Day Trips: Poco Bueno's Grave, Vernon

Champion horse remembered in Vernon park

Photo by Gerald E. McLeod

Poco Bueno's grave fills a small park south of Vernon. The championship horse was buried in 1969 standing up near the gate to the famous W.T. Waggoner "Three D" Ranch.

The sleek, brown quarter horse was foaled in 1944 and by 1947 was winning best-of-breed championships at stock expos around the country. Then he began winning on the cutting horse circuit for his owner, E. Paul Waggoner (1889-1967). In 1953, he was named an American Quarter Horse Association champion and was inducted into the AQHA Hall of Fame in 1990.

Photo by Gerald E. McLeod

The American quarter horse is a breed apart. Originally bred for ranch work, the animals are known for their intelligence and ability to outrun other breeds in the quarter-mile, which gave them their name. Texas ranches like the Waggoner, the King, and the 6666 were instrumental in developing the quarter horse. The horse has a lineage that stretches back to hardy Spanish stock, Mustangs, American Indian ponies, and a touch of thoroughbreds. 

In 1940, horsemen formed the AQHA as a pedigree registry and depository of the breed's history. The AQHA Museum and Hall of Fame in Amarillo presents a mix of historic information about breeders, horses, and the West.

Photo by Gerald E. McLeod

Grand champion stallion Poco Bueno passed his good looks and gentle demeanor to 405 registered foals, including 36 champions and three that entered the hall of fame beside him. 

Poco Bueno's grave is northwest of Wichita Falls about eight miles south of Vernon at the intersection of Highway 183/283 and FM 1763. A four-ton monument with a picture of the horse etched into the granite marks the spot. The 520,527-acre Waggoner Ranch sold in 2016 to Stan Kroenke for $725 million.

1,469th in a series. Follow "Day Trips & Beyond," a travel blog, at

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Day Trips
Day Trips: Chisholm Trail Heritage Museum, Cuero
Day Trips: Chisholm Trail Heritage Museum, Cuero
Chisholm Trail rides again

Gerald E. McLeod, Oct. 18, 2019

Day Trips: Three Roll Estate Distillery
Day Trips: Three Roll Estate Distillery
Local rum returns to the land of sugar plantations

Gerald E. McLeod, Oct. 11, 2019


Poco Bueno's grave, W.T. Waggoner 3-D Ranch, E. Paul Waggoner, AQHA Hall of Fame, Stan Kroenke

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle