Often times we take
for granted the things we have readily available at the time
in life. But the truth of the matter is, nothing lasts forever.
It is after it is gone that we begin to see the significance
of what we once had and how much we neglected it or simply
just did not realize exactly what we had on our hands. Truth
can be said of one particular black quarter horse whom we
have come to love…
One day in 1950, a cattle rancher from Throckmorton, TX named
G.D. “Nig” London was visiting with S. B. Middlebrook
at his ranch in Vernon, TX. Nig was bragging about what good
colts he had. Mr. Middlebrook told Dad, "I'm glad you
like them so much because I am going to give a filly to your
daughter Georgia. Nig was not in the horse business and knew
that Nig would have to take the filly if it was a gift for
his daughter Georgia. Georgia broke and rode that filly she
called Ginger every day. AQHA registered this filly London
Ginger with AQHA # 0075745. Ginger was used at the ranch to
ride the pastures, rope, work and cut cattle.
Nig London remembers London Ginger, “We started riding
her when she was a two-year-old. The main thing I liked about
Ginger was she would trot about seven to ten miles an hour.
The other cowboys would have to long trot or lope to keep
up. They sure did hate to see me catch her when we were going
to the back side of a big pasture. You could jump a cross-bred
Brahma cow on her and that mare would trot along beside the
cow until she trotted her down, and a cross-bred Brahma cow
is the hardest thing I know to trot down. Ginger was both
a roping horse and a cutting horse. We rode her until she
was seven years old, then Georgia and I decided we would breed
London Ginger was by Mike Norfleet Jr. out of a Dan Waggoner
mare. She traced back to Barney Owens on top who sire Dan
Tucker, who in turn sired Peter McCue and on down. She also
carried Yellow Wolf blood on the top and bottom who traced
back to Steel Dust and Shiloh. Her dam side goes back to Dan
Waggoner who traces back to Lone Star, Yellow Jacket, Peter
McCue and Old Joe Bailey.
County Joe AQHA #2303 (photo credit: AQHA Hall of
In 1962 Nig bred Ginger
and recalls the occasion of his first sight of Bogie Black
in his book Through the Years; a Collection of Cowboy
Stories, in pages 114-145. “... I took London
Ginger up to Allen Reed and bred her to a Hancock horse named
King County Joe. She had a little black horse
colt in the spring out on Boggy Creek. The first time I ever
saw him, he was the muddiest little dickens I had ever seen.
So I said we should call him Boggy. We raised a lot of horses
out of Boggy. I leased Boggy and a bunch of mares to Slim
Williamson and James Hardin in Louisiana. They raised, trained
and sold a lot of good horses.”
Nig owned G.D. London Cattle Co. which was headquartered in
Throckmorton County. It was here where one of Nig's ranch
hands, Kocker, broke Bogie when he was coming two year old.
Kocker rode Bogie for a year. Renowned cutting horse trainer
Jack Ray rode him for the next year and a half working cattle
on Bogie Black. According to long life friend and working
partner Jacky Watkins from Throckmorton, TX, Jack Ray was
heard to have said that, “there wouldn’t have
been no Doc Bar if Nig would have let him show Bogie Black.
Bogie had more style, class, natural talent and worked cattle
with ridiculous ease and determination.” Billy Jack
Whitten of Benjamin, TX picked up where Jack Ray left off
and rode Bogie for the next four years. Jack Whitten remembers
Bogie, “He was an outstanding horse. You could do anything
on him. I used to rope bulls off of him. He was very reliable.”
Nig kept a set of mares
on Bogie to breed back and keep horses for ranch work. Most
of the stud colts were gelded and used in the day to day ranch
operation. Nig was also partners in the Muleshoe Cattle Company
headquartered in Jolly, TX. At one time he kept Bogie with
a band of mares on this 120 thousand acre cattle outfit. Nig
was the manger of all cattle operations until the partnership
Mike Slover of Paduca, TX broke many Bogie Black colts for
Nig and others. He recalls these horses as "good minded
and horses that carried you real good".
During this time, Carroll "Slim" Williamson of Campti,
LA would come to Throckmorton and buy yearling fillies from
Nig. Carroll would then train and sell these horses for cutting
and using horses. It was at one of these visits when he saw
(and rode) Bogie Black cutting cattle while doing ranch work.
Carroll was taken by the natural cow ability and ease that
Bogie Black had to work cattle. By 1977, Nig had put together
a band of Bogie Black mares and was needing an outcross stud
for these mare. It was then that he leased Bogie to Carroll
Williamson. Carroll took Bogie Black to Campti, LA and started
a breeding program around Bogie Black raising cutting and
J.W. Vercher, son-in-law to Carroll describes Bogie, “He
was 14 hands or so, typical quarter horse. His colts had tremendous
speed and very agile.”
Carroll Williamson was a friend and mentor to Bobby Jack Varner
of Louisiana. Carroll helped and taught Bobby Jack the ins
and outs of cutting horses.
Bobby Jack Varner remembers them, “Bogies colts were
very durable horses with a lot of longevity. The geldings
were sometimes slow to mature but once they got over that
they would turn out really good horses. The fillies usually
would pick it up right away and easy to train. Them were good
That partnership continued until Carroll had a stroke in 1980.
After that James
Hardin of Louisiana leased Bogie and a few mares for several
years. James was trying to breed halter horses that could
cut cattle. Bogie was 18 yrs old when James first leased him
in August of 1981 and kept him until July of 1983. By then
Bogie was 20 years old. James remembers, “Even at this
age Bogie still had that cow ingrained in him. When Bogie
would come to a cow, he would drop his head about four inches
and his demeanor would change. Bogie had a perfect set of
legs and a nice long thin neck. He was six inches between
his ears and about 10 inches between his eyes. He was a good
looking horse. He had a long flat footed walk and never would
bring his head up.”
James raised a lot of good horses.
In the winter of 1983, Nig took Bogie back to Throckmorton
and turned him out with a set of mares. Bogie Black lived
to be 25 years old and died on June 1, 1989.
Bogie Black produced 261 registered horses of which 16 have
performance records. His get totaled 87.5 AQHA points and
$1819 NCHA earnings. Most of his get were used as ranch horses
because of their ability to work cattle and how quickly they
Bobby Jack Varner continued
to breed, use & show Bogie Black horses after Carroll
Williamson had the stroke in 1980. In fact, Bobby Jack bred
and trained many Bogie get and grand get over the years. He
bought a Bogie Black mare named Black Widow Gal
whom he trained and later bred. She produced five foals which
won $4,808 in NCHA earnings and 3 performance points including
an Incentive Fund Foal mare.
Bandjoe was another Bogie Black horse trained and
ridden by Bobby Jack Varner. The bay gelding was used in High
School Rodeo qualifying his owner to State Finals. He also
earned NCHA money.
was also shown in AQHA earning points in all divisions including
a 1984 AQHA 7th place Youth World Show Cutting.
Another good Bogie mare
was a 1968 black mare named Fair Freckles.
Those who knew her said she was an outstanding mare with tremendous
speed. Matlock Rose offered to buy her at one time. She was
shown with earnings of $801 in NCHA dollars, 8 AQHA Open Performance
Points and 3 Youth Performance Points.
Fair Freckles produced
a total of nine foals whose get earned a total of 103.5 AQHA
Points in all divisions; $547 of AQHA World Championship show
earned; and over $50,500 of NCHA money earned.' Her get included
a 1981 brown stallion named Freckles Peponita,
Varner on Freckles Peponita, AQHA #542229,
at the 1998 NCHA National Championships (photo credit: Bobby
Bobby Jack Varner
bred, trained and showed Freckles Peponita with much success
earning $40,296 in NCHA dollars and six AQHA Open Performance
Varner on Hombrito, AQHA #2415972 in 1989
(photo credit: Bobby Varner)
Then came Hombrito
in 1985. This red gelding out of Fair Freckles by Bonitas
Little Man gathered a total of 98 AQHA Points, World Championship
Show earnings, ROM in Amateur and Open Team Penning, World
Show Qualifications 1995 thru 1997 as well as a 10th place
in Amateur Team Penning in 1995, including over $10,000 in
NCHA money earned.
on Shuffles Brother AQHA #1516460 (photo
credit Harold Campton)
is another great performing Bogie horse. This 1979 sorrel
gelding was trained and shown by Bobby Jack Varner. Today
at 29 years young he is still being used to turn back cattle.
His current owner, Cecil Gates of Shreveport, LA shows him
in non-pro and amateur cutting. Shuffles Brother has won points
in Open Show as well as earned winnings of $713 in NCHA money.
Bogies Beauty a 1987 sorrel mare won points
in Open as well as Amateur AQHA Shows. She earned her ROM
in Amateur in 1997; ROM Open in 1998; Qualified for the Open
and Amateur Team Penning World Show in 1998 and 1999. She
has 24 open performance points and 31.5 amateur performance
points. At the time of this writing she is 21 yrs old and
is still going strong, being used in team penning. Her current
owners say she is a joy to ride, good with kids and very fast.