Last week the Salinas, California school board named an elementary campus after 19th-century horse rustler, bandit and convicted killer Tiburcio Vasquez. Vasquez eluded the law for 23 years on a vast network of trails riding super-fast horses. The Sheriff that finally captured him in 1874 on the edge of Beverly Hills claimed, “It was the hardest riding we ever saw. We covered 2,709 miles, an average of 45 and one-half miles per day.”
I get saddle sores just reading about it.
Half a century after Vasquez met the hangman, residents still relied on horses to face violence. Outside the Beverly Hills Women’s Club on Benedict Canyon stands a 1930 plaque to preserve the history of a local landmark.
It doesn’t take an archeologist to find evidence of horses and a very different lifestyle and culture in old Beverly Hills.
Who needs a garage when a tie post will do?
The signs are there. You just need to look.
Before Henry Ford, transportation status symbols didn’t require gas, just hay. So many homes in the 90210 have held onto the equestrian touches that continue to convey class and whimsy.
The arch of the topiary horse’s neck looks like a Saddlebred.
Walking around the gates of one of the largest estates in the area, I didn’t expect to see horses.
Then again, some homeowners keep their horses right in plain view.
My horse Huckleberry is in retirement in Northern California because Beverly Hills is no longer zoned for horses. If I lived in the 19th-century, he’d be grazing in my backyard saving me bundles on lawn mowing bills.
Tiburcio Vasquez wouldn’t ever think of stealing him. Huckleberry is one of the laziest horses you’ll ever meet.