Barrel racing industry visionary Kristi Schiller is furthering her vision for the barrel racing industry by expanding the horizons of her powerful program at Schiller Ranch with the landmark acquisition of leading performer and promising young sire Epic Leader.
“I have watched on the sidelines since I got into this industry in 2011,” says Schiller, the founder of one of the barrel racing industry’s premier events— the Diamonds & Dirt Barrel Horse Classic, “and consistently Epic Leader has left an indelible impression on me. Epic is truly preeminent poetic justice. His athletic ability, judgment, talent, demeanor, intellect, personality and symmetry are the epitome of an Epic Leader. I’m an eighth generation Texan, so I have proudly had instilled in me a deep appreciation for ancestry and heritage. I realized immediately that Epic Leader deserved catapulting to spotlight to ensure he is the leader of a progressive barrel racing dynasty.”
Destined for greatness from is conception, Epic Leader, a 2007 gray stallion, is the result of the pairing of Confederate Leader and Fire Water Flit—leading trainer Kassie Mowry’s favorite bloodlines. Mowry and her longtime client Karma Loflin partnered on an embryo by Confederate Leader, a BFA Derby Champion and leading sire, and out of the great Firewater Fiesta, a WPRA Reserve World Champion and multiple aged event champion by the legendary Fire Water Flit.
“He’s lived up to every expectation and exceed,” says Mowry proudly. “From the time that we broke him as a 2-year-old, throughout his training and until now, he’s never had a bad day. He’s done everything we’ve asked of him and more. He just got bigger than us. We never even advertised him. He just sold himself on his breeding, record and conformation. I’m honored that he will get the special attention he deserves at Schiller Ranch. With them, he’ll have every opportunity to be one of the greatest sires in barrel racing history.”
Under Mowry’s guidance, Epic Leader earned $168,808 in fully documented Equi-Stat earnings. He was the Better Barrel Races Finals Slot Futurity & Open Futurity Champion, the Ecurie 5-55 Futurity Champion and BFA World Futurity Reserve Champion, where he ran an event record 15.034 to win the second round. Epic Leader was ranked by Barrel Horse News and Equi-Stat as the second-richest futurity horse in 2012, behind Schiller Ranch’s own Insane For Fame.
“The much anticipated arrival of the first foal by Epic Leader out of Insane For Fame due in the spring is starting to rival in size and scope of this year’s Royal baby,” says Schiller.
The acquisition of a 2-year-old filly from Epic Leader’s first crop further fast-tracked Schiller’s desire to invest in Epic Leader. Schiller Ranch trainer Latricia Duke, one of the industry’s leading trainer and riders, already faced down the stallion’s greatness in competition and she was equally impressed with his offspring.
“No matter how fast of a run someone makes, the barrel race is never over until Epic Leader comes down the alleyway,” says Duke. “He is honest, consistent and extremely talented. Our 2-year-old Epic Leader filly has shown so much natural athletic ability and a deep appetite to absorb everything I show her immediately. She is sweet, quick and physically, she can stop traffic with her looks. It seems like “Kassie” was only a natural fit for her barn name.”
Schiller Ranch Breeding Manager Donna Hanover is excited about the pairing of Epic Leader with the ranch’s fine broodmare band.
“He is the complete package,” explains Hanover. “He has conformation, temperament and athletic ability, and that’s what barrel racing is all about. He appeals to the owners of quality mares.
Schiller is thrilled by the opportunity to won such an important part of barrel racing history. “Epic Leader is a regal commander-in-chief,” says Schiller. “There’s no doubt that Epic is a legend in his own time and a forefather of great things to come for the equine industry. This is an illustrious opportunity, and we are thrilled that Kassie Mowry and Karma Loftin entrusted us with this distinguished stallion. We are honored to be a part of Epic’s life and legacy.”
Donna Hanover, Breeding Manger