As we ring in a new year, it can be exciting to examine our past and observe just how much we have advanced technologically. In the year 2018, the vast majority of us make use of motor vehicles to get from one destination to the next. With all of the paved roads, freeways, and infrastructure built to accommodate our modern forms of transportation, it can be difficult to imagine that wild horses once ran across the Antelope Valley.
A century and a half ago, wild horses were a common sight in the valley. In 1884, one Los Angeles based newspaper reported on an area approximately six miles southeast of Lancaster where wild horses could be found nearly every day. Due to their relative abundance in the Antelope Valley and surrounding areas, local horses and horse-drawn vehicles were an important and widely utilized form of transportation during the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Local cowboys, many of whom frequented the saloon located at the Western Hotel, relied upon locally caught and tamed horses for their livelihoods. During this time, however, skills of horsemanship were not exclusively attributable to cowboys and ranchers. Given the limited infrastructure in the Antelope Valley and the fact that towns were located many miles apart, nearly everyone who lived in the area was required to possess some proficiency as a horse rider.
Photo courtesy of MOAH Collections