Ima Hogg loved horses all her life. She was an accomplished horsewoman. Sometimes she rode a white horse named “Joe,” a gift to J. S. Hogg from the governor of Tennessee. Joe was “a gaited horse, a plantation horse, always beautifully groomed so he was a picture under a saddle.” Ima’s brothers were not allowed to ride this horse. Sometimes Ima would ride horseback from the 19th-Street house all the way out to Mount Bonnell, on the outskirts of Austin. That was a ride of about eight miles, there and back.
A University of Texas classmate remembered Ima riding her horse across the campus in “a black close fitting riding-habit that only a woman of superb physique could carry off to perfection, the shining beaver [hat] with its fluttering veil, the gauntlets, the riding-crop, the long sweep of the robe over the feet, the erect and of necessity a bit unnatural carriage in the side saddle. Ima Hogg, unapproachable as she appeared seen atop the gallant steed, was in reality a charming freshman ”
Vacationing in Colorado in 1900, Ima found a pair of horses she wanted to buy, and she wrote to ask her father. He wrote back immediately:
Find out what is the least price that will purchase them delivered at Austin. Are they stylish and good matches? About what will they weigh each? How do they hold their heads? What are their gaits? Do they work single or double? How many times have they run away? What are their ages? How many and what kinds of brands are on them? Have they been scarred, crippled, wind-galled, spavined or stove-up? Have they had the “swiny,” fistula or big-shoulder? Are they poor or fat? Have they long or short tails and manes? Have they a pedigree and if so what is it? From your intimation I infer that you would like to have them, and doubtless you will take an interest in them sufficient to find out the answers to these questions and let me know them. I rather inclined to tell you to buy the horses if you want them on your own judgment and that I will pay for them but upon reconsideration I concluded that it would be best for you to first furnish me with the desired information about them, so that I can pass upon the question of purchase myself.
J. S. Hogg loved his daughter, but he was a shrewd horse-trader.