Wednesday, November 14, 2007

What is it About Kigers?

Aside from the small bit of white on her forehead, this mare has near perfect markings.

To be honest, I don't know. Walking around the corrals this weekend I found myself drawn to very few Kigers, but several other mustangs from Beatty's Butte or Jackie's Butte. And yet, Kiger's have managed to capture the hearts of many.

I suppose it's like any breed of horse and their following. Quarter Horses, Arabians, Halflinger...they all have their 'peeps' who swear there's no other. I'm just as bad with mustangs, although I'm not limited to one particular type of mustang. I just love the blank slate they come with.
Gray is not a desirable color as it creates a silver dun in the offspring; highly undesirable in a Kiger breeding program. This stallion is 17 and was captured at Riddle Mountain.

Kiger Mustangs are different than the other free roaming horses in the west due to their Spanish heritage. While other herds are a blend of ranch horses, cavalry mounts and the like, Kigers are the direct descendants of the horses brought over by the Spanish; they're thought to be the purest strain of Spanish horse left in the wild today.

This pretty boy had many people talking. Exhibits the classic Kiger look, but because he was captured at Beatty's Butte, he can't be registered.

The original Kigers were found on Beatty's Butte by BLM employee, Ron Harding, in 1971. He noted that these horses were different than the other mustangs that the BLM had been dealing with. A group of these horses were gathered, genetic testing was done, and high levels of Spanish markers were found, linking the Kiger Mustang to the horses the Spaniards brought over in the 1600s. Two new Herd Management Areas (HMAs) were set aside so that these horses would continue to remain pure. They can be found in the Kiger or Riddle Mt HMAs.

Group of Kiger colts waiting to be adopted.

There are currently three different Kiger registries in the U.S., all of them battling it out in terms of what's acceptable and what isn't for a Kiger. The original registry is the Kiger Mesteno Association, founded in 1988.

When it comes to spending big money on a Kiger, the public is looking for color. Classic coloring for a Kiger is dun with a black mane, tail, dorsal stripe and stockings. Black muzzles, webbing on the face, tips of ears, tiger striping and shoulder barring are highly sought after. White is acceptable, but not desirable. Long, blond streaks extending from the crest of the neck down into the mane are prized. Many people also are drawn to the grulla coloring, a lovely smokey blue with dorsal stripe such as the colt below.


Callie said...

Except for his head. Maybe it's just the pic, but he has got an ugly head.

Rising Rainbow said...

Cool, thanks for the info.

photogchic said...

Was there a good turnout for adoptees? Hoping most horses found homes. Love those Kigers...saw one at a dressage show at Devonwood...wasn't a better mover there. Nothing came close. He was just gorgeous. Wish I could remember his name and who owned him. He put on quite a show. Had the BLM brand down his neck and everything.

Andi said...

Ummm ... your remark about the Kigers being different because of the Spanish markers isn't exactly true. In fact, there are 4 Spanish markers possible and the Kigers have only 1; Murderer's Creek HMA in Oregon was tested and those horses actually have 3 of the 4 possible markers but there isn't anything "distinctive" about them like being duns. Kigers are simply different because the entire herd started off as 27 dun colored horses from Beaty's Butte HMA in the 70's and it has snow balled from there.

Just a little FYI ...

jtjedi said...

Guess who now lives at my house?

A certain non-Kiger, Kiger look a like, stud with four white socks..

Jamie Thomas
2007 EMM Trainer of "Patroit"

Sophie said...

I have a bay filly that was captured in Beauty's Butte and I thnk that she might be Kiger. Why can't Beauty's Butte horses be registered as Kigers?

Tracey said...

I wouldn't worry too much about it, Sophie. If you want your Beaty's Butte mustang registered, visit the AMBA website at and submit a registration application.

Most mustangs have that 'look' about them, especially if they've got a Spanish influence. But a Kiger mustang only comes from Kiger or Riddle HMA.