Recently I came across a few treasures at an antique mall – dated but timeless books about horses, including George Tyler’s guide to the economics of the Western horse business.

Making money with Western horses?

Sixteen-year-old George Tyler did in 1926, when he borrowed $35 to buy a green 3-year-old gelding. Tyler put “a little handle” on the horse and sold it a few months later for $100.

“That is when I learned the most important thing about making money with horses,” noted Tyler of that early experience. “Get a horse well-broke, get him looking good and somebody will want to buy him from you.”

One horse led to another for the Gainesville, Texas cowboy and by the time he wrote “Making Money with Western Horses,” in 1964 with journalist Bob Gray, he was an acknowledged expert on buying, selling, and showing Quarter Horses. “He was the smartest horseman I ever knew,” said Matlock Rose, the legendary cutting horse trainer and Tyler’s partner in the 1950’s.

Over the years, Tyler’s partners and clientele included King Ranch, Waggoner 3-D Ranch, Hank Wiescamp, Gordon B. Howell, Lester Goodson, Rex Cauble and B.F. Phillips, Jr. He also served as ring steward for the Fort Worth Livestock Show and Rodeo for 25 years, and at one time single-handedly judged the entire American Quarter Horse Congress in Columbus, Ohio.

George Tyler

Here are a few of Tyler’s words of wisdom from “Making Money with Western Horses“:

Everybody knows the price of an old $65 horse or mule, but nobody knows what a good horse or mule might bring.

Never look at the good things about a horse. They will take care of themselves. Look for the things you don’t like and weigh them in your mind. Once you own that horse, you have got to live with those bad points.

You will gain more, in prestige as well as dollars, from three outstanding horses than from 50 mediocre horses.

If you get the “big eye” on a horse, that is, if you start liking him too much, you are liable to have trouble making money from the animal.

I’ve never been to a sale in my life where there weren’t some bargains. If nobody else buys those bargains, I’m going to do it.

Tyler died in 1983 and was inducted into the AQHA Hall of Fame in 1998.