UPDATE from Brian Baker: Heza Izy Invitation showed in two finals today. First in the Two year old Hunter Under Saddle with Dawn and ended up tied for 3rd. Three hours later made the top 15 in the Coughlin Two year old Western Pleasure. Quite an accomplishment for his first show, no less the Congress.
By Tracy Bidwell, OQHA Photos courtesy Jeff Kirkbride Photography
Brian and Dawn Baker of Sunbury, Ohio are no strangers to the All American Quarter Horse Congress. Together, they own and operate Baker Futurity Horses, where they train and show some of the best futurity horses and prospects in the industry.
This year, the Bakers have a very special horse in the barn: Heza Ivy Invitation. Originally, Brian Baker purchased the 2010 bay stallion by Invitation Only as an early two-year-old western pleasure prospect.
“When he started to get big, I told Brian I thought he could extend for the hunt seat,” Dawn said. “He kept telling me he didn’t think so, so one day I just got on him and when Brian came out to watch, he changed his mind!”
Dawn rode “Lee” a few times at home, but they focused mainly on Western Pleasure. Then the Bakers brought him to the Congress, and Brian showed in the Coughlin NSBA Two-Year-Old Open Western Pleasure Futurity on Wednesday, October 17th.
“It was the first time Lee had ever been shown,” Dawn said. “We were so excited when he made it back to the finals.”
The next day, Dawn showed in the NSBA Two-Year-Old Open Hunter Under Saddle Stakes and was also called back to the finals.
“Even though he’s not very tall, he can really extend. I call him Seabiscuit for the hunt seat!” Dawn told us.
The finals for both classes are scheduled to run today, with the Dawn’s Hunter Under Saddle class running first, followed by Brian’s Western Pleasure class. There is only one class, Novice Amateur Hunter Under Saddle, between Lee’s classes.
"It's going to be a challenge, especially with the hunt seat going first,” Dawn said. Luckily, the Bakers have a plan. Everyday Dawn rides Lee hunt seat first and then they give the stallion a two hour break before Brian rides. Today, the duo plans to rush back to their stalls right after the Hunter Under Saddle class to pull braids out and put bands in, as well as give Lee some time to rejuvenate.
“He really is a once in a lifetime horse,” Dawn said. “Nowadays everything is so specialized, that it’s really amazing to have such a young horse be so versatile. They just don’t come around like this very often.”
Stay tuned to find out how Brian, Dawn and Lee do in their classes this afternoon!