Les Vogt Biography
page 1 of 6 pages
To read Les's NRCHA Hall of Fame bio, click HERE.
I was raised around traditional California bridle horses in California's
Central Valley where my Dad farmed and ranched. I was an inquisitive kid and got
the kind of horseman's education you couldn't buy, then or today. My dad,
Norman, hired on with several ranches after the war and I can remember watching
him with the other cowboys as they worked in the corrals and feed lots. I'd hide
and watch them, because they had no time for a kid. It was like a secret club
they were all in, and I knew from the first moment that their work with the
horses and the cattle was what I wanted.
It's natural that I ended up riding because my Dad and my Grandpa were
horsemen, and I always admired them, worshipped them almost. I fell in love with
western horses watching John La Mothe, a cowboy and horse trainer who worked
with Dad. John's horses were so soft, so confident in their work. I still
remember how tall and proud he rode, and I knew that I was seeing my
I can remember my Grandpa Chet, who was a real old-timey horse trader who
handled most of his work from his office, which was the local saloon. He'd get
to trading with some of the other guys, and holler out for one of the kids-
usually my Dad- to get one of the horses and bring it around. They did a lot of
trading sight unseen, too- like a blind horse for a runaway team, that kind of
real horse trading that was helped along by drinking and ego. But they really
were knowledgeable about horses- it was in their blood, and mine too.
My Grandma, who lived to be over 100 years old despite Grandpa, used to tell
us stories about the days when Grandpa was into harness racing in Ohio. They
lived in the tack room at the track, and Grandpa was obsessed with his horses.
He had a world's champion pacer too- a horse called Chet Volo. Grandpa gave me a
bottle of liniment that he said would cure anything- he claimed it would even
dissolve ring-bone. I've never had the nerve to use it, especially since it's
been fermenting all those years, but it sure worked for Grandpa. He was one of
the real horse whisperers.
continue to page 2 of 6
is excerpted from David Stoecklein's book The Western Horse.
For more information about world renowned western photographer David
Stoecklein's work, visit Stoecklein Publishing. Reprinted with permission, Stoecklein
Publishing and author. © 1998 Suzanne Drnec