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!!


My Lap Horse – Dolly Dimple

My Dolly Dimple


Pat Cole

               One fall I bought a royally bred old mare; an own daughter of AQHA foundation sire,  Chubby P-4 and out the great broodmare, Panzarita Daughtery.  Rio Rita was her name. She was a 20 year old horse and the dam of 13 foals,one of which, Poco Sail, had been World’s Champion Halter Mare in 1959 or ’60.

               Rio Rita was bred to Waldo Haythorn’s stallion, My Beaver by Beaver Creek and had a beautiful little sorrel filly, but was never able to get up to nurse her.  A tumor had developed on one of her ovaries and ruptured during labor.  Sadly, we were unable to save the grand old lady.

              I took that precious little filly with me to my stable and ensconced her in her very own 12×12 stall in the middle of the shed row.  Gosh, she looked tiny in that huge stall. I tried to get her to nurse a bottle with little success. . My vet advised me to “hang tough” and make her drink from a bucket due to the time and effort required to get enough milk down her using a bottle.  Those first few hours I begged her to drink…splashed milk on her nose and into her mouth.  Well, miracle of miracles, she finally got hungry enough and took a sip….. then another.  After a couple of days, she really started drinking and soon I was calling her Dolly Dimple.

               The stable was 4 or 5 miles from my home, so I got up and drove over every 4 or 5 hours all through the night to feed her.  I don’t remember how many weeks passed before she “slept through the night.”  That little devil was a real survivor.  She grew like a weed and soon I added a little wheat bran to her milk.

               As she got bigger and bigger, another problem surfaced.  Someone forgot to tell her she was a horse.  She thought she was a princess and her play got a little rough and dangerous. Every day the teenagers that kept their horses with me played with her and she thought she was a human baby. Any other horse that came by her stall scared her to death.  Then came the day for her to go out into the big old world where other horses lived.  I tried to lead her out of her stall  She planted her front feet and would not budge.  It was way too scary out there.  I coaxed….. Someone pushed ……. I pulled….. NO WAY!!  The only way I could have gotten her out of that stall was to push her over on her side and slide her out.  She won that round.

               I gave up and began leaving her stall door open all day, hoping she would get curious enough to venture out.  After about a week, I saw her peek around the edge of the stall door and cautiously she put one little hoof over the threshold.  A horse banged a water bucket against the wall,  Dolly jumped straight in the air and flew back in her stall.  Several days later I was sitting at my desk with the office door open and in she strolled.

               She lived around the barn, stuck her nose into everything, but she was still scared of other horses.  When she got tired she went back to her stall and laid down with her body in the stall and her head out in the alley way.

               Dolly was a real discipline problem because she never knew or understood she was a horse.  She was so sweet, but really a spoiled brat.  Later that year, after we moved to Cheyenne, Wyoming, she lived around the house with the dogs, ate Purina Dog Chow, chased cars and slept at the back door.

               When Dolly saw a vehicle driving into the ranch, she raced down to meet it like a dog and then loped alongside with her head in the window.  With her white muzzle stained red from eating Purina Dog Chow, she argued with the dogs all the time.  Its one thing to have to kick a dog out of the way when you walk out the door and quite another to get a large filly to move.

               In the spring, I tried to move Dolly down to the alfalfa field.  I sat on the tailgate and she loped along with her head in my lap to the far side of the field.  When she dropped her head to graze, we drove like crazy and tried to beat her to the gate.  She outran us every time.

               A year later I moved back to Texas.  Dolly and my other horses went down to a friend in Denver until I found a new home in Texas for them.  I sold Dolly in the friend’s dispersal sale.  I’m sure she was a real challenge to break and train.  Not many people would put up with a “lap horse” like I did.  I learned a lot about raising orphan foals with that little gal; the most important lesson, being to treat them like a horse from the beginning and not a lap dog.

               I loved her very much, but I did her no favor by spoiling her so much.  Raising an orphan foal is a real challenge.

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