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The Kiger Mustangs

Rojo, wild red dun stallion

Sundance Kigers Running Shadow

When the Spanish Conquistadors arrived on the shores of the North American Continent over 500 years ago they did not come alone. With them they brought some of the finest horses the world had ever seen. It was from the horses of the conquistadors that the huge herds of mustangs descended. Most of today's mustang herds are of mixed breeding. The result of horses being turned loose or escaping from ranches. This is not the case with the Kigers. They are one of only four herds in the United States that are managed as Spanish Type Mustangs.

During a routine round up of wild horses from the remote desert area around Beaty's Butte in South Eastern Oregon, 27 primitively marked horses were captured. When they arrived at the Bureau of Land Management wild horse corrals in Burns, Oregon the BLM employees realized they had found something special. One BLM document states " That of the roughly 4000 horses that have been brought to the Burns holding facility, about 40 have shown strong primitive marks. The document goes on to say that these horses " to some degree resemble horses as they existed back to the ice age and to a very high degree represent a type of horse brought to this country by the Spaniards. horse
Sundance Kigers Running Shadow

Sundance Kigers Running Shadow
Subsequent tests have been performed on the Kiger horses showing that they are indeed related to the horses brought to the United States by the Conquistadors. German author Hardy Oelke has done extensive research into the Iberian Sorraia and it's relatedness to North American Sorraia type mustangs. It was Hardy Oelke who said in his book " Born Survivors on the Eve of Extinction " that " the Kiger horse resembles the Sorraias to an uncanny degree."


Zebra markings on the legs of Sundance Kigers Running Shadow

The Kiger horses are mostly of dun coloration with dun, grullo ( mouse gray ), red dun and claybank the most common colors. Kigers also can be found in bay and black. The dun horses have a dorsal stripe down their backs and zebra stripes on their legs. Other dun characteristics found on these horses include cobweb marks on their foreheads, ear bars, leg bars and bi-colored manes and tails. They are of compact build, around 14.2hh, with strong legs and very hard feet. Possessing tremendous endurance and a natural ' cow sense' the Kigers are proving themselves as capable, hard working horses.

In the news

Spirit - the movie star
The Kiger mustang herd is rounded up every four years and the excess horses are put up for adoption. The last round up was in 'October '99. The top selling horse there was a four month old filly that sold for $19,000.

A three year old Kiger mustang colt was recently purchased by Steven Spielberg's film company " Dreamworks " to become the model for their latest animation feature film. The movie to be called " Spirit of the Cimarron" is about the life of a wild horse in 18th century America. A Kiger was picked as the model as they closely resemble the horse of that period. It is reported that the film company paid $ 50,000 for the 3 year old horse.

The legends

Every wild horse herd has to have its legendary stallions. The Kigers are no exception to this rule. One horse stood out from the others and was instantly recognized as the horse destined to become the lead stallion. " Mesteno" which means " unclaimed horse" in Spanish, lived his entire life running free on the Steens Mountains of South Eastern Oregon. Most Kigers today can trace their bloodlines back to this one horse. This horse had so much presence to him that he inspired the model making company " Breyer" to make a series depicting his life story. From his birth to his twilight years he is portrayed in the "Mesteno" series.

The Breyer model of ' Mesteno

The Kiger adoptions are not the only place to purchase a Kiger Mustang. There are a number of breeders around the United States who have horses for sale and stallions at stud. And that number is growing as more and more people are discovering the beauty, presence and loyalty of the Kiger Mustangs.

This article and the accompanying photographs were kindly provided by Danna Miyamoto, owner of Sundance Kigers.

To learn more about the Kiger Mustangs

please click here to visit the Sundance Kigers website.

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