So much of model horse history is connected to "real horse" history, that I spend a lot of time in the Library doing research on this, my favorite research topic.
And there's no better place in my area -- or perhaps in the country -- to do that research than at the W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Library on the campus of Cal Poly Pomona.
WKKAHL is one of the world’s largest public collections of Arabian horse materials, a research facility open to anyone interested in the Arabian horse. The Library holds a wealth of information on many breeds of horses influenced by the Arabian -- Thoroughbreds, palominos, Morgans, etc. -- and on the general subjects of equine art and equine history.
I find myself spending a lot of time looking through horse magazines from the 1940s through 1960s there, searching for clues about the development of the model horse hobby in the advertisements from that era, along with articles about horse book authors and illustrators. Sometimes I come across a photo in a magazine of a real horse that inspired a model horse; for example, the Arabian stallion FERSEYN, who was the subject of two Maureen Love designs for Hagen-Renaker, Inc.
|Ferseyn, from a 1950s issue of Western Livestock Journal. |
Used by permission.
WKKAHL also holds the Gladys Brown Edwards and Cecil Edwards Papers, which provide a wealth of detail about GBE's life and work as an equine artist and Arabian horse authority.
|One of Gladys Brown Edwards' scrapbooks and an example of her work for Dodge, Inc. |
were on display at WKKAHL during their "Becoming Gladys Brown Edwards" exhibit.
|GBE's trophy of the Arabian stallion "Islam" was called the Classic Arabian. |
Also from the "Becoming" exhibit.
WKKAHL is about to close its exhibit "Horse Drawn," which featured many wonderful examples of illustrations from horse books.
Beginning May 10, 2018, WKKAHL will host a first-of-its-kind exhibit with deep, deep ties to the model horse community: the subject is the California pottery Hagen-Renaker, Inc.
It's indeed fitting that WKKAHL host this important exhibit. The Arabian Horse Library is part of Cal Poly Pomona Library Special Collections, which has a focus on local history. The Hagen-Renaker factory in San Dimas is only a few miles from CPP, and the company has been family-owned and operated since the late 1940s.
Many times when I make a research trip to WKKAHL, I also make time to see the W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Center, across the CPP campus. It's the oldest continuous breeding program of Arabian horses in the United States. Students of any major can participate in the breeding, riding, or training programs.
Quoting from their website:
"The W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Center was established in 1925 by the cereal magnate Will Keith Kellogg of Battle Creek, Michigan. In his quest to fulfill a childhood dream, W.K. Kellogg sought out the finest Arabian bloodlines of the day to begin a breeding program at his winter home in Pomona, California. He acquired horses from within the United States and abroad, importing several horses from Lady Wentworth’s famed Crabbet Arabian Stud in England.
"The ranch became a popular destination for 1920s Hollywood stars to visit rare Arabian horses, and Kellogg’s horses appeared in several films. The ranch became so popular that a show was established on Sundays in order to better showcase the Arabian horses.
"W.K. Kellogg presented the ranch to the state of California in 1932 with the stipulation that the Arabian breeding program and the Sunday Shows be maintained.
"During World War II, use of the ranch was given to the U.S. Army as a facility for breeding war horses. The Kellogg Ranch became the Pomona Quartermaster Depot in 1943. One of the most notable events of the army days was the acquisition of the Polish Arabian horses that were rescued ahead of the advance of the Russian army at the end of the war. Twenty-one Polish Arabians, including the stallion *Witez II, were brought to the ranch in 1946.
"The U.S. Army ceased breeding horses in 1948, and the Ranch was transferred into the ownership of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. During this time, much of the ranch’s best stock was dispersed around the country. The future of the ranch seemed uncertain, and envoys from both the Kellogg Foundation and the Kellogg Company went to Washington to lobby for its continuation.
"The ranch was turned over to California State Polytechnic College San Luis Obispo as their southern branch in 1949. This new venture by Cal Poly joined forces with the Voorhis School, a men’s agricultural college, which was located in nearby San Dimas. All instructional programs were moved to the present campus in 1956. Cal Poly Voorhis-Kellogg Campus admitted its first female students in 1961. The newly co-educational college separated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 1966, and attendance had grown large enough by 1972 for Cal Poly Pomona to be granted University status. Today, Cal Poly Pomona has an average enrollment of 22,000 students in programs within eight different academic colleges.
"The W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Center’s current breeding philosophy was established in 1964 when Norman K. Dunn was appointed as Manager of the Horse Department. Professor Dunn surmised that the Arabian breed was surpassing the insular breeding program at Cal Poly, and proposed that Cal Poly mares be bred to outside stallions. Some of the first outside stallions suggested for breeding to Cal Poly mares were *Bajram, *Bask, Fadjur, and The Real McCoy. The breeding program continues in this tradition today, breeding to the top stallions from all over the United States."
|A friendly Arabian gelding at the Kellogg Horse Center.|
One of the most celebrated Kellogg Arabians of the 1980s was the multi-champion Park Horse Reign On, a son of *Bask.
The Kellogg Arabian Horse Center is located in spacious buildings that opened in 1974. For nostalgia's sake, when I visit Cal Poly Pomona, I always make sure to look at the old stables on the campus as well. They're only a few steps from the Arabian Horse Library, and bring to mind images of the 1920s and 1930s, when W. K. Kellogg himself would go horseback riding and the Kellogg Arabians brought their grace and athletic ability to numerous motion pictures.
Even though the horse stalls have been converted into student organization offices, the doors and hardware remain in place.
I could go on about the history of the Kellogg Ranch, but Mary Jane Parkinson has already literally written the book on that history:
Here's the WKKAHL website:
Archival footage of the Kellogg Ranch:
British Pathe' has archived this 1930s video of the Kellogg Ranch:
The Kellogg Arabian Ferseyn was the inspiration for Maureen Love's model of the Hagen-Renaker horse of the same name in the 1950s, and in the 1970s the mold became the Breyer Classic Arab Stallion! Here is *Raseyn, Ferseyn's sire, at the Kellogg Ranch. Ferseyn, who was foaled at the Kellogg Ranch, appears as an old horse here too, starting at 13:35
The Kellogg Arabians appear from 0:37 to 2:08 in this 1951 video:
And a 1993 public television series, California's Gold with Huell Howser, documents the history and activity of the Kellogg Arabian Horse Center, from the beginning of the video through 11:50. (This long-running series always opened with the song, "California, Here I Come" and was aimed at fourth grade California History students, so that's why it seems rather basic. Legions of grownups loved this series as well, though. )