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World Champion
Kelly Wilson
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World Champion

Vicki has returned home from the USA a World Champion! In March, just hours after competing in the New Zealand Horse of the Year, Vicki travelled to Lexington, KY to compete in Road to the Horse, the World Championships of Colt Starting and returned victorious. 

This is a unique event where four competitors are invited to take an untouched colt and start it in front of an 8,000 strong audience, being judged on their horsemanship over the three days. Vicki was the first ever rider from the English discipline invited to compete and the audience were amazed by both her horsemanship and her holistic approach to horse welfare & training. 

Despite dislocating her shoulder on the first day in a freak accident (through no fault of her horse), she managed to complete the event, jumping her American Quarter Horse aptly named Kentucky, bareback around small jumps during her final freestyle. So typical for a New Zealand born Show Jumper, but a first of many for the audience who are used to seeing western riders compete.

Vicki Wilson was historic for many reasons:
- First rider from the English discipline to WIN Road to the Horse
- First rider from the English discipline to compete
- First New Zealander
- First rider to jump bareback in the Freestyle
- First rider to wear a helmet
- First rider to use an English saddle
- First rider to do muscular and chiropractic work on their colt

We are so proud of her achievement, and are hoping this is the first World Championships of many, next time in the Show Jumping arena aboard one of the Team WS horses! In the meantime it's reassuring to know our Team WS horses are having the very best start to life, starting their careers by someone who is so well respected internationally for her quality horsemanship.


Road to the Horse 2017 was created in dedication of the cowgirl. “We may have started out to celebrate the cowgirl but what we created was the most inspirational and most exciting Road to the Horse fans have ever seen” stated Road to the Horse Owner/Producer Tootie Bland.

In the closest scoring competition in the history of the event, less than approximately 8 points per judge separated each competitor. There was no mistaking, Vicki Wilson was different but there wasn’t any doubting her horsemanship. Wilson was not only the first competitor from New Zealand, she was the first competitor from an English discipline to not only compete but to walk away with the coveted World Championship of Colt Starting title.

“This isn’t about being a cowgirl anymore, it’s all about horsemanship” stated the first lady of Road to the Horse, Stacy Westfall, as the competition moved into the final round on Day 3.

Wilson’s Road to the Horse journey was far from scripted. After dislocating her left shoulder during Round 1, many fans were unsure if she could even continue but she didn’t just continue, she shined. Wilson may have had to alter her strategy with her 6666 Ranch bred colt Boon River Lad, who she fondly named ‘Kentucky’, but she continued with the grace and grit of a champion. This cowgirl may have had a broken wing, but she certainly showed ‘Kentucky’ how to fly.

“My shoulder is sore but when you walk out there, the atmosphere, the people, everything about it, you don’t even think about it. He didn’t quit and I didn’t quit, that’s what being a cowgirl is all about. I believe our job as riders and trainers around the world is to inspire the next generation, to get kids to believe that anything is possible in this life and if we want something bad enough, you have to work hard and be prepared to sacrifice and chase those dreams” Wilson stated as she admired her Gist Silversmith Championship buckle. “Never stop chasing dreams.

Rachelle Valentine selected the 6666 Ranch horse gelding Playin A Seven, this playful grey gelding soon became a fan favorite. Sarah Dawson selected Smart Hunt and California cutting horse trainer Kate Neubert claimed the prestigious Jack Brainard Horsemanship Award riding Sixes Captain.

It’s almost a tradition that the winner of Road to the Horse chooses to purchase their colt to continue their training, Wilson didn’t break tradition.

“Yes, ‘Kentucky’ is coming back to New Zealand. It’s a bit of a trip for him, but he deserves it. He will become a new demo and clinic pony, he loves his jumping, so that is something we will develop. He is going to be a pretty cool kid.”

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