road to the Horse

Canadian Jim Anderson and Speedy Cream captured the 2014 World Championship of Colt Starting title in a surprising turn of events.

The American Quarter Horse Association

Road to the Horse champion Jim Anderson celebrates with event producer Tootie Bland.

Event producer Tootie Bland called it a Cinderella story, and what an apt description. Canadian Jim Anderson had to fight for the right to even compete at the 2014 Road to the Horse competition, then he showed that he was more than worthy to be there. Anderson won the Wild Card competition earlier in the week, which was sort of a talent search – an effort to find “future superstars of the horse industry.” And then he stepped immediately into the Road to the Horse competition.

From the beginning, Anderson focused on simple, solid horsemanship methods. He didn’t talk on the microphone a lot as he worked, but his actions spoke volumes. He stuck to his game plan, which was to address any issues that reared their head, such as his horse’s pushiness, and simply build each day on the foundation that had been laid.

At the end of his finals round, Anderson had several minutes left that he could have used to do a freestyle routine. But instead of pushing his colt, who had already given him his all, Anderson took the time to help the audience better understand what he’d been doing in the round pen. The deceptively simple things he talked about were what had turned his Wild Card horse, Six Flo Buck (aka “Maverick”), from a fresh-off-the-ranch unstarted colt into a finished reining horse who also excelled at Extreme Cowboy Challenges, tricks and bridleless riding.

Within three days, those same basics had taken Anderson’s 2014 Road to the Horse partner, Speedy Cream, a 3-year-old off the Four Sixes Ranch, from a wild child to a green mount with some real promise. Anderson and his wife, Andrea, purchased the gelding on the first day of Road to the Horse, so he’ll be immigrating to Strathmore, Alberta, to continue his training.

Road to the Horse is a colt-starting competition that features three round-pen sessions and a final round that includes rail work, an obstacle course and an optional freestyle portion. At Road to the Horse, spectators witnessed each clinician’s horsemanship abilities as they saddled, bridled and rode the 3-year-olds through a series of obstacles, including a grand finale trail course that determined the 2014 World Champion Colt Starter.

The American Quarter Horse colts were selected from the legendary Four Sixes Ranch, an AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeder from Guthrie, Texas, where the horses are carefully bred for cow sense, speed and agility. The Four Sixes is one of the original Zoetis-AQHA Best Remuda Award winners. The ranch has built time-tested pedigrees for more than 140 years and provides Road to the Horse with some of the finest-bred American Quarter Horses.

Look for a story in an upcoming issue of The American Quarter Horse Journal with details on Anderson’s training exercises, which are valuable both for newly started colts and for older horses. America’s Horse will also feature the competition.

For more information on the Road to the Horse International 2014, visit www.roadtothehorse.com.

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