November 6-21, 2015, Oklahoma City

Amateur Yearling Mares

It's best to be Lea Ann.

Best To Be Me was foaled to be a show mare. On November 6, she fulfilled her potential by winning the world championship in amateur yearling mares for owner and breeder Lea Ann Koch of Oswego, Illinois.

“She’s home-raised,” Lea Ann says. “I was reserve here with her mother when she was a 3-year-old. And this filly was third last year in the baby class, and now she’s passed her expectations today.”

Best To Be Me, aka “Fanny,” is a 2010 chestnut mare by Kid Coolsified-Best To Be Silent by Kid Silent. She was bred by Lea Ann and her father, the late Dr. Howard Koch, who originally purchased her dam.

“Best to be Silent is the larger version of Fanny,” Lea Ann says. “They’re the same personality. They look alike, the whole bit. She’ll stay at the farm forever; in fact, she’s carrying a full sister or brother to Fanny.”

Fanny recently won the World Conformation Horse Association Stretch Bradley Non-Pro Stakes, a special win for Lea Ann, but the filly’s future is in the air right now, she said during her exclusive Journal interview.

Get up-to-date on AQHA showing news at www.aqha.com/showing.

“When my dad was alive, this was a hobby, and then my dad passed away, and now this is a business. Unfortunately, Fanny is for sale,” Lea Ann says, tearily. “I have 26 babies coming next year. It’s a business. I’ve enjoyed her; she’s been wonderful for me; she’s gone way past her expectations. I’m hoping someone else can enjoy her, too, as much as I have.”

Lea Ann, single, says it took a lot of friends to make her success happen, starting with her father.

“My dad. Bob Lee, who helps at the farm – and now I’m crying – and Chris Arentsen for fitting her,” Lea Ann lists. “Luke Castle showed her at the Congress – there are so many people who are in Fanny’s Fan Club, I call it, and have supported me and wished me luck. It’s like the Academy Awards – there are too many people to thank. But I appreciate everybody who helped us get to this point.”

Best To Be Me and Lea Ann Koch

Lea Ann Koch and Best To Be Me accept their gold trophy. (Journal photo)