Sweetwater Ranch – A Gem in the Desert
Lancaster – Just about quarter of a mile north of East Avenue J on 70th Street East is Sweetwater Ranch owned and operated by Monica Whitmer. Monica came to the recent Los Angeles County Parks & Recreation’s Park Assessment meeting and spoke on behalf of an equestrian center for Lake Los Angeles. One-third of the audience was for the center and prepared to speak. Monica’s comments were so all-encompassing and clear-cut, she said it all for all of the supporters. A visit to her ranch was far in excess of what was anticipated. It is a sprawling 5-acre ranch that today houses thirty-two horses. Monica owns nine of them, the rest are boarders. Six of the nine are lesson horses for Monica’s students. Three of them are private horses. Two of this bunch are Tehachapi Mountain horses. In Tehachapi there is a herd of approximately 120 wild horses that are descendants of Morgan Ranch horses and they all look alike. They are very pretty black or nearly black horses. In the 1850’s a little band of six horses, mares and stallions, got away and created their own herd. Monica said, “Morgans are a different horse. They are rock solid in temperament and they are all identical.” Two brothers at the ranch were so much alike the untrained eye could not tell them apart. There was a slight difference. Monica pointed out was one has a little white on the left rear hoof the next one had no white. One had a slightly crooked foot. As such Monica said he will be trained to be a carriage horse. Pictured with Monica is Morgan Wrong-Way Corrigan, Corey for short. Corey was not impressed with a camera in his face but Monica convinced him to hold still for one shot. What was explained to me was not many people are aware that Tehachapi has its own wild herd and breed of horse, mostly of Morgan bloodlines that have occupied and roamed Oak Creek Canyon for decades. Monica recalled in October of 2014 she attended a training challenge in the area where five newly captured two to three year olds colts and fillies were persuaded into pens and then transported by trailer to Sterling Arena. There for three days trainers were given the time to work with the horses. On the fifth day, the youngsters were auctioned off. Monica was one of five trainers to donate their time to train these horses and prepare them for auction and their new homes. On October 22, 2014, The Tehachapi News ran an article Oak Creek Wild Horses star in the horse event of the year by Jon Hammond. Hammond said, “The horses have lived in Oak Creek for many generations; the herd requires occasional thinning to reduce their numbers. They have no natural predators and if left unchecked their population continues to grow beyond the capacity of the land.” With California’s drought, this is complicated further. A website you might want to visit to learn more about these incredible creatures is http://oakcreekwildhorses.com/. If you type Oak Creek wild horses there are some websites where you can read more about their history. To learn more about Sweetwater Ranch and the services offered, please make an appointment to visit Monica at the ranch. For more information, call Monica at Sweetwater Ranch - 661-902-9892.