Great Race Horses of the Past

By Pat Cole

Reading List of Stories about Great Horses….

1)      Beyond Greatness

2)      Bold Ruler

3)      Citation – Thoroughbred Legends

4)      Citation:  In a Class by Himself

5)      Calumet Farm:  Wild Ride – Rise & Fall of Calumet Farm

6)      Eclipse:  The Horse That Changed Racing History Forever

7)      Exterminator

8)      Forego

9)      Genuine Risk

10)   John Henry

11)   Man O War

12)   May the Horse Be With You

13)   Nashua

14)   Phar Lap

15)   Ruffian

16)   Seattle Slew

17)   Seabiscuit, an American Legend

18)   Secretariat

19)   Swaps

20)   Spectacular Bid

21)   Sunday Silence

22)   The Byerly Turk

23)   King of the Wind:  Story of Godolphin Arabian

24)   The Godolphin Arabian or History of a Thoroughbred

25)   The Magnificent Barb:  The Horse of the Magical Feet

26)   War Admiral


Matlock Rose, the Master





Pat Cole

One weekend, I went up to Gainesville, Texas, to a Quarter Horse show. I thought the show started at 8 o’clock in the morning, when in fact, it started at 6:00 p.m. Well, I thought, “How do I kill a whole day in Gainesville?” I drove out to Matlock Rose’s ranch, found him in the barn and asked if I could unload my horses for a few hours to let them rest and drink. Being the very nice fellow that he was, he helped me unload and put them all in stalls.

I had a mare with me that had been giving me a few problems that he had noticed at a show or two and I had my Leo San gelding, Busy San,  that he had broken and trained when he worked for G.B. Howell. I had bought Busy San from G. B. Howell when Matlock worked for him.

As we talked about horses, mine in particular, he asked me to saddle my mare and ride her for him, which I did. Matlock was the original “man of few words.” He told me to “get off that mare” and let him get on her. I bet he didn’t ride her for more than 15 minutes, if that long. Very quickly, Sissy Jinks knew she was in the hands of the master. She straightened her act out and that night she and I won one of our All Around trophies.

Next, he had me saddle Busy San. He watched me ride him for a few minutes and then told me to get off and he went in his tack room and came out with a different bridle with a very mild snaffle bit and a light weight rope nose band and tie down. Busy San had a super light mouth and nose and was prone to a lot of leaping and lunging. Matlock told me that I had to run barrels with a tie down, but only tight enough to just catch him if he lunged, otherwise he would fight me like a tiger.

That tall, lanky fellow stepped up on Busy and with the lightest hands I would ever see, took him out in the arena and calmly walked him around the barrels over and over, correcting him ever so

Pat and Busy San
Gainesville, TX

gently, never letting him get out of a walk. That horse just took a deep breath and relaxed like I had never seen before. That night when Busy and I went to the first barrel, he put his nose around that thing and almost left me in the dirt. I had never had him turn a barrel like he did that night… and we won the barrel race.

That was a day that I would never have had enough money to pay for, and this great horseman shared his knowledge and ability with me, just ’cause. It is a great memory. I witnessed an understanding…. the buzz word today is bonding…. between horse and rider that day that I could only wish for.

I never had, nor ever did, see anything like it again. It was nothing short of magic. Matlock Rose was absolutely one of the greatest horsemen that has ever walked or ridden a horse. He was whispering to horses long before anyone ever heard of “The Horse Whisperer.”  I was fortunate to be able to call him my friend.



A Day or Two with George Tyler



Pat Cole 


George Tyler was one of the most knowledgeable horsemen I ever had the privilege to know.  I have no idea when, nor where I first met George, but obviously it had something to do with horses.  Over the 10 or 12 years that I knew George well, we had many “horse” conversations; he judged me and my horses a number of times; advised me on horse purchases; sold me horses; found horses for my clients; bought horses from me or tried to; had me as a guest at his ranch in Gainesville and we drank a lot of coffee together.

George elevated “horse trading” to an art form.  Once, I had some customers that wanted a good comin’ two-year old filly for their teenage daughter to break, train and show, under my tutelage.  I called George in Gainesville, Texas, and told him what they thought they wanted and gave him their top dollar.

He got back to me in a couple of days and said he had three or four fillies that would suit and I took my folks up to his ranch.  As we stepped out of our vehicles, I saw four sorrel fillies about the same age in a pen.  George always believed all horse colors were good, as long as it was sorrel, preferably with some white in their face and on their legs.

George walked out and shook hands all around and took us to the pen with the four fillies.  He explained that all four were for sale at the same price, which, incidentally, was about $500.00 under their top dollar….they could take their pick.  I wanted to laugh out loud, but kept my smirch to myself.  I immediately saw the filly he intended to sell them.  There were many similarities in the fillies… same size….same age…. same sorrel color,  but one definitely was superior. You guessed it…. that’s the one they bought.

I had not discussed commission with George and really wasn’t expecting one, but as he and I shook hands goodbye, I felt bills pressed in my palm.  I discovered that George always … always paid the standard 10% commission to anyone that brought him buyers.

One year I was showing my Leo San gelding, Busy San, at the Ft. Worth Stock Show.  The class was enormous… over 40 geldings.

George had been instrumental in me buying Busy San out of the G. B. Howell Estate Dispersal Sale.  When I bought Busy San, he had two halter points and a year and a half later, he and I had raised that number to 102 halter points.  By the time I sold him a couple of years later that number had risen to over 200 points.

Well, the judge that day was W.B. Warren, who was a pretty ageable gentleman and by the time he got to the gelding class he was worn out and his feet were killing him.  He had looked at about all the horses and horses’ asses he wanted to see in one day and just wanted to get out of there.  Over the preceding days of the show, Mr. Warren had made it very clear that he was not fond of women showing horses.

George was his ring steward and  he and the judge were moving down the line of horses to make the final cut for the top six horses, when they were about to pass Busy San and me by without a look, George sorta stumbled into the judge, causing him to have to turn and look at Busy and me.  It was as if the old man woke up …. he blinked a couple of times…. and pulled Busy and me out for his top six.  Now, he wouldn’t let me win the class… but, we did take a second, thanks to George’s stumble.

Several years later, Gerry Wells from Oklahoma, one of the leading showmen in the nation at the time, had contacted me in Cheyenne about buying my Triple Chick filly, Triple Hope, who was in Oklahoma at the time..  I priced her to him at $10,000 and he asked for 3 or 4 days to get the money together.  I told him I would give him the time.

The next day, George Tyler called me and said he understood I had a Triple Chick filly that I would sell.  He told me he knew she was in Oklahoma, but he hadn’t seen her.  I told him I had given Gerry a few days to come up with the money.  When I told him how much I was asking, he pointed out that she toed out slightly on her right front hoof.  I thought, for a man that hadn’t seen her, he sure knew every pimple on her.

Then George said, “If I wire $11,000 into your account this minute, will you sell her to me?”  I refused, saying, “George, I wouldn’t do that to you and will not do it to Gerry.”  Gerry did come up with the money and bought her.  Apparently, Gerry had taken George with him to look at her.  George’s halo slipped a bit that day… Oh, well, I did say he was a consummate horse trader.


Black Caviar – Racing Legend in Her Own Time

by Pat Cole

The horse, Black Caviar,is a six year old Thoroughbred mare from Australia, a legend in her own time, further solidified her unequaled record of 22 wins in as many starts for a 150 year period, when she won the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot, England, on Saturday, June 23, 2012.

This noble animal with a great charismatic spirit must have been recognized very early in her life as exceptional.  She was given a worthy name and then was obviously well raised and then well trained by outstanding horsemen who developed her competitive attitude.

Her owners, trainer and jockey are blessed to have had the privilige of developing this amazing animal and she has rewarded their loving care with a legendary record.

The uninformed public that dares to say she did not do enough in Diamond Jubilee Stakes; that her margin of victory should have been greater; that jockey Luke Nolen rode her poorly, etc., etc., etc. should be forbidden entrance to any and all race tracks in the future.  A Win is a Win, is a Win….. be it by an inch or by a mile !!

Black Caviar’s jockey,Luke Nolen , should be applauded for taking care of this beauty and not pushing her harder.  He also did not allow her to be defeated, something that would break this great athlete’s heart.

This unbelievable feat was accomplished, it was later determined, with a grade-four muscle tear of the quadriceps and a grade-two tear to the sacroiliac suffered during her victory.  This brilliant athlete just ran through her pain to chalk up her 22nd win.

Black Caviar, Queen of the Racetrack, met Elizabeth II, Queen of England and great lover of horses, in the winners’ ring after the race.  They are both legends in their own time.

Should this brilliant and heroic animal’s trainer and owners choose to retire her when she returns to Australia after her quarantine period in England, they should be congratulated.  Black Caviar has done more than any other.  22 wins in as many starts and still racing sound at six year of age rarely, if ever, happens.  Personally, I would not want to take a chance on her sustaining a life ending injury after such a glorious career.

Best of luck and many green pastures to you, Black Caviar!!





All horsemen dream of their perfect horse barn or stable.  Through my 55+ years of owning quater horses, I have built no less than 7 horse barns, to each one was added some improvements over the last.  Following are things that I have found to be important in my horse operations, some larger than others. 

 My dad did not believe in wasting much money on the care or housing of a horse.  So, I actually did not have one of my horses in a barn until I was 17 years old and my first employer, who was a well known horseman, let me keep my horse in his stable.  My dream barn began to evolve.

As I began to move in the world of real horsemen, some world famous, I got the opportunity to see what beautiful, working stables looked like.  I asked a lot of questions and listened intently as the pros and cons of the good horse barn were discussed.  Some were just functional and others were functional, very beautiful and expensive.  I decided then that my dream barn would be, first safe for the horse, then functional and probably expensive.  I had no idea that I would ever get that ultimate barn, but as I was dreaming I decided to go for the gold.

Years came and went; I got better horses; began to show cutting horses and finally found my niche with American Quater Horses in halter classes and western pleasure classes.  As I became competitive, people began to bring me horses to train and show.  Within a short time, I was realizing my dream of showing and winning in Quater Horse shows.  With each show season, I won more and soon I was traveling 70,000+ miles a year between April and September and an average of 70 horse shows a year all over the United States.  I became recognized as a force to be reckoned with in my field.  At one time, I had 28 horses in my barn that I was training, conditioning and showing for other people.  In the paddocks and pastures of one of my facilities, there were an additional 35 head of horses.  Some broodmares and foals, some that were turned out for rest, some yearlings too young to ride and some that I needed to sell.  I needed a barn that was attractive for my outside owners, very safe for the horses and me, and efficient to work in.  In each barn that I built, or acquired and made modifications to, I would discover something more that I wanted to change or add.

It was another 25 or 30 years, after my emphasis changed to raising baby racehorses, that I finally got my dream barn.  My husband and I bought 40 beautiful acres 100 miles from a big city and began to build our mutual dream home and horse farm.  I decided I wanted a swimming pool and he really didn’t want one, so one day he asked if I would trade my proposed swimming pool for a horse barn.  A dealer in modular barns was selling her entire display lot, comprised of a 34’ x 42’, 6 stall barn, and one 50’ diameter round pen, a palpation chute and a two stall 24’ shed row barn at a very good price.  When I saw it, we bought the whole kit and caboodle.  The barns and round pen were dismantled, loaded on a truck and a crew arrived, poured the cement footings and alleyway. The entire barn and supporting facilities was up and ready for use in less than a week.  It was so stress free as to be nothing short of amazing.  I began to make it my own. 

The things about this barn that made it my dream barn were:

  • ·         Design complimented our house. 
  • ·         Monitor roof with sliding windows to open for ventilation in summer
  • ·         Stalls were 12’x12’ providing plenty of room for hoses.
  • ·         Two stalls were 12’x16’ foaling stalls.
  • ·         Stall walls were 12 gauge galvanized steel with ¾” ply wood sandwiched between and seated in 1” galvanized channel which completed surrounded the 12’ section.  All corners were mitered and welded.  The stall walls were heavy enough that a horse could not kick through them and flexible enough to minimize injury that can occur when a horse kicks a rigid wall.
  • ·         Sliding stall door hangers and hardware were heavy duty and opened and closed easily.  Blanket bars the width of the doors was welded on each door.
  • ·         Interior stall walls and walls facing alleyway were topped with 1 ¼ “galvanized tubing and spaced so that a small foal’s hoof could not slip between them.
  • ·         All inner surfaces of stall walls were metal covered so that a horse had no wood to chew on.·         Exterior sliding windows of stalls were same construction as the stall doors with 1 ¼” galvanized tubing in the opening.·         Entire barn sat on 4” concrete curb with concrete alleyway.·         Feed compartment door opened to a galvanized corner feed trough with galvanized hay rack above for easy feeding. 
  • ·         Auto fill corner water trough.