BY ERICA GREATHOUSE
Life is all about different seasons and reinventing ourselves as we go through each new chapter. Although horse showing, for many of us, is a season that we hope goes on eternally, realistically, there comes a time when most of us are forced to take a break. However, we hope that someday we will return to the sport we love so dearly. Melissa (Busch) Cook and JR Cook, both decorated and seasoned exhibitors, knew that it was time to take a break from horse showing shortly after they were married in order to start the next chapter of their lives. During their hiatus, they started their own business and a family. Although horses were on the back burner for many years, the Cooks always hoped that some day that they would come back to the show pen with their daughters. Fortunately, that day has come, and they’re now horse show parents as their oldest daughter, Georgia, takes the reins of their new horse, Wonit On My RV.
Melissa was born in Texas and JR was born in Florida; but, as many horse people know, horse showing often bridges the gap between states. Melissa and JR met at the Just For Pleasure horse show in Perry, Georgia, and the rest is history. Although they both came from different backgrounds, the common denominator was horses. They were married in 2006 and officially became the Cook Family.
JR was introduced to horses by his grandparents, Bob and Joyce Cassata. “My grandpa gave me a horse to ride around on and it stuck. That eventually led me to riding and showing Cutting horses around age eleven,” JR explains. JR has collected many accolades such as a NCHA Senior Youth Reserve World Championship on Leas Pretty Woman, Playboys Dude, and Playful Son; a NCHA Sr. Youth Eastern National Championship on Playful Son; and he became a member of the NCHA Youth Hall of Fame. As well as competing on his Cutting horses, JR would also lead Halter horses for his grandparents, the owners of Double C Acres. JR collected fourteen APHA World and Reserve World Championships, leading some of the top Halter horses in the industry including Its so Obvious and JS Wyatt Earp. “Cutting horses were my passion; but, as I got older, I got more interested in showing Halter horses. Once I met Melissa, I became more involved with Western Pleasure horses,” he says. JR proved that he was a quick study when he earned a Reserve World Championship in Novice Amateur Western Pleasure on one of Melissa’s horses, Zippos Final Answer.Click here to read the complete article