by Christine HamiltonThe American Quarter Horse Journal
When Kenny Lakins Jr. and AQHA Professional Horseman Adam Wainscott were the last men left in the arena after the junior western pleasure finals, both felt it would be a win no matter what.
“We lined up and (Adam) said, ‘Hey, whatever happens, happens,’” Kenny says. “And I said, ‘I’m the same way. It doesn’t matter to me, I’m glad to be this far!' ”
For one thing, they were on good horses that had shown great – Kenny on Peek Owen’s One Lazy Investment and Adam on the Bilek family’s Huntin Big Dreams. And the barn buzz has been that this year was as good a group of horses in the junior pleasure as there has been.
For another, the men are longtime friends: “He was a youth kid of mine,” Kenny says with a smile. “That makes me feel good. He’s a great hand, and I like him a lot.”
The judges called Adam for the reserve, leaving the lifelong horseman with his very first world championship. They also finished first in the Southern Belle standings.
“I broke (One Lazy Investment) as a 2-year-old,” Kenny says, “and won the (All American Quarter Horse Congress 2-Year-Old Western Pleasure Masters)…and then I won the Tom Powers (Futurity with him) as a 3-year-old. He won the Southern Belle and won at the Congress again as a 3.”
One Lazy Investment was bred by Steve and Tanya Relander of Aledo, Illinois, and Tanya rode him to the 2010 amateur western pleasure world championship. The Relanders sold the gelding to Peek Owen in March of this year.
The horse went to trainer Rusty Green of Pilot Point, Texas, but after this year’s Congress, they knew they’d need a catch rider for him at the AQHA World Championship Show.
“They knew that I knew the horse very well,” Kenny says. “I brought him home from Congress and probably had him about two weeks before we came out here. … It seemed like after I got him home from Congress, after about two or three days he remembered me, from two years before.”
Once they settled in at Oklahoma City, the horse just got better and better, Kenny says.
“My wife (Ashley) just kept telling me, ‘He looks good; he looks good ... When I showed him in the prelims, he was very good. That made my confidence very high, and I felt like he was going to show again in the finals. It was good.”
By Lazy Loper and out of the Relander's great mare January Investment by The Big Investment, he is the last foal out of the National Snaffle Bit Association Hall of Fame mare. Because of his breeding, his connections tried to leave him a stallion, Kenny recalls. “That horse is very smart … almost too smart sometimes,” Kenny says. “He was a stallion when we showed him as a 2-year-old at the Masters. We tried to keep him a stallion, but that wasn’t going to happen … He’s very intelligent and very smart, and I just think he knew he could get by with stuff (with an amateur).”
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Once they cut him, “the road just got better,” Kenny says.
The win means a lot to Kenny, and he thanks Rusty and Peek for letting him show the horse again. He also thanks his wife, Ashley, for being behind him all the way.
“I’m kind of anxious to call my dad, (Kenneth),” he continues with a smile. “I don’t think he’s heard yet.”
He pauses and adds, “My mother (Sandra) passed away several years ago from cancer, but she was behind me a lot. This is for her.
“I’ve been raised around horses all my life; I always wanted to do pleasure horses," Kenny says. "I think it’s very hard … I’ve ridden reiners and such, but I think the pleasure is such a challenge, and that’s why I’ve always wanted to do it.
“I enjoy them and I love them. It’s great.”
Kenny Lakins rode Peek Owen's One Lazy Investment to the 2011 AQHA junior western pleasure world championship. (Journal photo)