altWhen Shannon and Dr. Wayne Burwash were looking for a cross on their broodmare Classify Me Hot, they considered many stallions but became convinced that the Invitation Only’s were the best movers and the prettiest in the pleasure pen. At the AQHA World Show in 2002 they watched a son of Invitation Only, Willy Be Invited, place in the junior western pleasure. He was a big, beautiful horse, they liked how he moved, and he passed Wayne’s critical eye on conformation -- not an easy task. He was a Congress champion with a non-pro in a hunter under saddle event and had an AQHA Superior in western pleasure. Shannon and Wayne hoped the cross would produce a pretty, all-round horse and, to say the least, Lopin Foran Invite (aka Oprah) measured up.

In 2005, Shannon suffered a serious back injury when she came off a young horse. In the spring of the following year, while convalescing from her second back surgery, Wayne told her he had sent 2 year old Lopin Foran Invite to Sheldon and Cindy Soderberg for training. Watching Oprah’s progress became good medicine and a much needed mental diversion for Shannon during a difficult time.

Oprah was slow to mature, growing in bits and spurts, so was not well-balanced or ready to be shown until late in her 3-year-old year. She was entered in a few classes at AQHA shows during the summer to get some experience and by the Canadian National Quarter Horse Show that August she was starting to show her true ability. Cindy Soderberg showed her to the Reserve Championship in the 3-year-old Western Pleasure Futurity.

In her 4-year-old year, Oprah really started to come on strong, qualifying for the AQHA World Show in Jr. Western Pleasure and Performance Halter Mares. She earned her AQHA Superior in Jr. Western Pleasure and was top ten on the AQHA Show Leaders list for Performance Halter Mares. She finished the year by winning the Championship in Jr. Western Pleasure at the Canadian National Quarter Horse Show with Sheldon Soderberg riding. In Alberta, she claimed the year-end awards for High Point Jr. Western Pleasure and Performance Halter Mares.
After her accident, Shannon could not risk another fall from a horse but dearly wanted to ride and show again. Oprah was a very smooth ride and seemed to have the necessary disposition and the talent. In December of 2008, Shannon decided she would try riding her. The Burwashes made plans to head to Arizona with the Soderbergs in January to ride the show circuit. This started off an amazing year for Oprah, and for Shannon. They qualified for the Select World Show in just 5 short months. In addition, Oprah continued to be shown by Sheldon in Jr. Western Pleasure and Performance Halter Mares and Cindy started showing her in Trail. In 2009 they earned numerous circuit awards at shows throughout Western Canada and the United States.

Oprah provided an added bonus in 2009. She was brought home to the Burwash clinic for two weeks, bred once to OK I Am Invited and Wayne flushed two altembryos. Two pregnant mares were the initial result, but into the new year, they learned that only one mare was still pregnant, resulting in a 2010 foal.

In 2010 Oprah continued her versatile and winning ways. With Lindsay Soderberg (Sheldon and Cindy’s daughter) in the irons, and two weeks practice, she won the Green Hunter Under Saddle circuit award at the March Silver Dollar Show in Las Vegas. Her many 2010 achievements include the "Super Horse" award at the Canadian National Championship Quarter Horse Show. Oprah is now an Open and Amateur AQHA Champion, with over 240 points in six events with All-Around awards and circuit championships too numerous to mention.

In retrospect, the Burwashes can see that if it were not for this mare, Shannon might not be riding, and definitely not showing, at this level. In more ways than one, you might say that Lopin Foran Invite was just what the doctor ordered.


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