DNA of the Oak Creek Wild Horses - by Dave Ladd

Every once in a while, we get to touch history, to be part of the past and part of forever at the same time. Such opportunities are rare ... and fleeting.  In the Tehachapi Valley of California, a small herd of wild horses may offer us such an opportunity.

Local lore tells us that the Oak Creek Wild Horses are likely feral, or mustang, horses from the ranch of Roland Hill or F.A. Fickert.  If so, these horses are likely Morgan horses from what was once the largest breeding ranch of Morgan horses in the world, the Mountain Vale Ranch of Richard Sellman in Rochelle, Texas.  Sellman Morgan History Face Book Page 

Many a Morgan horse breeding program has sought to reclaim the "old style" Morgan horse.  The horse that served so well, before the breed was "refined" to compete with the saddlebred in the big dollar market of the new show world.  If these horses are what they are said to be, they represent 100 years of undiluted Morgan breeding of what is undisputed as among the finest and heartiest line of Morgans ever produced. They also represent 100 years of natural selection of the Morgan horse, with no human intervention; survival of the strongest and reproduction of the fastest.

While many who have seen, and trained these horses believe, by their sturdy build, calm nature, and great intelligence that they are, in fact, Morgan horses.  But such beliefs can be easily disputed.  This project seeks to raise funds to conduct genomic sequencing against known Morgan horses of these lines to determine, factual lineage to the Morgan breed and, possibly to the Sellman lines.  It is necessary to first build a library of Morgan DNA and near neighbors, such as the spanish mustang.  Building this library is the bulk of the costs of this project as hundreds of DNA samples must be collected and processed.

If the research supports that the Oak Creek Horses are, in fact, Morgan horses, the genelogical, evolutionary and conformational data will be invaluable to breeding programs in providing sustainable traits and helping support the Morgan horse of the future.  Regardless the outcome, the Oak Creek horses will not be registerable as Morgans, but they will provide us with historical perspect and correct and accurate data as to what a Morgan would have a Morgan look like.

The fund raising objective is based upon the initial estimate by a university capable of conducting this research, plus fees retained by this fundraising site.  Should we fall short of our fund raising goal to accomplish this study, and are forced to cancel, donated funds will be used to provide veterinary care and support of the Oak Creek Wild Horses until expended. 

The following link will take you to the GoFundMe page if you'd like to contribute:

DNA Testing of Oak Creek Wild Horses