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Horse Breeds
First Posted: July 3, 2009
Sep 24, 2010

Kiger Mustang

Kiger Mustang


Country of Origin: Descended from Spanish Horses, but evolved in the United States

Breed History

Kiger Mustangs are a type of horse that was discovered in 1977, during a roundup by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Beatty's Butte, located in southeastern Oregon (Harney County) in the United States. During the roundup, it was noticed that among those horses collected from the area, there was a group with similar color and markings. Testing was done at the University of Kentucky and the DNA showed close relation to the Spanish horses brought over in the 1600s. It was agreed that these horses would be separated from the other horses and the BLM placed two groups in different Horse Management Areas (HMAs) to preserve the breed. Seven horses were placed in Riddle Mountain HMA and twenty in Kiger HMA.

The Kiger Mustang is an "established breed," that is, breeding true for generations to a certain type. Many of today's existing Kiger Mustangs can be traced back to a single stallion named "Mesteño," whose name means "stray" or "feral" in Spanish.

Breed Characteristics

Kiger Mustangs are primarily dun in color and have primitive markings, including zebra-like stripes on the upper legs and shoulders as well as stripe running down the middle of the back into the tail—this is called a dorsal stripe. Typically a dun horse is a shade of muted tan or a light brown-gray with dark brown or black manes. A dun colored horse may have many, but not all, of the primitive markings which include the dorsal stripe, two-toned manes and/or tails, zebra-like stripes on the upper legs and shoulders, dark color around muzzle and ears with dark outlines and lighter interiors. Dun horses are generally identified as simply duns or grullas.

Kiger Mustangs, as a rule, are agile and intelligent, with the stamina and surefootedness seen in many feral horse breeds. Bold and with lots of "heart and bottom" (a term for courage and determination) but gentle as well as calm, they are ideal for pleasure riding as well as trail, performance, endurance, driving, and many other situations that an athletic horse is desired.

The horse featured in the animated film Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, was based on a real Kiger Mustang called "Spirit."

For More Information:

Bureau of Land Management/Kiger Mustang
Kiger Mustangs


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