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He was born in Cumby, Texas and raised in Weatherford, Texas. Before he was twenty years old he had successfully earned a living trading horses and mules and raising cattle and sheep. The common trading practice – "cheat or be cheated" – is reflected in his stories, told using the language and humor of the area and not excluding himself from either outcome.
It is often said that he studied at Cornell University and in England but Cornell University has no record of this, and he did not ever become a certified or licensed doctor of veterinary medicine according to records from the Texas State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners. He was persuaded to settle in Fort Stockton, Texas and practiced in the entire Trans-Pecos Region. A large part of his work involved identifying plants which grew in that alkali soil and contained substances poisonous to horses, cattle, sheep, and hogs (lechuguilla, yellow-weed, pinguey, locoweed).
- Horse Tradin', New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1967
- Some More Horse Tradin', Amazon, 2000
- The Village Horse Doctor West of the Pecos, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1971
- Wild Cow Tales
- A Thousand Miles of Mustangin', Northland Press
- Horse Tales
- The Color of Horses: A Scientific and Authoritative Identification of the Color of the Horse, Northland Press, 1974
- The Shield Mares, Encino Press, 1967
- Green, The Village Horse Doctor, Knopf, 1971.
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