year 1911 or 1912, a brilliant white colt with brown eyes was born. As he
frolicked at his mother's side, it was unknown that he would become
the foundation stallion for a breed of horse known as the Camarillo
White Horse; which over the next 95 years would create a family
tradition, a new breed of horse, and a legend as well.
when Sultan was nine or ten years old, Adolfo Camarillo (Founder of the
city of Camarillo, California) discovered this "Stallion of a Dream"
and purchased him from the Miller and Lux cattle ranch at the
Sacramento State Fair.
over the next few years, won many stock championships throughout
California. Adolfo bred Sultan to Morgan mares at the Camarillo
Ranch. Adolfo never sold his land or a white horse: however, on
rare occasions, the Camarillo family would make gifts of the prized
Camarillo White Horses became famous over the years as they paraded
and performed at fiestas and other activities. They became well
known at the Pasadena Rose Parades; attended the parade to open the
Oakland Bay Bridge; a Los Angeles parade to raise war bonds; and
went to the Santa Barbara Fiesta parades since they began in the
'30's. Often dignitaries would be seen riding the Camarillo White
Horses, including: President Harding, Governor Ronald Reagan; John
Mott; movie star Leo Carrillo; and the son of President Gerald Ford.
Ortiz was the guardian of the Camarillo White Horses from the early
'30's until 1987. He had the responsibility of the care and
breeding; as well as grooming many horses for each event they
attended. On December 31, 1937, "Mellie" as he was called,
saved the white horses when a fire burned the Camarillo barn down. The horses were released from the stalls, but were too
frightened to leave the barn. Being familiar with Mellie, the horses followed him to safety.
Adolfo Camarillo died in 1958, the ownership of the horses fell to
his daughter Carmen, who faithfully carried on parading the horses
for the enjoyment of the people of Ventura County until her death in
1987. On December 12, 1987, according to her wishes, the horses were
sold at public auction, ending the tradition of exclusive ownership
of the majestic white horses by the Camarillo family.
horses went their separate ways for the first time in 65 years. The
City of Camarillo especially felt the loss, as the Camarillo White
Horses were a favorite entry at the annual Christmas parade and
Fiesta parade. The horses share the City's symbol with Adolfo
Camarillo which appear on all the street signs, city vehicles,
banks, Chamber of Commerce insignia, and shopping centers.
auction the horses were not seen until 1989, when Priscilla Galgas,
Nadine Webb, Steven Pettit, Jane and Martin Gish decided to regroup
the horses. Before long, the Camarillo White Horses were once again
prancing to the standing ovations of the parade watchers, who truly
love the symbolism of the old Spanish ways of California, which the
horses have come to represent.
with only eleven white horses remaining, it became apparent the
horses could possibly die out. The idea for an association began
and in 1992 the Camarillo White Horse Association came into being.
The next year, three white foals were born, bringing the total to
15 Camarillo White Horses in Ventura County.
Currently, there are 20 known living white horses -- three
stallions, 5 mares, 3 geldings, 2 two-year-old colts and 7 white
foals born so far this year (2010).
Today, the individual owners
continue to breed and parade the Camarillo White Horses to maintain
the lineage and so the people can enjoy them and learn the story of
the noble Camarillo White Horses.
Recently, the Camarillo White Horses were part of an international
study to determine what gene or genes are responsible for the white
coat color. Several populations of white horses were part of
the study, and it was discovered that the Camarillo White Horses
carry a unique mutation of a certain gene partially responsible for
coat color that is found only in the Camarillo White Horses.
With this new found knowledge, it can now be determined if a white
horse that someone believes may be a Camarillo White Horse, is truly
a Camarillo White Horse. There are two laboratories that have
coat color testing for this particular modified gene, one of which
is UC Davis, in CA.