Mustangs, the painted beauties of the open plains and the wild west. The term mustang, which is applied to all the wild horses in North America, comes from the Spanish word "mesteῆo" which means "unclaimed sheep". Technically wild mustangs are actually feral horses as they are previously domesticated horses that have gone wild as apposed to true wild horses like a Pzewalski's horse.
Of all mustangs there is the coveted Kiger Mustangs. The name evokes visions of long flowing black manes and tails, a Spanish styled equine profile and warm dun colors accented by zebra striped legs. Kiger Mustangs are a substrain of the American Mustang. These beautiful creatures are found in the South Eastern area of Oregon. In 1977 during a routine round-up the wranglers noticed a distinctive conformation and coloration to the herds. It was decided to isolate these herds at Kiger and Riddle Mountains as well as the Steens Mountain area for protection of this unique wild bloodline.
|South Iberian Sorraia horse (http://www.sorraia.org/index.html)|
The modern horse breeds that share the common traits and possible heritage include the Lusitano, Andalusian and the less familiar Criollo horse. There are indeed other breeds that contributed to the gene pool of modern day Kiger mustangs but many I'm not even vaguely familiar with them. Centuries ago, when the path was laid for the Spanish Mustang development, these breeds may have been less refined than the ones we are familiar with in today's breeding.
Hope you all learned a little about Kiger mustangs. Bureau of Land Management does have regular adoptions and often you can find a Kiger in their adoptions in Oregon. Dreamhorse is another place to search but also try searching for Kiger Mustang breeders, you will find a variety of breeders that continue these interesting lines. The Kiger Mustang Registry is another place to start learning more about this unique mustang group. Have fun!