June 5, 2011
Every winner has a great story. But they seem extra special when they involve families and the love of the horses they raise together.
In the yearling mares class of the 2011 Jerry Wells Memorial Scholarship Halter Futurity, Lea Ann Koch of Oswego, Illinois, led Best To Be Me, or “Fanny,” an American Quarter Horse filly she bred and raised with her late father, Dr. Howard Koch.
A 2010 daughter of Kid Coolsified, Fanny almost didn’t happen because Howard couldn’t bring himself to breed her dam, Best To Be Silent.
Howard purchased Best To Be Silent from breeder Billy Rex Lawrence before she was a month old – her maternal granddam was the good mare, Ima Best, dam of Statutory. Lea Ann led her to the 2002 AQHA reserve world championship in 3-year-old mares.
“He would never breed (Best To Be Silent) because dad just wanted to … just look at her and enjoy her, (he didn’t want to make) her carry a colt,” Lea Ann recalls. Best To Be Silent had a 2008 filly by The Package, and Lea Ann “begged him” to let her breed the mare to Kid Coolsified.”
Howard passed away in 2009 and never saw the result of the breeding. Fanny arrived in March, 2010, and Lea Ann led her to a bronze trophy win in amateur weanling mares at the 2010 AQHA World Championship Show.
It was natural for Lea Ann – with AQHA Professional Horseman Chris Arentsen – to aim the filly for the Jerry Wells Futurity, held June 4 at the 2011 Oklahoma Quarter Horse Association Redbud Spectacular in Oklahoma City. Howard and Jerry Wells were good friends.
World Conformation Horse Association and AQHA judge Randy Jacobs of Dover, Ohio, placed Fanny at the top of the class, to win the non-pro and the open.
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“She’ll go to (the All American Quarter Horse) Congress and the World (next), unless she sells,” Lea Ann says, tearing up. “Bless my dad. When he was alive it was a hobby and he kept everything. We had (1996 world champion aged gelding) SR Magic Man who had something like 1,700 halter points. We had numerous times when people would come up and give us a blank, signed check and say fill it out. He’d say, oh, no, we’ll never sell him. And we never sold anything!”
Best To Be Silent, Lea Ann says, will never leave her farm.
The futurity featured a more than $40,000 purse with open, non-pro and limited non-pro levels in yearling stallions, mares and geldings, and youth and youth limited yearling mares and geldings classes. The winners were:
- Western Whistler and Don MacKenzie – limited non-pro stallions
- Secrets Of A Legend and Judy Jordan – non-pro stallions
- Ecredible and Jeffrey Pait – open stallions
- FG Conditti and Shelby Tibbets – limited non-pro geldings
- Believe U Me and Sara Smith – non-pro and open geldings
- Exquisit and Rhonda Hall – limited non-pro mares
- Best To Be Me and Lea Ann Koch – non-pro and open mares
- Designee and James Conley – limited youth geldings
- FSR Remarkable and Cooper Dobbs – youth geldings
- Passion On Q and Jamie Mangum – limited youth mares
- Hot Lookin Mama and Andy Causey – youth mares
Scroll down for the Journal slide show from the Futurity fun. (Click on the image for the captions).
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Editor – general, rail & pattern, halter, health, breeding
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