NCTC Equine crowned champions at inaugural Road to the Horse

Elizabeth F. Abu | Feb 13, 2020

The North Central Texas College Stock Horse Team was one of only three colleges choses to compete in the inaugural Road to the Horse (RTTH) Collegiate Colt Starting Challenge, held at the Fort Worth Stock Show last week. Competing for NCTC were Josh Briggs (Captain), Kadin Hernandez, and Addie Coutts.

The Road to the Horse competition is a long-standing event where all the top horsemen and women have competed for the title of the World’s Best Colt Starter. This year, they decided to try a collegiate challenge.  In order to compete at the 2020 collegiate event, teams had to compete at the Stock Horse of Texas (SHOT) World Championships.  The top two teams in Division 1 and the top team of Division 2 were then qualified to compete at the Road to the Horse Collegiate Colt Starting Challenge.  NCTC was the second highest scoring college at the 2019 SHOT World Championships, behind Texas Tech.

The three teams chosen to compete at the 2020 RTTH Collegiate Colt Starting Challenge were Texas Tech University, NCTC and West Texas A&M University. 

“It was an honor for NCTC to be chosen to participate in this event,” said Dr. Lisa Bellows, Division Chair for Science and Agriculture. “Not only were we one of only three schools, but to be the only two-year institution to be represented was especially significant for this team.”

The teams took turns selecting unstarted two-year-old fillies donated by the Historic 6666 Ranch. 

The first three rounds were an hour and a half long, with required amount of rest times for the fillies, where the team caught, haltered, saddled, and prepared the fillies for the 4th Round, which was 50 minutes long.  In the fourth and final round, the teams had to catch, saddle and prepare the filly in the round pen, then do rail work, which consisted of walk, trot, canter each way, followed by stopping, dismount/mount and picking up all four feet. 

Upon conclusion of the rail work, then the filly needed to go through an obstacle course which consisted of weaving bushes, jumping over poles, swinging a rope, going through a gate and over a bridge.  Each round was judged by three judges who evaluated the teams on forward motion, degree of difficulty, yields, smooth presentation, confidence and trust, the horse’s overall demeanor, fear management, teamwork, progress and reading the horse correctly.

NCTC was second in the first round to WTAMU and then won all three of the subsequent rounds to be crowned the champions of the inaugural Collegiate Colt Starting Challenge. 

“This was an outstanding accomplishment and I applaud the hard work of our students and of Coach Luse,” added Bellows. 

Josh Briggs was also named MVP of the event, which was chosen by the judges and host.

“I was really proud of my team,” said NCTC Equine Coach Cathy Luse. “They did a lot of work to prepare for this competition by working with colts and getting help from professionals like Ben Baldus and Dan James, who were previous Road to the Horse contestants.  The members carried themselves in a very professional manner and demonstrated incredible skills progressing their filly.  I could not ask for more!”



Members of the NCTC Stock Horse Team competed at the inaugural Road to the Horse Collegiate Colt Starting Challenge. Left to Right: Addie Couts, Kadin Hernandez, Captain Josh Briggs, and Coach Cathy Luse.



Coach Cathy Luse and team celebrate upon being named champions at the Road to the Horse Collegiate Colt Starting Challenge.



NCTC Stock Horse Team Captain Josh Briggs was named the MVP of the Road to the Horse Collegiate Colt Starting Challenge last week at the Fort Worth Stock Show.