by Samantha EckertThe American Quarter Horse Journal
AQHA Professional Horseman Luke Castle shows Best To Be Me to win the AQHA world championship title in yearling mares. Journal photo.
A sorrel mare made all of Lee Ann Koch’s dream come true. That yearling mare was her home-bred filly Best To Be Me.
AQHA Professional Horseman Luke Castle of Wayne, Oklahoma, led “Fanny” into the class the morning of November 2011.
“Unbelievable,” Lee Ann describes. “It was my dad’s dream to raise one. So it’s really special. She won the amateur last week. That was special. This was unbelievable. I’m speechless. She’s just been a dream come true. She’s done everything I have ever asked her to do. I don’t know what else she can do.”
Lee Ann came out of the Jim Norick Arena in tears of joy.
“I’m surprised I didn’t have a heart attack in there,” Lee Ann jokes. “Every go around got more intense and more intense. And when it was over, I was like, ‘I need a cardiologist.' ”
Fanny ended up first on three of the five judges' cards.
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Best To Be Me is by Kid Coolsified and out of Best To Be Silent by Kid Silent. In Lee Ann’s amateur winning run, she described Best To Be Silent as the larger version of Fanny. The dam is currently carrying a full sibling to Fanny that Lee Ann is especially excited about.
“She’s extremely quiet,” Lee Ann says about Fanny. “Nothing fazes her. Nothing fazed her as a baby. When she was 3 months old, we went in and clipped her without a halter or anything. She just didn’t care. She’s just easy to show, just easy to be around, and she’s just been a dream.”
Luke and Fanny went up against some extremely tough competition. Their competition included this year’s youth world champion, Cool Smokin Lady, 2010 reserve world champion Cruel Intention and Select world champion Cauzin Trouble.
“Well this one is extremely special because we bred her and raised her. But it’s an honor because its your whole year's accumulation of hard work, time and dedication to achieve this,” Lee Ann says about her win. “Especially in a group of mares that was in there. There’s an exceptional group of mares today. It’s just an honor to be at the front of the line because they’re all champions in my book.”