California Riding Magazine • March, 2008

Views & Reviews
Arabian Treasure at Cal Poly, Pomona

by Nan Meek

When I first began looking for books about the Arabian breed to review for this issue, I never dreamed I’d find a treasure trove. That’s what I discovered, however, at the W. K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Library at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.

When You Say Kellogg

Most people think of breakfast cereal when you say “Kellogg” … unless, of course, you’re familiar with the early history of the Arabian breed in America. The short story is that in 1925, W. K. Kellogg (yes, the king of breakfast cereal) purchased 377 acres in Pomona to build his ranch, and then acquired the best Arabian horses, many from the renowned Crabbet Stud in England. The W. K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Ranch not only bred champion Arabians, it became a destination for visitors from the world of entertainment and politics.

Today, the former W. K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Ranch is the site of California State Polytechnic University, thanks to the donation of the land and horses from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation to the State of California. Students in the School of Agriculture’s Animal Science Department can study Pre-Vet/Grad School, Agribusiness or Equine. And those students who want to work with the Arabians, still bred and raised at the University, give the phrase “riding school” a whole new meaning.

Books, Books and More

The W. K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Library attempts to collect and preserve all types of Arabian horse information, and as a result, the collection contains just about every kind of media known to mankind. It has become a research facility used by University students, personnel and others interested in the Arabian horse.

Contents of the Library include books, manuscripts, pamphlets, art work, videos and DVDs. Everything from the original ranch papers, to periodicals from around the world, foreign and domestic stud books, and rare first editions, makes the Library, in my humble opinion, a treasure trove.

For a book of your own about the Kellogg Ranch, you can’t do better than to purchase The Romance of the Kellogg Ranch by Mary Jane Parkinson. Available through the shop page of the W. K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Center; this beautiful book takes the reader through 75 years of the Kellogg Ranch’s history in story and pictures that highlight its fascinating Arabian horses. You can easily lose yourself in its pages as you travel back in time to the events at the Kellogg Ranch. It costs no more than a tank of gas for a crew cab dually -- and it will take you a lot farther!

Online, All the Time

You don’t need to live near Pomona to benefit from the Library. Although books can’t be checked out, or sent long distance, the web site for the W. K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Library (www.csupomona.edu/~wkkahl) has more links to more information about the Arabian horse than I’ve ever seen in one place.

You can spend hours watching video from the streaming video site. I was fascinated by a film about Skowronek, considered by many the most influential sire of the 21st century. Supposedly, the original footage of Skowronek from 1926 was filmed by none other than Rudolph Valentino.

There’s a link to the W. K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Center (and from there a link to the shop where you can buy The Romance of the Kellogg Ranch mentioned above). You can see Mr. Kellogg’s house and search the University Library Catalog, which contains the Kellogg Arabian holdings up to 1997.

Just perusing the recommended reading list – 25 of the “best of the best” books about Arabians – underscores the enormous history of this magnificent breed. Then there are the links to everything else Arabian, and it’s an extensive list!

You can, if you so choose, immerse yourself in the many Internet sites and “ezines,” message boards and forums – then you’ll glance at the time on your computer and realize it’s only 10 minutes until your bedside alarm calls you to another day of work! Where did the time go?
I can guarantee that even if you never make it to Pomona to visit the W. K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Center and the W. K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Library, you will not lack for information about the Arabian horse.

The Real Deal

But even equestrian surfers need a fix of “real horse” from time to time, so click on the link to the Arabian Club that most closely matches your interest and/or geographical location, and find out when the next clinic or show will be held. Chances are you’ll make new friends and learn more about where to find the Arabian that you just have to have!
When it comes to shopping for your own Arabian, you can click on an array of farms on this site to find the “best of the best” … and isn’t that kind of shopping more fun than running into Safeway for a carton of milk on your way home from work?

Treasure Your Horses

Whether you’re a long-time Arabian owner or brand-new to the Arabian experience, I wish you a world of joy with your horses. Treasure them as the gems that they are -- confident that now you know a little bit more about them.

Happy riding!