by Christine HamiltonThe American Quarter Horse Journal
World Champions Rebekah Kazakevicius and Cool Assets
With only a half-point difference between the top three scores, Rebekah Kazakevicius of Ocala, Florida, and Cool Assets topped the 2010 AQHA World Championship Show amateur western riding finals with a 228. Kristina Papendick of Rapid City, South Dakota, and Harley D Zip (2009 amateur western riding world champions) won the reserve with a 227.5, with Courtney Branson and Dynamic Allnite Long’s 227 taking third.
“I was a little nervous going down the chute because I had a wardrobe malfunction (right before my go)” Rebekah said. “I went in, and his attitude was great. He went over the pole excellent, right underneath my leg where I wanted him. After that, it was really fun, because in my head, I’m counting strides, and he’s got such a great feel, you’re able to do that.
“Getting my changes in the center was the thing that I worked on the most preparing for the finals tonight, and that’s what I hit.”
Rebekah told the Journal she didn’t really know how good a ride she’d had as she rode out of the Jim Norick Arena.
“Honestly, it’s still a very new class to me, because I show in the hunt seat. It’s just fun because it’s something new, and it helps him as an all-around horse in the hunt seat to perform better. It helps his attitude. It’s just fun for him to do.”
Cool Assets was the 2005 world champion in junior hunter under saddle and the 2006 youth reserve world champion in hunter under saddle, and the 2007 youth world champion in hunter under saddle.
“He’s always had a lead change,” Rebekah said. “It was just kind of something that everyone knew for a while that he was good at, but never really finished him at. We kind of took it to the next level (in him) and finished it.”
Announcers Clark Scroggins and Glen Gabel had a bit of fun extending the anticipation as the two women waited for them to announce the final placings and scores – discussing the weather in Ocala, Florida, and Rapid City, South Dakota. How did it feel to be in with that class of horses and riders?
“Unbelievable, actually,” Rebekah said, “(especially) with Kristina and Harley (possibly) the greatest western riding horse of all time. Kristina and I have been in the pen in the same situation before with the hunter under saddle. It was really great to be in there with her again.”