King Leo Bar
If you have been in the Quarter Horse business in Canada for very long, you're probably wondering what more could be said about King Leo Bar; the most written about and talked about Quarter Horse that has ever made his career in Canada. Most every sale catalog across western Canada has one of his descendants and makes reference to his show and sire record. With this article I want to focus more on those descendants. I was always impressed with how many good King Leo Bar bred horses there were out there, but when researching this I was truly surprised at the number of excellent producers he sired.
On the track, King Leo Bar had a Speed Index of 95. In the show ring he earned his AQHA Championship, the first Canadian-owned horse to do so. This was no small accomplishment, but not surprising since he cost $45,000.00 U.S. In the 40 years since he was brought up from Idaho, I wonder how many of the hundreds and hundreds of studs brought to Canada have cost more?
King Leo Bar dominated as a sire as well, with his foals earning 2405 points, 9 AQHA Championships and close to $11,000.00 on the track. It's important to stress that this was done with only 9 foal crops totaling 177 foals. King Leo Bar died when he was just eleven years old. At the time of his death he was The Leading Sire of Performance Contest winners in the World, as well as, a leading Halter sire and sire of Performance ROM earners. Some of the other leading sires of the time included Poco Bueno, Poco Pine, Sugar Bars, etc. All were considered to be Legends. Had he not died in the prime of his breeding career he would probably still be on the All Time Leading Sires list for AQHA Champions. One out of every 20 of his foals earned that honor; a far better ratio than most of the studs on that list.
No son of King Leo Bar was able to match his father's success as a sire, but studs like Kilobar, Saleo Cody, Waspy King Bar, Bar Five King, Kilo Bar Wasp, Kilo Jack, Ja Bar Leo Bar, Quadrant, Badger Kilobar and others had a positive and lasting impact on the industry. As an example, the sire record for:
The numbers for these three studs won't get them near a leading sires list, but they were, along with some of the other sons mentioned, some of the most prominent and popular studs in the area during their time. Just think of how many studs around you now, that have even sired a point earner. Like King Leo Bar their foals showed well when given the opportunity and they also produced well. For example:
It's an understatement to say King Leo Bar daughters were great producers in quality and in quantity. Eighty-nine mares produced 758 foals. That's an amazing average of over 8.5 foals per mare, many of which spent a lot of time on the show circuit. Of these foals, 163 found their way to the race track, show ring or cutting pen.
On the track, King Leo Bar daughters' foals earned over $30,000.00 and 14 ROM's while breaking 7 track records, from mares like:
In the show ring, 85 performers earned 2982 points. Some of the more notable producers included:
In the cutting pen is where these foals had their greatest success. Forty-one foals earned an astonishing $473,573.98 from mares such as:
Of the 89 mares that had foals, 66 of them produced performers. It's incredible to think that over a period of 30 years and at least that many fads and styles, people have continually felt that foals from these mares were worth investing in. You could have gone from raising race horses, to show horses, to cutters and went through a multitude of bloodlines to stay competitive, but kept your King Leo Bar mares.
King Leo Bar was one of the first from what some have called the magic cross of King, Leo and Three Bars, It would be more magical, if you crossed poor horses and got a good one. However, it still gives those, particularly in Alberta, a head start on the cross that would later shape the industry. The disposition and cow sense of the King line, along with the balance of the Three Bars line.
As mentioned earlier, I knew he had a major influence, but I honestly thought a lot of it had to do with promotion, hype, and just the plain fact he was the first high profile horse in Alberta. No amount of promotion could produce the legacy he left, with so many top producing mares and quality siring sons and a bloodline that is still in demand over 30 years after he died.
King Leo Bar is a true legend and a horse that should be in the AQHA Hall of Fame.
CONTRIBUTOR: Jim Keith, Box 57, Byemore, Alberta, Canada T0J 0L0. Telephone: (403)579-3976. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jim & Gwen maintain a small band of top quality broodmares and stand a promising young son of Peppy Badger Chex.
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