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Wild horses of Oak Creek


Since moving to Oak Creek Canyon in 1986, we've always wondered where these wild horses came from, how long they've been here, what breed are they, etc. In all my years of researching to find answers, it seems we now have at least one major question answered.

A recent X-ray on one of the horses shows that these have 5 lumbar vertebrae. Morgan and Arabian horses have 5 lumbar vertebrae, while other breeds have 6. They certainly don't look like Arabians, so must be the Morgan just as we have always believed, strong Morgan influence.

Documentation I stumbled on in our county records shows that one landowner, Max Enderle, back in 1918 gathered about 40 head of his branded range horses and sold them to Roland Hill in Tehachapi. Enderle not only owned property here where the horses are now, but also south of Roland Hill's ranch, over on the south side of Cummings Mountain. Arnold Rojas states in his book "These Were the Vaqueros", that Max Enderle bred and broke horses and delivered them to Roland Hill. That documentation also notes the township, range and sections where Enderle gathered his horses.

Roland Hill and F.A. Fickert were both local Morgan Horse breeders back in the early 1900's. Roland Hill obtained some of his breeding stock from Richard Sellman, a Morgan horse breeder in Texas. These could very well be descended from their stock. Next would be to find a way to compare our horses to Morgans with known lineage back to the Sellman and Hill Morgans, if that is even possible.

On Oct. 9-11 in Tehachapi, is an event called the "Vaquero Heritage Trainers Challenge", it will be held at 19271 Cherry Lane. Only horses from Oak Creek are used in this event (see page 16).

This event is meant to showcase local horse trainer's abilities, as well as to give the horses a solid foundation and ultimately homes.  Eight trainers picked up eight wild horses from the Tehachapi Mountains in mid June, and are training them now; they will show up at the event Oct. 9th.   The main event in which the trainers will be judged will be a second horse, assigned to them by lottery at the event.  This will be a younger horse approximately 2-3 years old. There is no expectation of riding in 3 days. Instead the judges will follow the progress of each trainer and their horse and score the trainers on connection, on how far they've reached into the horse and drawn him into a bond.  Each trainer will be scored individually based on their progress with the horses, and not against each other.

Throughout the years we have heard many locals refer to these horses as "just a bunch of feral, mangy, inbred, or good-for-nothing horses", never complimentary, and yet we have seldom heard of anyone owning one, let alone riding it. While they may be feral and have been secluded here for a very long time, they are a far cry from good-for-nothing. Come to the Vaquero Heritage Trainers Challenge and see what these exceptionally nice minded, beautiful horses can do. Many of the horses will be auctioned off on Sunday of the event, giving you a chance to own one of these beauties. Tickets are $12 at the gate, but can be purchased online at a discount at:


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