160320 rtth 518

Dowers Wins Road to the Horse

160318 rtth 104True Burson of the Four Sixes Ranch brings in the remuda. • Photo by Ross Hecox

Each competitor selects a horse from a group of 3-year-olds supplied by the Four Sixes Ranch, of Guthrie, Texas. Dowers chose Seven Attraction, a sorrel gelding by Playin Attraction. In the final, 45-minute round, the pair completed required maneuvers such as walking, trotting and loping both directions, leading, stopping and turning 180 degrees. They also had to negotiate a trail course, which included various colorful poles to weave through and to jump, a log to drag, a gate to open, and a surprise appearance by someone dressed as Darth Vader. The wacky obstacles are a trademark of Tootie Bland, RTTH producer and founder.

160320 rtth 502Dowers and Seven Attraction meet “Darth Vader” during the final round. • Photo by Ross Hecox

Dowers is the first person to win both a world championship colt starting event and a major futurity. In 2013, he won the National Reined Cow Horse Association’s Snaffle Bit Futurity on Time For The Diamond.

“This is different, but it’s every bit as challenging [as the Futurity],” Dowers says. “It’s a tough competition – there are a lot of variables. I’m really proud to take my horsemanship and win the Futurity, and now to win this, and to be able to tie the two together. That’s huge. Like I’ve said, nothing changes at the higher level. It’s the same horsemanship, just a little different application.”

Dowers added that he will work with Seven Attraction for at least a year. Fred Lenertz of St. Paul, Minnesota, purchased the gelding and asked Dowers to continue training.

“I’m excited about that,” Dowers says. “He’s a really intelligent horse and he tries really hard.”

160320 rtth 441Clinton Anderson guides his horse through a trail obstacle in the final round. • Photo by Ross Hecox

160320 rtth 463Richard Winters rides his gelding in the final round of competition. • Photo by Ross Hecox

160320 rtth 426Tootie Bland announced that the 2017 RTTH will feature an all-female cast of competitors, including Sarah (Winters) Dawson, middle, Barbara Cox (Chris Cox’s wife) and another woman yet to be announced. • Photo by Ross Hecox

160318 rtth 079Craig Cameron (left) and Matt West added commentary to the action. • Photo by Ross Hecox

160320 rtth 533Nick Dowers is surrounded by mustachioed friends and family, including (to his left) wife, Jackie, and daughter Jovi. • Photo by Ross Hecox