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News

Ultimate Congress Giveaway Winner Baylee Oskin

October 14th, 2018

By Reilly Wright

More than 1,500 Facebook shares and comments later, the first Ultimate Congress Giveaway has its deserving recipients.

In early August the All American Quarter Horse Congress Facebook page posted the opportunity for followers to like, comment and share on the pages of Congress Partners for the chance to win not only a free stall at the Congress but hundreds of dollars in gift cards, a Congress jacket, apparel, subscriptions and more.

Brandi Foster and her 10-year-old daughter Baylee Oskin, of Jefferson, Ohio were the lucky winners, but not without challenges on their journey to Congress. 

“We had kind of a rough year,” Foster said. “Baylee was diagnosed when she was 17-months-old with juvenile idiopathic arthritis. It’s actually an autoimmune disease so the treatment for that is chemotherapy infusions every eight weeks.” 

Foster said Baylee’s weak immune system has them constantly coming and going from the hospital but this past April while preparing for her second All American Youth Horse Show, Baylee fell sick and was hospitalized.

“We spent a week [in the hospital] the first time,” Foster said. "We thought she was getting better. They let us go. We went back home for 24 hours and then we went back. Ultimately, we ended up spending 32 days admitted at Rainbow Babies and Children [Hospital] and they didn’t even know what was wrong with her until the last week we were there.” 

She added, “The day of the Youth Show sucked. We were sitting in the hospital knowing all of our friends were there.” 

Shortly after being released from Rainbow, Foster said Dawn Koffel-Allison, a friend and horse trainer, messaged her offering her horse, Kiss My Invitation or “Callie,” for Baylee to show at the Congress. 

“Of course my first words are ‘Yeah, okay, what is that going to cost me?’,” Foster said. “I just missed two months of work. I’m broke.” 

After months of planning, working and saving for proper show clothes and other expenses, Foster found herself scrolling through Facebook and noticed the giveaway.

“I almost didn’t even do it, seriously,” she said. “One: I never win anything. Two: there had already been almost 2,000 shares on it. But I shared it and I’m so glad I did.” 

By the time she received a congratulatory message from the Ohio Quarter Horse Association in late August, Foster said she knew everybody was abuzz about the giveaway. 

“I messaged back right away, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me, there’s no way,’” she said. “I was crying. I called my mom crying. I called Dawn, the one who has the horse, crying. I was just an emotional mess.”

Foster said just simply receiving the stall money back was surreal, but also stocking up on supplements, Tribute Horse Feed and more was relieving. 

“Baylee deserves it more than ever,” she said. “Since she was sick, she’s been in a whole arthritis flare. We haven’t been able to get her joints completely under control. Right now her knees are completely full of fluid.”

She added, “All the practice, you’ll never hear the kid complain. It doesn’t matter if her knees are hurting, she’ll go out there, limp around and do it.”

Foster and Oskin have friends from across the region visiting just to watch Baylee’s first Congress and last qualified year in the small fry showmanship, horsemanship and western pleasure classes.

The two expressed deep thanks for their close friends and family that pitched in and got them here as well as to OQHA and Congress Partners for helping them receive the supplies.

As for Baylee, she loves her new Breyer model horse and jacket.

“All the stuff is amazing,” she said.