KIGER HERD MANAGEMENT AREA, OREGON.
No other horse in America is quite like the Kiger Mustang found on Steens Mountain in Oregon. The Kiger Mustangs are thought to be one of the purest herds of Spanish Mustangs existing in the wild today. Most wild horses are of mixed breeding but the Kiger Mustangs possess all the characteristics of the Spanish Mustang and, by today’s standards, appear to be a pure breed.The word mustang was derived from the Spanish word “mesteno” which meant unclaimed. The Spanish Mustang was a part of early American history, having roots in Native American culture, and was the horse that helped settle the west. At one time it was thought to be extinct on the range. Since the Kiger Mustangs may well be the best remaining example of the Spanish Mustang, their preservation is extremely important.The Kiger Mustang exhibits physical color characteristics know as the “dun factor” which were also common to many of the horses the Spaniards reintroduced to North America in the 1600's. Color classifications of the dun factor are: dun, red dun, grulla (mouse gray), buckskin, and variations on these colors. Markings on animals with the dun factor include: dorsal stripes; zebra stripes on knees and hocks; chest, rib and arm bars; outlined ears; the top on-third of the ear on its backside darker than body color; fawn coloring on the inside of the ears; bi-colored mane and tail; cobwebbing on the face and face masks. The less white these horses have, the stronger the dun factor. An individual horse having the dun factor may have many but not all of these markings.The BLM manages two special areas in southeastern Oregon for wild horses with Spanish Mustang characteristics - The Kiger and Riddle Mountain Herd Management Areas (HMA’s). The Kiger HMA covers nearly 37,000 acres with a minimum herd population of 51 horses and a maximum of 82 horses. The Riddle Mountain HMA contains nearly 29,000 acres and has a minimum/maximum population of 33 and 56 respectively. Since herd numbers increase about 20% per year, horses are gathered about every 4 years. When the herds reach the maximum numbers, the excess is rounded up and taken to the Burns BLM Wild Horse Corrals where they are freezebranded, wormed, and vaccinated, and made available to the public for adoption. For more information on Kiger Mustangs:BLM, Burns District OfficeHC74 - 12533 Hyw 20 WestHines, OR 97738(503) 573-4400http://www.or.blm.gov/Burns/Horseburro/horse.htmlhttp://www.conquistador.comhttp://www.oregonlive.com/news/99/06/st062013.html