Carl Miles ~ was an oil man. A wheeler and dealer of the highest order. He once told me he bought over 400 oil wells that had stopped profitable production. I didn't understand it but through some process he was aware of, he opened them up and got most back into profitable production. With the well purchases he got mineral rights and later sold them for deeper well production.
Carl Miles was a friend of Cecil Dobbins. Cecil told Carl that he should get me to do portraits of his top stallions. Over the years I did one of Joker B, Chico, Mr. J. B. and Prince Plaudit. Each time it was an experience to talk to Carl. In minutes you could learn more than a semester in college -- Carl had been there, and did it. He was a risk taker - a charming fellow -- friendly.
This photo was taken at his place south of Abilene, Texas. I was doing the research on Prince Plaudit for a portrait and I ask Carl to bend over so PP's hide would be the photo background. Harry Reed was holding PP and Elmo Favor was helping get ears up. There is another photo in the PHOTOGRAPHING HORSES book taken the same day of Prince Plaudit.
Hank Wiescamp dabbled in Pinto and Appaloosa horses but his heart was in Quarter Horses. Hank raised some of the best in each breed. All were basically the same bloodlines -- line bred Old Fred. When Carl heard about Prince Plaudit he immediately started work on a deal with Wiescamp. No one could smell money like Wiescamp and a fellow like Carl was a choice guest.
Carl went to Alamosa and bought Prince Plaudit, but while he was there, Wiescamp teased him with a drive-by look at over 400 mares mostly of Skipper W breeding. Carl ask, how much for that one, and how much for that one over there. Hank refused to cough up any prices. Carl went back to Texas and continued to call about buying mares. Finally Hank agreed to put some packages together for Carl to consider.
The day came. Hank took Carl to a pasture and had 50 mares which according to Hank would work well on PP. He reportedly priced them for $5000 each. In an hour they drove through the mares and Carl said okay -- he would take the package. Carl ask if there were more and Hank said he did just happen to have another pasture nearby with 50 mares but they were the top end and priced in the $10,000 price each. Carl took them also. That was the foundation of the Prince Plaudit breeding program which dominated the Appaloosa world for 20 years.
After years of brilliant promotion of Appaloosa horses I once ask Carl what his secret was to move so fast and be so successful so quick? This was his answer. "I am a diabetic. Diabetics don't live as long as other people. I always figure I have one year left to live. I plan every investment to culminate in 12 months. I can't make the mistakes others make by giving themselves too much time."
Carl Miles passed away in 1976 while flying over Pennsylvania in Dave Stahlman's plane. Prince Plaudit died in 1988 at 25 years of age.
Author: Darol Dickinson