Kirk and Terri Smith submitted this photo they took of some of the Oak Creek Wild Horses that were visible from Tehachapi-Willow Springs Road.
Kirk described seeing the horses while visiting Tehachapi earlier this year: "My wife and I spotted this herd of wild Morgan horses in the hills above Tehachapi from Tehachapi-Willow Springs Road. We stopped to take some pictures and got very close to them. It was a magical encounter for us."
While it has been impossible to determine the exact origins of this herd, they have roamed Oak Creek Canyon for more than 100 years, and they are believed to have descended from Morgan stock. All of them are black or dark brown, with occasional white socks or blazes.
Diana Palmer and her late husband Steve were the longtime caretakers of Oak Creek Canyon for Cal Portland Cement Co., which owns most of the canyon floor, and the two meadows where the horses can often be found. Diana still looks after the canyon and has been the chief protector and advocate for the wild horses for many years.
The Oak Creek Wild Horses are sometimes adopted out, because they will become too numerous for the limited amount of feed available if their numbers are not kept manageable. Jeremy Dunn and other trainers have trained some of these wild horses to help make them more adoptable, and Jeremy has conducted the Vaquero Trainers Challenge in recent years so different horse trainers could show how well they were able to work with these hardy horses.
More information is available at oakcreekwildhorses.com.
NATURAL SIGHTINGS is a regular feature of the Tehachapi News edited by Jon Hammond which showcases photos of the natural beauty that enhances the quality of life in Tehachapi. If you have a good quality image of plants, animals, insects, trees, birds, weather phenomena, etc., taken in the Tehachapi area, you may submit it to the Tehachapi News for possible publication. Submissions can be dropped by the News office in the form of a print or CD, or sent by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.