The Road to the Horse competition can challenge even the most talented colt starters. Those who have competed at the championship level have had one thing in common: a skillful Pen Wrangler. The role of the Pen Wrangler is critical as they assist in preparations, training and time management and offer a knowledgeable reflection of the colt’s progress to the competitor duringthe height of competition.
Just like the championship competitors, the Pen Wrangler talent is impressive. In the first ever “Pen Wrangler Edition” of the Wild Card Challenge, three past Road to the Horse Pen Wranglers will finally have their chance to step into the round pen and showcase their colt starting skills at Road to the Horse 2024 on March 21-24 at the Kentucky Horse Park. The Road to the Horse 2024 Wild Card competitors are Lindsey Patterson, John Baar and C.D. Wilcox.
Swapping roles for 2024, the Road to the Horse Championship Competitor, whom the Pen Wrangler previously assisted, will now be the Pen Wrangler.
• Lindsey Patterson will be aided by Road to the Horse (2022) Championship Competitor Brandi Lyons.
• John Baar will be supported by veteran Road to the Horse Championship Competitor (2011, 2012 and 2022) Pat Parelli.
• C.D. Wilcox will be accompanied by the two-time Road to the Horse (2022 and 2023) World Champion, Mike Major.
“Watching Wild Card stories unfold has been an inspiring highlight of Road to the Horse. We’re excited to switch up the format in 2024 and, for the first time, bring a Pen Wrangler lineup to the Wild Card Challenge,” states Morris Equine Group President Tina Battock. “Giving past Pen Wranglers a chance to showcase their talent aligns with our multigenerational approach to horsemanship, inspiring the next generation while showcasing a diverse lineup for our fans.”
The Wild Card Challenge will precede the World Championship of Colt Starting Competition, starting on Thursday, March 21, and will conclude on Friday, March 22, 2024. This expanded schedule will allow the champion of the Wild Card Challenge to step directly into a championship competitor position, alongside Ken McNabb (USA), Donal Hancock (Australia) and Tik Maynard (Canada).
With over a decade riding and training, Lindsey Patterson has seen and done it all. Patterson’s training career began when she met her mentor and friend, Brandi Lyons. Having completed both of Lyons’ intensive trainer certification programs and subsequently working for Lyons as an assistant trainer, she has traveled across the country engaging in horsemanship clinics, expos and demonstrations. Patterson specializes in colt starting and problem horses but works with all level riders and horses. Patterson operates her successful business, Beyond The Bit, in Freedom, New Hampshire.
Born and raised in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, watching John Wayne movies with his dadfueled John Baar’s fire to become a cowboy. This passion sent Baar on the search for education from masters in the colt starting and equine psychology arena. He spent time with Martin Black and Ray Hunt, learning the art of colt starting, and quickly jumped on the opportunity to study at the International Horse-Man-Ship University with Pat Parelli. Through hard work and dedication, Baar turned this summer school program into a 10-year educational career, which included horse training and development and a deep dive into human learning. Alongside his wife, Kathy, Baar operates Raising The Baar Horsemanship Center in Kentucky.
Born and raised in Richmond, Virginia, C.D. Wilcox competed as an all-around rodeo athlete in tie-down roping, team roping and steer wrestling from junior rodeo throughout his collegecareer. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in business, Wilcox went on to assist coaching the rodeo team at Texas Tech University, while also helping manage a ranch, starting 2-year-olds and training rope horses. Wilcox boasts many American Quarter Horse Association championships and world titles. His biggest influences are that of Philip Berry, a renowned rope horse trainer and colt starter, and Wilcox’s father-in-law, Mike Major. Wilcox married his wife, Alexa Major, in 2019, and together they continue to breed, show, compete and train elite performance horses. He is now the Professor of Equine at New Mexico Junior College in Hobbs, New Mexico.
Road to the Horse 2024 takes place at the Kentucky Horse Park on March 21-24. Tickets arerequired for each day of the event and are available online or by calling 800-514-3849. Follow Road to the Horse on Facebook for the latest information.