By: Brittany Bevis
Whether you know her as Zips Bossy Chip, “Annie B,” or simply The Queen, the mare that had been a constant companion of AQHA exhibitor, Ellexxah Maxwell, throughout her youth career became somewhat of a little legend.
Ellexxah and Annie were a mainstay on the AQHA all-around circuit for the better part of a decade racking up multiple World Championships, Congress Championships, and several AQHA records. The first record came in 2017, when they became the AQHA All-Time Leading Youth team after breaking the 30-year-old record of 4,270 AQHA youth points that had previously been held by the great Van Decka.
In 2019, with over 6,300 career points earned in youth and open competition, Ellexxah and Annie eclipsed the venerable record of All-Time point earner that had previously been held by the late Harley D Zip, who had retired with 5,906.5 points.
Throughout the course of her life, from 2008-2022, Annie accumulated 6,500 AQHA points, six Markel All Around Youth titles, seven Congress Championships, two NSBA World Championships, three AQHYA Reserve World Championships, two AQHYA Bronze Championships, and more than 20 AQHA High Point Year End titles.
Ellexxah remembers the first time she laid eyes on Annie. “I remember in 2011 when Becky Schooler asked me to take a then lanky 3-year-old mare for a spin in June at the University of Findlay,” she says. “It was ironic thinking that she had been born and grown up there. I was looking for a horse at the time to move up from my other horse, The Cookie Baker, who just recently passed away. It was a click from the beginning. I don’t believe in fate; but, in that moment, it was like magic.”
Over the years, this pair accumulated numerous accolades, but there are a few that stand out from the rest. The first was when they won their first World Show trophy in their favorite class, Showmanship. “We’d had a bobble the year before that kept us out of the trophies. It was my first World Show trophy, and Annie and I had worked so hard together to be able to compete with people I had always looked up to.”
The next was their final ride in the youth division. “We were in the running for the year-end title for Equitation, and it came down to the last day and the last judge. It was the best Equitation pattern of her life and, in true Annie fashion, she always was there when you needed her most.”
The third was their Congress win in Showmanship in 2014. “It was the Showmanship pattern of our lives. It was the only pattern I’ve ever cried after because I knew she and I had left everything in the arena.”
While the memories in the show pen are certainly memorable, what Ellexxah will miss the most are the quiet moments with her beloved friend. “While the lessons Annie taught me about always working hard for what you believe in will always be something I will follow, it was what she taught me about always being yourself that mattered to me,” she says. “It sounds crazy to think she taught me things, but Annie was more human than a lot of people. She taught me to live life with fire and determination. She was a wild card, and you never knew what her next move was going to be. It was what made her Annie. It taught me that you always have to adapt to a situation and make the best of it you can. She taught me so many other things that I will use for the rest of my life.”
Ellexxah describes Annie as an underdog with the heart of a lion. She was dependable, loyal, and able to almost anticipate a rider’s needs. “Sometimes, it was like all I had to do was think and she knew,” Ellexxah says. “Ask one of the very few people who she allowed to ride her, and it was like being able to completely link with an animal with no words needed. She was just special. She was truthfully one in a million.”
Sadly, Annie passed away this week, and her death leaves more questions than answers. “It was unexpected, and we still aren’t sure what happened. I wish I had an answer to why she was taken so soon. I had counted on my kids meeting the legend, the horse that changed my life forever. I’ll miss her for the rest of my life, wishing for just one more touch of her nose and one more nicker for a peppermint. The country song, ‘Five More Minutes,’ comes to mind. What I wouldn’t give for five more of those minutes.”
“Annie and I were two parts that made a whole. Any horse person knows that once in a lifetime you find that one horse that completely changes the way you see the world. She was that for me. She was my show partner; but, more than that, she was family. We’re all feeling this loss in our family extremely hard and, to be honest, I’m not sure this is a hole that will ever heal. I strive to live my life with as much fire and determination as Annie did.”
Ellexxah is proud of the many accomplishments she achieved with Annie during the mare’s storied career. But if there is only one thing people remember her for, Ellexxah hopes it is this.
“I hope they remember that it doesn’t matter if it’s a $100,000 horse or a $100 horse. Anyone can do anything they dream of. I hope they remember that a mare with a huge heart, a desire to win, and a determination to prove people wrong can change history.”
Click here to view articles written about this team over the years.
In Loving Memory
Zips Bossy Chip