The Camarillo White Horse history began in 1920 when Adolfo Camarillo purchased "Sultan" at the California State Fair for $500. Sultan was a Spanish blooded white stallion. At the time, the Morgan horse was the breed of choice for ranch horses, so Adolfo Camarillo began to breed Sultan with other white Morgan horses. Adolfo Camarillo, hired only the best horsemen to work with the Camarillo White Horses and kept detailed records of their weight and ages. Sultan rode in his last parade in 1938, the Santa Barbara Fiesta Days Parade, however, on the way home he started to act sick. When they got back home to Camarillo, a vet was called in and Sultan was diagnosed with pneumonia, tragically he passed shorty after. Sultan began a family tradition and fathered a line of stunning horses that would be the pride of the county for the next 100 years. The Camarillo White Horses became famous across the state due to the many events that Adolfo Camarillo participated in. In 1952, Adolfo at the age of 88, rode in his last parade, riding the majestic Camarillo White Horse.
Carmen Camarillo was the youngest daughter of Adolfo Camarillo and she was very involved in the parading of the horses. Upon Adolfo Camarillo death in 1958, Carmen took over the guardianship of the Camarillo White Horses. She was instrumental in continuing the breeding and showing of these beautiful horses. Upon her death in 1987, Carmen requested that the remaining Camarillo White horses be auctioned off. It has been speculated that because Carmen was so intimately involved in the care and preparation of the horses for parades, she knew it was too time consuming and costly for one family to maintain. The horses were sold at a public auction in December of 1987. No account of the Camarillo White Horses would be complete without the name Meliton Ortiz. Mr. Ortiz has often been referred to as the "Guardian of the Camarillo White Horses". His parents worked for Adolfo Camarillo and he grew up at the Camarillo Ranch. At the age of 11, Adolfo Camarillo introduced Meliton Ortiz to the world of horses. Meliton Ortiz, was a caretaker for the Camarillo White Horses for the over 50 years. It was Meliton Ortiz who saved the Camarillo Horses from near tragedy in 1937, when he risked his life by leading the horses out the the burning barn.
In 1992, the Camarillo White Horse Association began a group dedicated to the preservation of the original Camarillo White Horse. Originally the line was developed by Adolfo Camarillo and later his daughter, Carmen Camarillo Jones, but over time the line was becoming threatened with being lost. Owners of these horses, exclusively found in Ventura County, were brought together for breeding and conservation of the line.
The Association’s motto is, "Breed for conformation and pray for a white foal."
Camarillo White Horses have made appearances in numerous parades including, both the Camarillo Christmas Parade and the Tournament of Roses Paraded (a.k.a. the Rose Parade).
Information on the Camarillo White Horses can be obtained from the Camarillo White Horse Association, the Camarillo Ranch House, or Huell Howser's California's Golden Parks: #148 Camarillo Ranch. There is a book published by the Camarillo White Horse Association available for purchase at the Camarillo Ranch House Gift Shop.