The American Quarter Horse is the world’s most versatile horse.
Versatile describes Tiger Leo.
“I had the privilege of seeing Tiger Leo show and become an AQHA Champion when it really meant something to horse enthusiasts of the day,” says equine consultant Dale Livingston. “Simply put, Tiger Leo exemplifies what the American Quarter Horse is supposed to be: a winning racehorse that was also a grand champion halter horse and also a good enough cutting horse to have NCHA earnings, a horse with the talent to be a winner in all events and durability to last through all seasons.”
Bred by the Hall of Fame horseman Bud Warren of Perry, Oklahoma, the sorrel stallion by Hall of Fame stallion Leo was foaled in June 1958. Tiger Leo is out of the Thoroughbred mare Connie, a daughter of Reno Lion who traced to Broomstick and Ben Brush on top and Ultimus and Commando on bottom.
Acquired as a weanling by Walt Chamberlain of Walsenburg, Colorado, Tiger Leo went to the racetrack, where from May 1961 to December 1969 he won four of 38 races, with two seconds and three thirds.
While Tiger Leo was still competing as a AAA-rated racehorse, Walt decided the stallion had the disposition, conformation, ability and versatility to make his mark in the show ring. In 1965, he sent Tiger Leo for training to Stan Steyskal, a former rodeo bronc rider who trained performance horses. By August of the following year, Tiger Leo was an AQHA Champion with points in cutting, reining and halter.
And the year after that, Stan married registered nurse, barrel racer and rodeo queen Mary Kay Albers. For the next 40 years, the Steyskals bred, raised and trained Quarter Horses on their ranch at Papillion, Nebraska, where they also raised one son, Dan. From the beginning, the Steyskals were breeding mares to Tiger Leo, and in 1973, they formed a syndicate to purchase the stallion. By 1987, Tiger Leo had put the couple on the AQHA list of leading breeders, where they stayed for more than three decades.
Altogether, Tiger Leo proved an extremely versatile sire who got 482 AQHA-registered foals from 24 crops. In addition to ranch, rodeo, cutting and reining horses that never competed in AQHA events, those included 91 individual earners of a cumulative 5,943.5 points in AQHA competition, with Superiors in halter, western pleasure, hunter under saddle, hunter hack, hunt seat equitation, showmanship, horsemanship, trail and barrel racing, and winners on the racetrack. Foals by Tiger Leo have won money in the AQHA World Show and in competitions in NCHA, National Snaffle Bit Association and National Reining Horse Association.
Tiger Leo also excelled as a broodmare sire. His daughters have produced more than 270 point-earners that earned more than 21,500 points. Tiger Leo lived to the age of 30 when he died in 1988. Seven years later, in 1995, Tiger Leo entered the Hall of Fame of the National Snaffle Bit Association, where his distaff descendants are in high demand as broodmares.
Tiger Leo was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2019.
Biography updated as of March 2019.