Rock Hill youth rides on big stage

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 30, 2005

Where some would be satisfied in pursuing their hobbies for fun, Nikki Cosner is satisfied with nothing but the best.

The Rock Hill sophomore began riding horses as a young girl, and it was completely of her own will - her parents are not horse riders.

&#8220She wanted a quarter horse, and she shopped and shopped until she found what she wanted,” said Dee Staley, owner of Cosner's horse, The Bud Light. &#8220And she earned her own money to buy it.”

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Cosner trained with her horse in several different events and in several different competitions. Unwilling to stop at local shows, Cosner set her sights even higher, Staley said.

&#8220The Ohio Quarter Horse Association is the main association over the whole state, and she wanted to make their youth team,” Staley said.

&#8220So last year she started working, and by golly she started working and, by golly, she not only made their youth team, she was the number one pole bender in the state of Ohio last year.”

Pole bending is one of several quarter horse competitions, and the one in which Cosner has found the most success. It could be described as a horse slalom, testing the agility of the horse, as well of the rider's mastery of it.

It's not the competitions alone that hold Cosner's interest. Perhaps what fuels her competitive spirit is the unique bond she shares with her horse.

&#8220It's kind of like freedom, just me and my horse out there having a great time,” Cosner said. &#8220We don't care what anyone else is doing, or what they're saying or what's going on Š it's just me and him.

After years of training, Cosner met her goal: she was selected in 2005 to represent Ohio in the American Quarter Horse American Youth World Show in Fort Worth, Texas.

But qualifying wasn't enough for Cosner, she wanted to travel to the event and show everyone what she was made of.

&#8220I was so nervous, but I was excited nervous, I wasn't scared nervous,” Cosner said. &#8220I don't know, when I woke up that day I knew I was going to do good. As soon as I got on my horse I thought ‘This is my day, I'm going to do awesome.'”

Her feeling was on the money. After enduring 17 hours on the road, 110 degree heat and torrential rainfall, Nikki emerged as the 19th best pole bender in the world with The Bud Light, and 22nd best with her other horse Dasher.

Not surprising to anyone who knows Cosner, she's not done yet. With 2006 just months away, she's already begun training for next year's round of competitions.