"Chris Cox Rocks," fans for Road to the Horse at the Tennessee Miller Coliseum in Murfreesboro, Tenn., would occasionally chant.
And indeed he did, winning the Road to the Horse competition for the second straight year in front of a sold-out crowd; beating out fellow horsemen Tommy Garland, Ken McNabb and Mike Kevil.
The Australian-turned-Texan Cox was no doubt the fans' favorite and from the beginning of the competition was aggressive and purposeful in gentling his three-year-old, previously untouched Quarter Horse.
The premise of the competition is to give each of four trainers an untrained colt to attempt to make as much progress with as possible in two separate round pen sessions totaling three hours and 35 minutes with a mandatory 25 minutes of break time.
The first day is a 1 hour and 20 minute session. The second day is 2 hours and 15 minutes.
After a half hour break on the second day, trainers must ride their colts through an obstacle course consisting of a pole bending pattern, a raised rail pattern, log drag, rope swing, jumps and poles. The cowboys then have an opportunity to do a freestyle performance with their horses.
After the first day, due to the horses picked rather than the ability of the trainers, Cox and Garland were ahead of the competition. After the obstacle course and freestyle performance, the winner was even more in doubt. Cox's horse got away from him as he bridled him, but then went on to show the handle and movement he was able to develop in his mount. Garland, meanwhile, had a much more controlled run, yet less flashy run. That, combined with not being able to pick up one of his colt's feet-a requirement to pick up all four-probably gave Cox the edge.
For complete coverage of the event, look for the June/July edition of Perfect Horse Magazine.