Shortly before the turn of the 20th century, a new breed of horse emerged from the American West and took the country’s circuses and sideshows by storm. They were known as Oregon Wonder Horses, and they had beautiful manes and tails that grew over 10 feet long.
For about 20 years, they remained one of the country’s most popular attractions. However, as suddenly as they’d appeared, these majestic creatures vanished and are now only remembered in photographs.
Long-haired Oregon Wonder Horses were famous in the late 1800s for their rich chestnut coats, and more importantly, for their extremely long, soft manes and tails.
Most owners of these equine marvels ended up braiding their horses’ hair or putting it in pigtails. This was actually less about style and more to keep their manes and tails from getting tangled and knotted while they slept!
Despite their almost otherworldly appearance, these horses’ impressive locks were actually achieved through crossbreeding normal draft horses like Percherons and Andalusian horses.
This first of them to become famous was named the Oregon Queen, and she was bred in the 1880s on a farm in Oregon state. She was later moved east as a show horse and eventually died at Coney Island.
The Oregon Queen’s foal Linus was the only one of her offspring to inherit her long hair, and he became a famous show horse in his own right. In 1890, he was sold for an astounding $30,000 (over $750,000 in today’s money) to the Eaton Traveling Circus.
Unfortunately, Oregon Wonder Horses were extensively inbred to try to maintain or even lengthen the beautiful locks of their offspring. This led to a number genetic problems for the horses as time went on.
Today, these astounding creatures are no longer around, but thankfully, many pictures survive from the brief period of time where they were, and they help remind us of these animals’ stunning beauty and majesty!