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Your idea of a perfect horse.

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Well-known member
Apr 12, 2005
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South Texas
As far as conformation,and color,what would you like to have?I have a few geldings from way down south Texas,and they average out at about 16 hands,and 1200 pounds,theyre light to dark dun,and have line backs,I really like a stout horse,despite their tendency to have a rougher trot and lope,the pulling power compensates in my book.Though they are from deep south texas,theyre dally horses,despite the strong hard and fast tradition.But you can still tie off if you need to.But then again,the best brush horse i rode was a small mare,about 950 pounds in top shape,and about 15 hands high,she didnt have much pulling power,but you could fly through the thickest whitebrush texas can throw at ya,as long as you can hang on,and when you tied onto one,shed do her best to flip it,or at least give it a screeching halt.So what about you,what would your perfect horse be like?
Great subject, 'cause we've all kicked this arround in our mind anyway. Everything about my perfect horse is in opposition. I want an extremely athletic 15 2 that can cover alot of country and has outstanding top speed, but when things get tight, I want to cow block like a 14 2 San Badger. relentless heart - won't be outrun, won't be run by. I like a high croup, but want the speed of a low croup. I want good bone, but not too thick and wear small #1 iron - when things balance just right, you got a special pony.
My "perfect" horse is now 23 years old, as of this spring. I am continually looking for a good young gelding to take his place, and have bought and traded quite a few in recent years in my search, but none have all the qualifications that he does.

I purchased Tom Cat when he was a two-year-old and broke him myself. He is a grade horse, and shows a bit of Percheron. When he was young, he was almost a grulla color, but turned grey and is now almost white. He has feathers on his legs, but is a pretty good looking horse if these feathers are trimmed off each spring. All four hooves are well-shaped and his legs are sound with adequate bone. He stays in good flesh, and has a tough enough hide that he has never been cinch sore. His withers are just right to hold a saddle in place, and he travels true and is steady on his feet.

Tom Cat stands 15 hands plus two inches, and weighs 1200 pounds. On his nose is a "mustache", and this is a characteristic shared by the best three horses I have owned through the years. Even though the intelligence of a horse is said to be related to how high the cowlick is on their head, Tom Cat's cowlick is below the level of his eyes. It doesn't seem to matter in his case.

This good grey horse has speed, endurance, cow sense, and a good traveling running walk. He is a bit rough, and when he is after a cow you'd better hang on tight or he'll get out from under you. He is fun to rope calves on in a branding corral, as he does his best to help you get into position. If you miss, he gets mad.

When doctoring cattle out in the pasture, Tom Cat works real well. He can sneak around in the herd, while they are gathered at a windmill or in a fence corner. He tries hard to put you in the right position to slip on a loop without disturbing the herd. If you miss a couple times, and your quarry gets wary, he will ease them to the edge of the herd and give you all the speed needed to catch the critter. After that bovine has been doctored, he calms right down so you can try to sneak a loop on the next victim.

Tom Cat is gentle for anyone to ride, but he still has spirit to carry a person all day without tiring. You can open barbed wire gates from his back, carry a calf over the saddle horn, or drag a calf sled. Nothing bothers him except getting wormed twice a year. He absolutely hates the mere thought of the slippery paste sliding down his throat.

He is a friendly cuss, and can be caught out in the pasture if you have a piece of "cake" in your pocket. Ride him bareback until you get to the barn, and then slide off and brush the white hairs off your britches.

All in all, ol' Tom Cat is just a member of the family. He has turned into such a perfect horse, that he is the yardstick by which I measure all others. I haven't yet found one that can walk in his shadow. Though he is 23 years old, by looking at him and watching him in action you would think he was an eight-year-old. He truly enjoys being a full-fledged partner in the operation of this ranch.
Best horse I've ever rode or owned is a little Bay Tonto Bars Hank granddaughter I raised. My friends Dad owned the stud and the fee was $500 more than I had-so I went for coffee and took my mare for a visit. THe next spring I asked the stud fee and told him I better get a better colt than the first one. She's been an awesome horse-tons of heart and like a cat-absolutely the surest footed horse I've been on you can go balls to the walls across our meadows jumping washouts and brush and she never gets out of position. I really should breed her but the kids won't let me-there won't be a dry eye on this place when she's gone.As for little footed horses they don't last long in our country for the most part-lots of part draft saddle horses rode up here-it takes a special kind of pony to put a full day on in our wet pastures especially in late fall when it's cold.
That was a super tribute to a great horse, Soapweed. I enjoyed reading every word.

When I first read this topic, I too, thought of some of our horses that would be termed 'perfect.' We have been lucky enough to have had three or four. The one that comes to mind first was a grade horse like yours. This was a bay, also had the moustache~and I agree with you about that seeming to be a common denominator of good horses~he was 15.3, 1250 lbs. Though he was grade, he was out of a stallion called Sabre Twist by Hard Twist. He was cowy, quick and smart, smart, smart and I have never before or since ridden a horse so good on his feet. He was phonomenal. He was my husbands horse, but I rode him once in awhile. He was too good of a horse for me~I need the best horse, but I can't ride the best horse, if you know what I mean. He was a great ranch horse, great arena heading horse and our daughter ran barrels on him some in high school. He was interested in everything you did and had a lot of heart. I know he saved my husband's life more than once when we lived in the Powder River Country of Wyoming. I always wanted my husband to enter this horse in the Bad River Suicide Ride, cuz I thought he could win~no, I take that back, I was SURE he could win. No horse is perfect, though and this horse would sure act snuffy on the ground. He was a pussy cat, but he sure had rollers in his nose. Bluffed alot of people. It was funny.

Speaking of horses, I was at a horse sale recently and a young horse trader brought a horse in that I really liked. The horse could really turn around and kept his nose where I like it. He was bid $1800 and no saled the horse. I thought the horse looked a little parrot mouthed, but couldn't tell for sure where I was sitting. Anyway, the auctioneer said if anyone was interested they could talk to him outside. I liked the horse well enough that I went to the back. There was a young man there and I asked if this was his horse, which he affirmed. I asked if he was parrot mouthed and he said yes, just a little though. I asked what he wanted for him, and he puffed up and said, "NOW, before I load him in my trailer? $2500, but if I load him up, it will take $3000 for me to unload him." Well, I looked in his mouth and he wasn't just a little parrot mouthed, it was pretty bad. Now I really liked this horse, and I am a lot soft-hearted. This horse was tired, you could tell, and his hair was bad, not real bad, but sure not shiney; he was barked up on his legs some; and he was probably 100 lbs. underweight. The kids said he had been used in a feedlot in Texas. He sidepassed him in the ring, so that sure could have been true, as they open lots of gates horseback in those pens. Anyway, I really wanted to buy this horse, against my better judgment. So I left, went clear home so that I did not weaken and buy a problem. But the horse haunts me now. I wish I had offered the kid $2000 for him. We have never owned a parrot mouthed horse. I suppose if the grass got short, he would need supplemented. Also, and what was the real deterrment for me, was the growth of the front teeth. Because they don't meet the bottom teeth correctly, they would continue to grow down. Would you just file them off periodically? I guess I am going to look into this further.

Another thought I had, as good-looking as this horse was and with the parrot mouth being a genetic defect, and him being a grade horse, I wondered if he was some real good bred horse and they threw away the papers so no one attributed a parrot-mouthed horse to that bloodline.

I know that happens. A big ranch in W. Mt. that had horses in Texas, brought the ones to Mt. that didn't turn out as cutters, etc. They threw the papers away and sold them as grade horses, so no one knew they didn't make the grade in cutting or whatever they were bred for. Some of those horses minds were fried. Sometimes they were salvagable, sometimes not.
What's best?

I have had great ones and have on now that would cost over a million to buy. But most wouldn't like him. Not a cow in the country can get away from him. Never have found the end of his endurance. Can pull like a frieght train.

He's spooky and not a horse for an old woman or a child. Or lots of men! No buck, just serious. Doesn't like to be petted and hates cows. Cross fires when chasing a critter, but they can't escape him. When he takes after a critter, hang on! Probably better out there but he sure suits me! Bought him as a colt and have never regretted it. His name is Woody as his father was a Bartender!

I have a stud now that is built just like Woody and I hope he turns out as well. When he came here last spring as a three year old, for my son to train, you would have thought he was a man killer. Stood in the corner and wistled at you. Chan put about 30 days on him and I traded for him when the guy came to get him. Now he's a pussy cat and a young feller who is handy with horses is going to work with him a spell this spring. Can't hardly wait to get on his round ol' back and make him work a cow. He's a grandson of Zan Par Bar on the sires side and a greatgrandson of Two Eyed Jack on the bottom. I knew nothing of his breeding when I traded, just liked they way he was built and acted. I'll turn him with some mares this summer and hope to raise more like him. I like snorty horses, but hate if they buck.

As far as color. There are bay's and duns and who cares about the rest! :wink:

Have any of you ever listed all of the horses that have packed you around in your lifetime? Man, it can be a bunch. And I remember everyone of them and most fondly!
THe Team
Way down in ranch country
It's every young boys dream
To grow upand be man enough
To finally drive a team
Maybe Clydes with a nice action or
Belgians slow and steady
Or Percherons always on the bit
Making sure the skinners ready
There isn't a vest-that can hold the chest
When Dad hands you the lines
You take a breath-reel them in
And think of all the times
You were told of horses that rolled
And teams that ran away
Ones that pulled like anything
Others weren't worth their hay
You could always tell a horseman
The first minutes at his spread
No combines around-to be found
The truck battery always dead
If he had any equipment around at all
It was rusty and all soiled
But his teams were always matched
His harness always oiled
His sleigh was always up on blocks
The buggy in the shed
Men like that are far and few
Most of them are dead
The old horseman are a disappearing
They will be sorely missed
They can remember every horse they owned
But not the girls they'd kissed

Northern Rancher
Those are some great replies,Mr. Pope,the older fella that i do all my day work with has given me a young filly(as soon as its weaned) thats the half sister to one of his greatest cow horses,and he's owned plenty,He has 9 horses,which is plenty for him,because theyres only 7 days in a week.Im the fourth boy he's let in as an apprentice,and its considered quite an honor to work with him,so needless to say i was estatic when he told me he's going to be giving me one of his colts.The mare is off of the Waggoner Ranch in Guthrie,and the Father is off of the O'Connor Ranch in Victoria.There are a few reasons he's letting me have her,he said no one ever gave him anything when he started out,and he figures that if he gives just a little,he's making a difference,and he said he's been thinking about it for awhile,and he believes that she'll be one of those horses i wont soon forget,well,i have to agree...
You are in the right place, at the right time, my boy!! That's a pretty good ole' fella, sounds like, that you are working for. Treat him well, and you'll probably never regret it.

Those old fellas like that have such wonderful stories to tell, for the young people that take the time to listen. Sounds like you take the time. Much can be learned from the old timers that have been there-done that.
The best horse I ever owned bucked like a sow the first time I rode him. So I called him Rambo. After that we both had a great understanding for each other. I guided pack trips on him, doctored yearlings, drug calves, hooked sheep, checked fence, snubbed colts, roped calves, and other things too numerous to mention. I sold him after about five years, and to this day I would give twice that price to have him back. He was a solid blood bay, about 14 3 and 1100 lbs with all the heart in the world. Sure do miss that one.
Youre right faster horses,he's a helluve guy,and he's constantly saring stories,which i perticularly enjoy,i could listen to him alll day.He's seen quite alot.And im still estatic about the filly. :D
A real good Wyoming horseman, name of Bill, told me this story and I never forgot it.

He rode a lot of country and rode on a lot of cattle and he always rode a horse and led a horse. He was a real believer in not riding a horse too hard. He had a couple that were his favorites. Called the mare "Muggins" and the gelding, "Kiddo." Those horses had been led so much that he could rope and doctor a yearling and the horse he was leading wouldn't take the slack out of the lead rope, regardless of what went on.

This was the time when a good horse cost about $300. There was a fella that wanted to buy Muggins pretty bad. This particular day, Bill had just gotten in from riding and he was turning his horses loose. He was just about to take the halter off Muggins when the guy asked what he would take for her that day. For some reason, he said, "$800." As he related the story he said he could have cut his tongue out and was afraid the guy would take him up on the offer because then he would have to keep his word and sell the horse for $800. But the fella said, "would you take $700?" As Bill went ahead and took the halter off the mare to turn her loose, he said, "No, and I wouldn't take $800 now."

His advice was to never price a horse unless you are serious. Somebody might pay it.
Great posts and a great poem Northern Rancher. Iv'e been around my share of horses over the years. Driving and riding. Ive had the pleasure to handle some real good ones, but I don't know if there is a perfect horse. One always has that special horse in his mind and alot of us have come close. I guess that's what keeps us looking and continuing the quest.

You can drag your saddle off of a thousand horses and you will always have that one or two that will forever be your best. Three things you never forget..... Your first saddle, your first girl friend, and your first horse.

Over the years Iv'e come to the conclusion,Good horses are usually made and not boughten.
This poem came to mind and just couldn't resist!


the little critter was black and white
he musta' come from the paint breed
though I broke and trained him all by myself
he was a peculiar kind of steed

he was an orphan who's mother didn't have any milk
so I taught him to get his milk from a pail
course' the little devil took a likin' to me
he'd come at my call without fail

he sure was a cute little rascal from the start
though his conformation wasn't the best
he was pigon toed in front, cowhocked in back
with ugly fairly spread through the rest

his head was to big for his poor little body
he was thin as a razor backed hog
his tail had most of the hair at the end
like it'd been drug through the knothole of a log

breakin' him to ride wasn't much of a task
he was gentle, never offered to buck
I sure didn't get much of a rein on him though
'bout as handy as a sore footed duck

it was always real simple to get him caught
in the corral or out on the flat
I'm not too sure that he didn't have worms
cause' he never had a spare ounce of fat

He could run about as fast as I could walk
but he was "hell for stout" as they say
then dad said that he had to go to the sale
though I argued, he wouldn't let him stay

it was sure a sad day when we hauled him to town
he'd just turned four that spring
though I was a big boy, at the age of fourteen
I had tears as he went through that ring

I wish that he could still be around
and I've never yet seen his peer
of all of the mounts, I've had in this life
there's not many like that ol' holstien steer
I was wondering why someone would ride something that was "about as handy as a sore-footed duck"~

Absolutely great, Jinglebob. Absolutely great!!

I'll try to put the clapping emoticon on, but I don't have great luck with that, yet. :lol: :lol: :lol:
Jinglebob, how was your horse you wrote about bred? He sounds like a Hancock gelding I had. You didn't scratch his neck or he pawed you; you unbuckled his bridal and held it out for him to pick up, he'd paw you if you drug it over his ears. But when you were in the middle of his back, you were as mounted as it gets. I swapped him when my oldest turned 1 cause he was kicky on all 4 corners. Paigy likes horses, and I don't function well when my kids bleed.

Faster Horses, you did right passing that sale barn swapper by. that tired old bullshit of costing $500 extra to unload him, he must not be very easy to load/unload. THe cold hair and barked up hide sounds like he had the 1 week horse swappers training. If he was very proud of the horse, he'd have wormed him and fitted him up. Now a broke cowboy is different, but a swapper that won't keep a horse 45 days to bloom doesn't like that horse. Its real easy to start with a snuffy horse that almost wants to buck and channel his energy into spinning (using hooks), but he'll have no stop. I hate those salebarn training jobs, they make swapping horses not cow horses.

Ropesandogs, llisten to that old man about training your filly. Many oldtimers won't give you their opinion unless you ask, so ask and listen. You have the opportunity to get knolwledge from a previous generation, do it and you're smarter than all the rest of us.

Oh yeah and about branding dogs from some other thread, if you have to brand a dog or a woman, they ain't yours. Swap them off and keep lookin for better.
Brad S
If your askin' about my bestone that is a bay, he's Mr. Bartender for a sire and thats all I remember. Bought him as a colt at a sale and just left a bid on him. I didn't know he had any papers. Turned out he was paint breeding stock. Feller who grew up in this area was trading horses and he picked up these colts down in Nebraska. I sent the papers in for a transfer and never got them back or lost them or whatever.
A few years later, when I realized what I had for a horse, whenever I would see this feller, usually setting around with the other horse traders, I'd always walk up and say, "Hey John. You remember that colt I bought off from you a couple of years back? The Bay with the white stripe and acted kind'a goosey? Man, I just love that horses!" And all of them traders would laugh and mutter amongst themselves that they wished someone would say that to them! It sure was good for a laugh and totally true.
I tried to find more bred like him, but it must have been a dispersion or one time deal or maybe even kind'a crooked on somebody's part, cuz I never found another like him. I do remember that he showed no Hancock in the papers I got with him, but I think there was only the sire and dam. He'll be 13 or 14 this spring.
I've got a neighbor who had a one eyed stud, that when they did the research on him, showed to have the highest percentage of Hancock blood of any horse in the US. I know of one of his colts and John may still have the old stud.
I've never rode any, but have heard good things about them.

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