Estate of Manuel Saenz Escobar and Tomasita Vera de Saenz - Santa Cruz, Texas
The breeding of Jacks, (burros) to mares was a common practice in the early 1900s in order to produce big, strong, working mules for the farms and ranches of South Texas. The big field tractors that we know today were still not in existence and the mules did much of the heavy work.
One of the breeders of southern Duval County was Manuel Saenz Escobar. On the cover photo was a 1-1/2 year old, big Kentucky bred Jack bought by his son, Alcario V. Saenz, in Cotulla, Texas from the Sutton family in 1935 for $600.00. The photo with the Jack shown by Manuel V. Saenz was taken in 1937 when the Jack was 3-1/2 years old.
The Jack was bred to the Saenz' mares and the production of mules was sold to the area farmers and ranchers. An average pair of mules sold for $300.00.
In 1938 the Jack contacted a hoof infection in the back leg and Manuel took him to the legendary King Ranch veterinarian Dr. J.K. Northway. He kept the Jack for two months trying to bring him back to good health. At the time the stable where Dr. Northway kept the animals was where the athletic dormitory is today, adjacent to the Texas A&M University @ Kingsville Javalina stadium.
The Jack died and when Manuel tried to pay Dr. Northway for the care and treatment that he had given it, he refused payment. He said, "As much as I loved that animal, I couldn't take any payment for him." Manuel then brought two mares as gifts to Dr. Northway. He kept one and bred the other one to a King Ranch stallion and returned it to Manuel.
The Saenz' continued breeding Jacks as Agapito Saenz, another brother was known to have brought a high price of $600.00 for a pair of mules from Eduardo Lopez of the San Jose community in Duval County in the early 1940s, right before he went off to war in the Pacific where he met his untimely death in the Battle of Leyte in 1944.
I'd like to thank Manuel V. Saenz for providing us with valuable information on early South Texas breeding.
Today, Jacks are bred mostly for show or for protection of goats and sheep.
Little Sorrel was a sorrel quarter horse stallion bought by Agapito Saenz from John Fox of Seguin, Tx. on January 7, 1911. Fox, a horse trainer and jockey delivered the stallion by leading him behind a buggy from Seguin to Santa Cruz, Tx. on the banks of the Los Olmos Creek in southern Duval County.
Saenz paid $600.00 for the two year old quarter horse, consisting of three hundred dollars cash and one black horse mule about 7 years old and a black mare mule about 7 years old. Witnesses for the signed record were Manuel Saenz Escobar and Ysidro V. Elisondo.
Agapito died in 1916. Manuel Saenz Escobar, who was Agapito's adopted son, placed the stallion in the care of Anastacio Saenz, his cousin of Mesquite Bonito in Duval county and a known horse trainer and breeder in South Texas.
From 1914-1924, Little Sorrel was known as one of the fastest quarter horses from San Antonio to Brownsville. He was known to run the quarter mile in 21 seconds. His sire was the famous American Quarter Horse Association Foundation Sire, Ace of Hearts.
Anastacio bred Little Sorrel to his mares, which to this day Anastacio' grandchildren and great-grandchildren still carry Little Sorrel' genes in their horses. Saenz also was a good friend of the King Ranch and he took Little Sorrel to Dr. Northway to breed some of their mares. Probably today there are horses on the King Ranch still carrying the genes of Little Sorrel.
This quarter horse stallion left his mark in South Texas, winning many races and producing many offspring. Little Sorrel died of old age at Anastacio Saenz' ranch, Mesquite Bonito.