The past few years have been rough in terms of losses felt by the equine industry due to the deaths of several prominent stallions. Everyone at The Equine Chronicle is deeply saddened that we must relay the news of the passing of another great AQHA stallion, Invitation Only.
Leeman Farms shared the following message on their social media account today.
“We have been so honored to have been a part of this great stallion’s life and to provide him with a great home during his last few years of retirement, along with his daily mints. Invy was a special individual and truly one of the greatest horses that has ever lived. We’re sincerely going to miss the old man, and he will forever be in our hearts.”
The 29-year-old AQHA stallion by Barpassers Image and out of Bears Raisin Kane is best known as AQHA’s All Time Leading Sire of Point Earners. He was the sire of 210 World Championships, Congress Championships, and Reserve Championships. In addition, he was a 2008 NSBA Hall of Fame Inductee, AQHA Leading Sire for eight years in a row, AQHA’s #1 All Time Leading Sire of ROM Earners, AQHA’s #1 All Time Leading Sire of Point Earners, the All Time Leading Sire of Money Earners, the All Time Leading Sire of Western Pleasure Earners, and the All Time Leading Sire of NSBA Money Earnings.
Lovingly owned for the past few years by Carol and Fritz Leeman, “Invy” has been enjoying his retirement in Ohio at Leeman Farms. We had the opportunity to speak with Breeding Manager, Lauren Erk, to find out more about Invy’s last years on the ranch.
“Invitation Only and Lazy Loper were purchased by Fritz in May of 2015, and we brought them home in June of 2016,” Lauren says. “Carol really wanted to make sure that Invy was retired to a good home. She wanted him to live out his last years in a place where everyone would love him and take care of him.”
“He’s been hanging out on the ranch in his own little turnout pen where he got to watch the mares and babies walk by in the mornings. It has a large, beautiful tree in the corner. He enjoyed life. He would still nicker at them to prove he was a stud.”
Lauren started working at Leeman Farms in 2015 and says “honored” and “humbled” are two words that describe the experience of being able to work alongside such a special animal.
“To say I’ve been honored and humbled to work with Invy is an understatement,” she says. “Just being around him and knowing the impact he’s had on this industry has been amazing. He had this aura about him. You’d just walk up to him and know he was special. Even if you weren’t a horse person, you could see there was definitely something special about him. People would always ask about him right away.”
Following Invy’s passing today, he has been buried nearby Marshall Coker and Snazzy Story, two of Leeman Farms’ founding sires. From his spot of honor, Invy will be able to watch over his current offspring and those that are yet to come.
“We have plans for some young studs that will hopefully be coming up,” Lauren says. “We also have enough frozen semen available, and we will be doing ICSI on a few mares this year. We have some embryos right now.”
Our sincerest condolences go out to Leeman Farms and everyone whose lives have been touched by the late, great Invitation Only. Stay tuned for a fitting memorial on the life of Invitation Only in an upcoming edition of The Equine Chronicle.