For decades it was largely accepted that the Spanish bloodlines from which the Mustangs of the American west had descended were either lost or very diluted in the current day Mustangs. However, some people speculated that there might be isolated herds of horses which would still have a strong Spanish influence. In 1977, a herd of mustangs which appeared to be largely of Spanish descent were brought in from the remote and rugged Beaty Butte region in Lake County, Oregon. The animals were uniformly of a dun coloration, ranging from brown-dun to nearly white. All had dorsal stripes and zebra striped legs. Two subsequent groups were gathered from the same area and were equally uniform in size and color. The Kiger Mustang shows the classic Barb head and the right size with an average weight of between 700 and 800 pounds.
Steps were taken immediately to preserve these unique horses. The herd was split in two with 20 animals being released on the East Kiger Herd Management Area and the remaining seven turned out on the Riddle Mountain Herd Management Area, about five miles to the northeast. To prevent contamination of the breeding stock measures were taken to make certain there were no other horses in either area .
Several of the Kiger Mustangs have been adopted through the BLM's Adopt-A-Horse Program and have shown a great willingness to learn and good working qualities. The Kigers appear to be naturals at working cattle which would be consistent with their Spanish bloodlines.
Hendricks, Bonnie L., International Encyclopedia of Horse Breeds, Univ of Oklahoma Press, 1995
Mason, I.L. 1996. A World Dictionary of Livestock Breeds, Types and Varieties. Fourth Edition. C.A.B International. 273 pp.