In 1852, Dan Waggoner started a ranch in the North Texas region around Vernon, located just south of the Red River, which separated Texas from Indian Territory.
The W. T. Waggoner Estate was the nation’s largest ranch under one fence. It comprised 520,000 acres in six counties and was the home for 12,000 mother cows. The ranch originally operated under the name of Dan Waggoner & Son. Dan died in 1903, leaving everything to his son, Tom. In 1923, Tom formed what today is known as the W. T. Waggoner Estate. Its interests included a cow/calf operation, farming and oil operations – and horses.
The Waggoner contribution to the Quarter Horse industry has long been recognized. Horses like Waggoner’s Rainy Day, Midnight, (One Eyed) Waggoner, Yellow Wolf, Yellow Jacket, Pretty Boy, Pretty Buck, Snipper W, Pep Up, Jesse James and, of course, Poco Bueno still appear in the pedigrees of many great horses of today. Some of these were bred strictly for ranch work, and others for the show arena, but they all had one thing in common – they were cow horses.
W. T. Waggoner also loved horse racing, and he is credited with being the primary force in legalizing pari-mutuel wagering in Texas in 1934.
In some ways, the job of a cowboy on the Waggoner Ranch hasn’t changed much since 1903. It’s still a horseback job that starts with each cowboy feeding his horses before breakfast and hauling the horses to wherever that day’s work is going to take place.
The Waggoner Ranch utilized the Remount Stallion Strideaway (TB).
Photograph courtesy of The Quarter Horse Journal