Kiger Mustang

In the early 1970s, a new wild horse was discovered in Oregon.

Named for the Kiger Gorge in Oregon, these horses are known for their stamina, strength and good temperament.

In this blog post, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about Kiger Mustangs, so read on!

Kiger Mustang Breed Info

Here are some of the key things you need to know about the Kiger Mustang:

Height (size) 13.2 – 16.0 hands high
Colors Dun, grullo, buckskin, and variations of these colors including primitive markings like dorsal and zebra stripes
Country of Origin United States of America (Oregon)
Common Uses General riding, Western disciplines, breeding

Kiger Mustang Facts & Information (Breed Profile)

Although they have the reputation of being “wild,” Mustangs, and therefore the Kiger Mustangs as well, are essentially feral because they derived from Spanish domestic horses that were transported to the Americas in the 16th century by Spanish explorers, and later escaped or let free.

The word ‘mustang’ derives from a Spanish word ‘mestengo’ and ‘mostrenco’ which means ‘wild, stray, or masterless cattle’.

Eventually, it started to be used to describe ‘unclaimed’ or feral horses, and with time the term ‘mustang’ became a term in the English language when referring to wild horses in the United States.

The Kiger Mustang is rare, and is only found in southeastern Oregon in the wild.

While it was widely assumed that the Spanish lineages had become extinct by the 1970s, a roundup of feral horses in the Beatys Butte region of Harney County (Oregon) in 1977 uncovered a herd of horses with very similar coloring.

DNA analysis revealed that the Kigers are (mostly) descended from the Spanish horses that were imported to North America in the 17th century.

In an effort to protect the breed, these horses were separated and relocated to Steens Mountain in Oregon.

Oregon is home to two separate herds of Kigers.

Every three or four years, a roundup is conducted to keep the population in check.

They are the most popular wild horse at BLM adoptions.

At an adoption event, many wild horses may be purchased for $100 to $200, while Kigers sell for thousands.

In 2007, two horses sold for $7400 and $7800 during a roundup and adoption event.

In the same year 106 Kiegers were sold for a total of $100,206.

However, the BLM adoption is not the only way to acquire a Kiger Mustang.

There are a number of ranches that specialize in the breeding of tamed Kigers for people who are interested in purchasing one of these stunning horses.

Bred in captivity, they are no longer called Mustangs but rather Kiger horses.

The breed has a potential lifespan of 40 years.

The Kiger Mustang Association was established in 1988 as the first breed registration.

The organization inspects between 75 and 100 horses annually, and as of 2013, it has registered roughly 800 horses.

A real Kiger Mustang called Donner, who turned 25 in 2019, and lives at Freedom’s American Wild Horse Sanctuary in California, served as the inspiration for DreamWorks’ Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron.

If you’re interested in learning more about this fascinating breed, keep reading!

Alternative Names



Intelligent, and once tamed they are gentle and calm

Physical Characteristics

The head is clean cut and medium in size, with ears that are slightly hooked at the tip.

The eyes are prominent, and the muzzle is fine.

The neck is round and crested.

The chest is well muscled and deep.

The beck is short and wide.

They are very athletic and tough with great stamina.


Dun, grullo, buckskin, and variations of these colors including primitive markings like dorsal and zebra stripes

Height (size)

13.2 – 16.0 hands high






750 – 1,000 lbs (340 – 455)

Blood Type


Common Uses

General riding, Western disciplines, breeding


Hardy and healthy

Popular Traits

Feral horses with beautiful golden coats and thick manes and tails



Country of Origin

United States of America (Oregon)


Spanish colonial horses