By Sadie Fowler

The Celebration is always filled with storylines and standout moments that are Celebrated not only during the show, but for the days, weeks, months and years that follow. One of those moments happened in 2019 and it involved teamwork like no other that was rewarded with success that will forever remain deeply planted in two of the walking horse industry’s most well-loved ladies. 

The memory goes like this: Lisa Baum, one of the industry’s most elite amateur riders, made arguably the most important rides of her life for friend Kathy Zeis, another lady among the industry’s cream of the crop amateurs and supporters, and in doing so she retired a trophy that had an extra special significance to both ladies.

After leasing the horse from Zeis, who was sick and unable to show her beloved champion, Baum rode Texas Joe Black hard and gave it all she had, ultimately capturing the world championship title in the classic division. As she reflected a week after the show, Baum still felt the significance of the win in a deep way. 
“It was extremely emotional,” Baum said. “It was a win for Kathy, my friend, Texas Joe Black, The Callaways and, in a way, for my beloved Network.”

In the Big Oval, when the class was tied and the number called out, tears started falling down Baum’s cheeks immediately. 

“When they said Joe’s back number and when they mentioned the Network challenge trophy … It was truly one of the most important classes at the Celebration and a ride I shall never forget.”  

Short and sweet, Baum said there was no other way to describe the ride of a lifetime, adding it was an honor to hand over the trophy, originally sponsored and earlier retired by the Baum family, to her dear friend. 
Cheering from afar, Zeis could not have been more proud, as this is a class she knows quite well herself.  In fact, she’d won the same class with Texas Joe Black in both 2017 and 2018, so the 2019 victory is how the horse retired the Network trophy. 

There’s no doubt, Zeis adores this horse and just a few months leading up to the Celebration Zeis was quoted as saying this, following the Columbia horse show, Texas Joe Black presented the nation’s flag with John Allan Callaway up: “Joe and I met the winter of his coming three-year-old year and I just fell in love with him … He’s been my heart horse ever since. He also gave me my beloved horse Etta James. There’s never been anything I’ve asked him to do that he hasn’t done."

At 17, Texas Joe Black is known and loved by many for his beauty and impressive show record that goes back 16 years.

He started his show career in 2004 under the direction of Trainer Tommy Loid and since that time he has shown more than 140 times — many of those performances ending with blue ribbons in hand. 

The gray stallion has a résumé that will turn heads and the Celebration win with Baum in 2019 was icing on the cake of a long and stellar career that words can hardly describe. 

In 2006, Joe earned his first Celebration blue as a four-year-old in the amateur stallions division with Zeis. Two years later, in 2008, he was in the Big Oval’s winner’s circle again, this time as the winner of the Amateur 15.2 & Under World Championship, which was repeated again in 2010. 

Several years went by before he’d win at the Celebration again, but he did make that comeback performance in 2015, when he won his third world championship, this time in the 15.2 & under stallions class with Callaway in the irons. 

Then, as stated above, In both 2017 and 2018, Texas Joe Black and Zeis once again teamed up for world championship victories, this time in the Amateur Class Horses division and thanks to Baum, that title was defended in 2019 in a way anyone watching will ever forget.