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Dowers Wins Road to the Horse

160320 rtth 518Standing next to producer Tootie Bland, Nick Dowers raises the championship belt buckle he earned for winning the 2016 Road to the Horse. • Photo by Ross Hecox

Nick Dowers may have been a rookie going against two former Road to the Horse (RTTH) champions, but the Nevada cowboy performed like a seasoned competitor, winning the World Championship of Colt Starting handily. The annual competition was held in Lexington, Kentucky, March 18–20.

Dowers completed the final of three rounds with six minutes to spare, performing all the necessary maneuvers and negotiating 10 of eleven obstacles (his horse refused to walk across a white tarp). Combined with scores from the first two rounds, Dowers claimed the title with 1,217 points and earned $60,000 for the win.

“I was going against two former champions, and I’ve never even done a colt starting competition,” Dowers says. “So it was just an honor to go out there and do my thing.”

Richard Winters of Reno, Nevada, who won the event in 2009, finished with 1,095 points. Clinton Anderson of Stephenville, Texas, who claimed the title in 2003 and 2005, scored 883.

160318 rtth 231Richard Winters hung on for second place at RTTH. • Photo by Ross Hecox

RTTH competitors have three days to start a 3-year-old gelding under saddle, working in a roundpen for two 105-minute sessions, and then performing in an open, obstacle-filled arena in the final round. Five judges award points for each day, giving credit for training methods, application, approach, progress and overall horsemanship.

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