Proud Of East Texas: Matlock Rose - | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas


Proud Of East Texas: Matlock Rose

It's said that anybody who's been connected with the horse industry in any way, for any length of time, has seen Matlock Rose, heard of him, or read about him.

In this age of specialization, to call a man a champion all round cowboy is quite a compliment. But that's an apt description of Matlock Rose, who in every way is a legend among horsemen. Rose was born in Little Elm, TX in 1924 and was riding horses before he could walk. "My daddy, he was a pretty good horseman and that's what I did. He taught me a lot," says Rose.

Rose was already a legend in his twenties. He could rope, cut, and ride with the best rodeo cowboys, and break horses and train them with the top training teams. Rose helped define the quarter horse breed and develop it into the championship species we see today. He says, "They wanted a horse with a lot of speed, early speed and some confirmation. Thoroughbred horses are pretty straight up horses most of them some of them are nice horses but they get too big."

But the quarter horse as it was developed, was perfect for the quick turns and speed of cutting out cattle. Rose's uncanny ability to see potential and his dedication to hard work produced five world championships on four different horses, including the great Peppy San and Peponita -- a record that still stands. "The only time I doubled up was on Peponita. I showed him in '77 and '79 and won it both years," Rose says proudly.

During his 60-year career, Rose has ammassed championships in every field of western horsemanship and been inducted into every prominent horseman hall of fame. Hundreds of articles have been written about him, and the book "Matlock Rose, the Horseman" poignantly tells his life story. This spring, the Matlock Rose Tribute, held by the NCHA, attracted top horseman from around the world, many of whom owed their start to Rose.

Matlock Rose doesn't brag much about his many accomplishments. In fact he puts it this way, "Some people just get along with horses better than others."

"Matlock Rose the Horseman" was written by Sally Harrison and published by Fifth Leg Publishing, P.O. Box 120672, Arlington, TX 76012.

Oralia Ortega, reporting.


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