The Handbook of Texas is free-to-use thanks to the support of readers like you. Support the Handbook today.

Font size: A / A reset

Horse Tales

W. W. Bennett General

Horse Tales: True Stories of Great Horses, began as an annual in 1972 as a sister special-interest publication to Badman (dealing with outlaws of the frontier West) and Gold! (tales of treasure in the old West), both published by Western Publications, Incorporated, of Austin. Founded and owned by Joe Austell Small, the magazine was devoted to true stories of all kinds of horses, including "racing, rodeo, any breed, any type...from anywhere," but expressed a preference that most be from America. The magazine was not a technical publication for equestrians; it included stories devoted to riding horses and "farm nags." As with many other Western Publications magazines, Horse Tales included lengthy editorials by the publisher, who frequently signed his contributions "Hosstail," a derivative of his middle name, Austell. The magazine had few ads. Its sections included "Bob Tales" (very brief horse stories submitted by readers), and "Second Saddle" (letters to the editor, which dealt primarily with other Western Publications magazines). Horse Tales also included stories reprinted from other Western Publications magazines and other sources, including a selection on the horse ("Bred for Endurance and Speed") from the 1850s New Illustrated Natural History by J. G. Wood. Other articles included "Comanches and their Horses" and "When Booger-Red Rode the Man-Killer Gray," reprinted from J. Frank Dobie's The Mustangs (1951) and Cow People (1964), respectively, and Frederick B. Gipson's "Wee Willy and the Goosey Dun" and "The Lost Fingers of Mack Hughes." The magazine had a full-color cover and included black-and-white photographs submitted by contributors. Illustrators included Randy Steffen, Al Martin Napoletano and B. D. Titsworth. The magazine also included reproductions of illustrations by Frederic Remington. The short-lived magazine had a quirky publishing schedule and only produced four issues. Volume 1, Number 2 was labeled "Fall 1972" (despite the premiere issue, released that summer, labeled as "Annual"). Number 3 was issued Spring 1974 and Number 4 was Winter 1974; no magazines were issued in 1973. Pat Wagner, who served as editor on other Western Publications magazines, was editorial director for Horse Tales. The magazine sold for fifty cents.


  • Journalism
  • Writers, Authors, Publications, and Literature
  • Publications, Journals, and Magazines

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

W. W. Bennett, “Horse Tales,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed September 26, 2020,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.