by Christine HamiltonThe American Quarter Horse Journal
Since her first AQHYA World Championship Show appearance in 2006, Abigail Pait of Sparta, New Jersey, has had her best luck with mares.
Looking For Mr Right was 2008 reserve world champion yearling mare and 2009 reserve world champion 2-year-old mare; Taryn Rose was 2009 world champion yearling mare and 2010 reserve world champion 2-year-old mare; and Virtues was 2010 world champion yearling mare and 2011 world champion 2-year-old mare.
Facing the August 5 finals in yearling geldings at the 2012 Ford Youth World, Abigail was nervous about showing her yearling gelding Totally Unexpected.
“I got very comfortable with mares and I knew this is what I’ve got to do with them (to get them shown),” she said. “This morning, I was nervous about going in there (thinking), ‘Is he going to be like them?’ I wanted to test my showing skills and it worked out.”
She walked out with the gold trophy and the world championship.
“This gelding, he really did come totally unexpected to us,” Abigail said in her Journal Winning Run interview. “My father (AQHA Professional Horseman Jeffrey Pait) got him from Mr. Don Griffey (Pataskala, Ohio,) … They are great people to work with.
“It’s really exciting (to win.) I’ve never had the best luck with geldings, and this year I was like, third time’s the charm it’s going to be great, and it turned out to be great.”
Totally Unexpected did test her showing skills, Abigail said: “He’s a good horse, but you have to work for it with him. He’s not going to give it to you easy. But he’ll loosen up, if you tell him, ‘OK, we’re going to do this,’ he’s with you.”
Abigail is the immediate AQHYA past president, but she has one year left of youth eligibility. This fall, she is headed to the University of South Carolina to ride on the Gamecocks’ National Collegiate Equestrian Association team. It feels “like going home” she said, since her father is from the Carolinas, and she has grown up visiting the region.
“I move in the 18th; I’m very excited,” she said. “I come from a big football high school; so we love football where I come from, so I’m very excited about that aspect of it. I’m excited about getting started with school (studying pharmacy) and getting in there and seeing how I can do.
“I’m especially excited for the equestrian team. The girls are great.”
Her 2012 Ford Youth World isn’t over; Abigail still has the August 6 showmanship finals with Touch Of Sudden Luck.
“I just want to thank my mom (Bronwyn) and my dad, and (AQHA Professional Horseman and judge) Chris Thompson, who I call ‘T.’ T has been phenomenal with helping me and all. The Griffey family is so great. I’ve got a lot of people to thank but those are some of them for this (world championship).”
Abigail Pait of Sparta, New Jersey, and Totally Unexpected win the 2012 youth world championship in yearling geldings. (Journal photo)