A Day or Two with George Tyler

A DAY OR TWO WITH GEORGE TYLER 

by 

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.