Road to the Horse Introduces 2016 Judges Panel

A critical ingredient to the making of the 2016 World Champion of Colt Starting, the Road to the Horse Judges Panel combines the best equine experts across various disciplines. Each judge lends their professional experience and personal expertise to carefully evaluate each competitor based on set competition criteria.

“Road to the Horse judges are selected from every facet of the equine industry. While some have experience with ranch, rodeo and performance horses, others have experience with breeding, educating and research. Combined they create the ultimate judging panel to determine who will win the title, prestige and honor of being named the next Road to the Horse World Champion!” states Road to the Horse Owner/Producer Tootie Bland.

The judging of Road to the Horse is based on specific colt starting criteria, while protecting the well-being of the horse. Judging takes into account that every horse is an individual and that there are many methods of horsemanship that are “natural” or respectful of the horse, its nature and how they learn.

Judges watch and score every moment of interaction at Road to the Horse, it is not just the performance in the obstacle course that decides the next World Champion but every step and breath taken from beginning to end.

An event like no other, the judges put their reputations on the line deciding who has done the best job developing a partnership built on trust and respect.

The Road to the Horse judges include Jack Brainard, Dr. Jim Heird, Craig Cochran Haythorn , Cody Lambert, Barbra Schulte and Jeff Williams. Assisting the judges at Road to the Horse 2016 will be Judges Steward, Stormy Mullins.


Jack Brainard: Trainer, Breeder, Judge, Leader, Teacher, Author, Mentor and Friend are all accurate labels of Jack Brainard of Tioga, Texas, long known for his contributions to the equine industry and his lifelong commitment to horses and the people who enjoy them. Jack Brainard has bred and trained horses for over 53 years and judged for a variety of national horse associations for over 40 years. A true veteran judge of colt staring, Jack Brainard has never missed a year at Road to the Horse. He has judged every competitor, at every event.

Dr. Jim Heird:  Dr. Jim Heird is Executive Professor and Coordinator of the Equine Initiative and holder of the Glenn Blodgett Equine Chair at Texas A&M University. Dr. Heird has an international reputation in the field of equine sciences. He has lectured on numerous topics both nationally and internationally. He has been a successful judging team coach, teacher, researcher and extension specialist. Road to the Horse 2016, will be Dr. Heird’s third year to judge the World Championship of Colt Starting.

Craig Cochran Haythorn: Craig Cochran Haythorn is a fourth generation rancher. He has contributed significantly to the Quarter Horse industry, while preserving his heritage and the western way of life. Craig’s many honors include: Outstanding Rancher award, the Western Horseman’s “Horseman of the Year”, Remuda Inaugural Award presented by AQHA in 1992, a three time winner of the Longhorn Best of the Midwest and the Legacy Award presented by the AQHA. Craig’s understanding and excellence in developing the foundation of successful working horses makes him the perfect candidate for the Road to the Horse Judges Panel.

Cody Lambert: Cody Lambert, a Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame inductee and ten time National Finals Rodeo qualifier in bull riding and saddle bronc riding, Cody has a long and storied history in the world of horses. Cody is the Livestock Director for the Professional Bull Riders and served as Vice President of the PBR Board of Directors. An accomplished horse trainer in his own right, Road to the Horse 2016 will represent Cody’s fifth year judging the World Championship of Colt Starting.

Barbra Schulte: Barbra Schulte is a professional Cutting Horse Trainer, Personal Performance Coach, Author, Speaker, Clinician, and Equine Consultant. Barbra has published four books, Cutting, One Run at a Time, The Gift, The Little Book of Cutting Tips, and Healing Thoughts on Loss, Grief and Horses. In 2012, Barbra was inducted into the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame. The perfect role model for women in the equine industry, Road to the Horse is proud to welcome Barbara Schulte to the Judges Panel, where she will be the fourth lady to judge the World Championship of Colt Starting.

Jeff Williams: Jeff Williams has been starting colts for numerous long-time clients that include the Haythorn Ranch, King Ranch, Beggs Ranch, Matador Ranch, Espuela Ranch, and the Muleshoe Ranch for over 20 years. Not only does Jeff Williams have an in-depth and lifelong understanding of the elements that create a perfect foundation for a developing colt, this is a cowboy who lives every day in the saddle. This combination, makes him the perfect candidate for the Road to the Horse 2016 Judges Panel.

View the full profile of each individual judge here

Road to the Horse 2016 is already an epic battle in the making. In an electrifying mix between past World Champions and new blood, this is a World Championship of Colt Starting title that will come down to the wire as veteran Horseman’s Host Richard Winters challenges 2x Road to the Horse World Champion and well known Australian Horseman, Clinton Anderson. Add Road to the Horse newcomer and NRCHA Open Futurity Champion, Nick Dowers to the mix and the race for the World Championship of Colt Starting Gist buckle is wide open.

Road to the Horse 2016 will return to the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY on March 18 – 20, 2016. Road to the Horse 2016 tickets are available online at or by calling 877-772-5425.

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