HORSE TRADING IN WILLIAMSON COUNTY

HORSE TRADING IN WILLIAMSON COUNTY
By Dub Ramsel

There were two full time horse traders in Georgetown when I arrived to the County in 1952. Fred Perry lived and had his lot on University Avenue, or Hwy 29 west. It was on the south side of the street near the bridge that crossed the South San Gabriel River.

Fred also kept a sorrel stallion for breeding his customer’s mares. This stud had a lot of "Quarter Horse" characteristics and might have been registered with the Quarter Horse Association. He was smoother muscled than one might like to see in a breeding horse, but never the less, threw good looking colts and got to service a lot of mares. I think the breeding fee was $25.00.

Mr. Perry usually had up to half dozen horses there in separate pens from the stallion. These were horses that he had picked up around the county to be resold. Occasionally a mule would also be offered for sale. Anyone driving in from the west on Hwy 29 could see everything he had in his lots. There were vacant lots nearby where prospective buyers could try out the horses if they wanted to. I never saw Fred astride a horse at any time, but his son Butch was quite a skilled rider and would usually be available to help display his goods.

Like most horse traders he had halters on each horse with about ten feet of cotton rope dragging. This made it easier for him to catch the horse for someone to try out. These halters were made of flat woven hemp that cost very little. I have seen the same type on horses and mules in the Ross Horse and Mule Barn in Ft Worth as well as Dude Davis Horse barn in Houston. It was also customary to let the halter go with the animal.

There were no guarantees to go along with the horse sale. It was a "buyer beware" transaction. What you saw is what you got. No returns or refunds. Most of the business was for cash, unless the person was local and well known. Fred sold them like he bought them. When asked a question he would quote the previous owner remembering the good things and dodging the bad things. He treated all his customers’ right unless the customer got "Smart Assed" and tried to outfox him. Then he would show that he was the horse trader and never got out foxed.

Red Hoyle lived on East First Street in Georgetown east of College Street near the park which used to be the Sewer Farm.
Red got around more than Fred and showed his horses at the local livestock sales barns in Williamson County and other sales barns in surrounding counties. If he made a sale he would pay the auction barn a selling fee. He would ride the horse into the ring, make a speech about the animal and let the auctioneer open up and try to get the best price. He also took loads of horses to Horse Auctions throughout the mid Texas area. There he would show them outside as well as inside with the auctioneer doing the talking.

Most prospective buyers knew where Red lived and would go to his house and lots when he was not out on the road. They could, at least, see what he had and come back later if interested.

There is a story about Red selling a horse to on old college professor named McCoy. The McCoy kids were young then and he wanted one gentle for his kids to ride. He picked out one he liked and asked Red if he was gentle for kids. Red then said, my kids ride him and Mc Coy bought the horse. A few days later McCoy came back and was pretty mad. The horse had bucked his kids off and him as well as Mr. Mc Coy remembered that he had told him that the horse had been ridden by kids. Red remembered he told him that his kids had ridden the hors several times but he was going to refund him his money and take the horse back; which he did and suggested that Mr. McCoy give his kids some riding lessons and referred him to his son "Boog". What he failed to tell the old professor was that his boys were all rodeo riders and there weren't many horses they could not ride.

Boog Hoyle was Red's oldest son and he had a place north east of Georgetown where he had facilities for training horses and also taught kids how to ride broncos and bulls.

My relations were always good, so far as I was concerned. He took horses off my hands that did not work out for me and I have bought horses from him that did work out for me, Another incident that I heard tell about Red Hoyle was when he and son Boog were taking a load of bucking horses to some rodeo several hundred miles from where they loaded them. They had been on the road quite some time and were stopped by some official of the Animal Health Department. The officer asked how long it had been since the horses had been rested and watered. Boog was driving and was having trouble thinking up just what to say to the man. Then old Red, who had just had a drag on his jug, said that they could unload them right where they were. They will get plenty of water and rest before you guys get them loaded back on our truck and you will do that. But before old Red could get the tailgate open, the officers stopped him and let he them go on.

There were other men in Williamson County that traded horses as a side line, from their other activities. Dennis Chapman was one of these. He traded in all sorts of things. Antiques was his usually his thing. He would pick up items that he could put in his store or sell alone the way. It was not unusual for Dennis to come into town with a load of Shetland Ponies. He would park in places where a lot of people congregated and sell them to Grand Papas who wanted to make points with their grand kids. He would also buy some unbroken young horses and after his kids rode them for awhile, would find buyers for them The Chapman boys which were four on all were fair hands with horses and liked to play cow boys.

Old Dennis was a good hand with horses until he had an accident involving a stud horse that he encountered one day up in the Crocket Gardens ranch pasture which was at the third "Booty" of the North Gabriel River. Dennis was riding a gelding when this stud charged his horse and bit a hunk out of Dennis's leg. I don't think Dennis rode a horse after that incident. It did not stop him from trading never the less.

Another man named Lynn Warwick who lived at Prairie Dell just north of Jarrell, Texas. He was a horse trader of a different type. He was a rancher who went to all the horse sales around the Central Texas area. Sometimes he would take part in the sale by starting the bidding on each horse. If no one upped his bid he would buy the horse. He would start out by pointing out any physical defects the horse might have such as wire cuts or hips knocked down etc. Then he would tell any good things he knew about the horse-and skip anything bad that he might know. Most horses that came up for sale were from ranches and were used a lot. The screw worm made horses show signs of hard use because a hard ridden horse would have saddle marks shooing that a man had sat on them many hours. Lynn could tell a hard working horse from some "fluke" that someone had done a bad job of training. Most horses are honest from the beginning, but man makes them be what they turn out to be.
When Lynn got his trading horses home he would either try them out or let his son Donny Warwick ride them before presenting them to the customers. The horses that were not ok would be sent to the slaughter house in North Texas.

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