Breed Description

Colors: Bay dun (sv: brunblack) & grulla/grullo (sv: musblack) are desirable. Red dun (sv: rödblack), black (sv: svart) & bay (sv: brun) exist, but are not as common. Grey (sv: avblekbar skimmel) & roan (sv: skimmel) exist but are not accepted for traditional division in KHAR and not in studbook I in Sweden.
Markings: Primitive markings; Dorsal stripe, zebra-like stripes above knees, dark colour around muzzle and ears with dark outlines and lighter interiors, bicoloured mane and tail, little or no white is desirable.
Height: Average 14-16 hands. 
Appearance: Body conformation is distictive with a short, broad and well muscled back. Their chest has good depth and width. The head displays a broad, flat forehead, wide, prominent eyes and fine muzzle. Their ears are finely pointed and slightly hooked at the tip. Their neck is well-crested, their bones dense and their hooves compact.
Area of use: Endurance, western, trail, pleasure, jumping, dressage etc. A very versatile horse where only Your imagination sets the limits!

For full breed description, please go to:

Additional info:
Many kigers have an extremely soft trot! Looks like ordinary trot, but you do not bounce!! :-)

The hoof quality of a kiger can not be compared to other breeds! Really hard and compact. No shoes works perfectly fine.

The Kiger mustang is well suited to be kept outside all year long (with shelters of course). Their fur adapts optimally to different climatic conditions; from summery velvety to thick and woolly during autumn and winter.  

Kiger Gorge, Oregon, USA

Breed Name

The name of the breed comes from an remote area in Steens Mountains, called "Kiger Gorge".

Why a Kiger mustang?

  • Among the different types of mustangs in the US, Kiger mustangs might be the most interesting of them all! The Kiger mustangs were first discovered in 1977 and there are still wild herds roaming in south-east Oregon. The more common Spanish mustangs have been bred in captivity since a hundred years back, and line breeding seem to be quite common among these horses. Many of the good qualities that the Kiger mustangs possess (for ex. extremely hard hooves) do no longer exist in the captive bred Spanish mustangs. It´s obvious that we shall respect mother nature as the best breeder of us all. 

  • Size! Kiger mustangs has the perfect height (between 130 cm and 160 cm, mean around 145 cm)! This size is appropriate for both children and adults. 

  • Versitality!  The Kiger mustang is very allround. Only your imagination sets the limit for what you can do with this horse. In the US the Kiger mustang is mainly used for western, endurance and trail riding. But many mustangs show good performance in jumping and dressage as well! 

  • Mind! The Kiger mustang is a fast learning and adaptable horse with a wonderful mind! You learn something from you Kiger every day! Actually, they are so smart so they will outshine you :-) They even have a sense of humor. 

  • Hardy & Healthy! Strong bones and hooves. Great stamina. No need to worry about expensive veterinary/farrier bills! These horses also adapt very well to different climates/temperatures. 


The Kiger Mustang originates from the Spanish horses the conquistadores brought over to the US in the 1600:th century. Many of these horses turned wild over the centuries and mother nature made sure only the strongest survived. This made the Kiger Mustangs extremely hardy and healthy horses.

The BLM (Bureau of Land Management) make sure the number of wild horses in the US is fairly constant. Each third or fourth year they do  "round-ups", where excess horses are put for adoption in order to keep the herds at manageable levels. In 1977 during a roundup they found a number of horses in the south-east of Oregon, all with the same primitive colour and markings. DNA-tests where made and proved a close relation to the Spanish horses brought over a few hundred years earlier. These horses were separated from the rest. 7 were placed in the Riddle Mountain HMA (Horse Management Area) and 20 in Kiger HMA. These horses where the first to be called Kiger Mustangs. All registered Kigers today originates from these two herds or are directely captured (and freezebranded) from these areas.

This makes the Kiger Mustang a new kind of breed which the nature has created on its own during centuries and until 1977. Still there are about one hundred wild Kiger mustangs in Riddle Mountain and Kiger HMA controlled by the BLM.

Note: The BLM has previously had a few horses from other HMA:s for adoption to breeders whereupon these where registered as Kigers to contribute to another genepool. These horses are called "found horses" and they and their offsprings have "found blood". To be able to separate these horses from the originals, KMA describes the origin of each horse in their studbook. Some breeders have chosed to continue to breed with found blood and some are strictly against it. 

Steen's Mountains wilderness is found in southeastern Oregon. The terrain includes mountains, steep gorges, rocks and plateaus. Here the horses feed mostly of grass, wormwood (malört) and juniper (enbuske). Water is found in streams, small lakes and springs.

Steen's Mountain, Oregon, USA

The Result...

Steen's Mountains wilderness area in the south-east of Oregon, where the Kigermustangs live today, is known for the weather extremes- from blistering heat to sudden snowstorms. During a long time this climate and environment has created tuff and hardy horses that can stand everything from oppressive heat to freezing cold. Genetic imperfections, such as susceptibility for diseases or weak bones and hoofs have during centuries been culled by the toughest breeder of them all- mother nature.  The Kiger Mustang is known to be a very healthy horse with hard hoofs and bones like steel.

The Kiger Mustang has great stamina and is very intelligent. They have a low resting pulse and recover quickly, in nature it is a must for survival.

The Kiger Mustangs can extract energy from grass with less than 1% protein and still thrive. They can eat much that other breeds wouldn't think of; weeds, bark and fallen leaves. It is not unusual that they walk hundreds of miles each day on dry or frozen ground with little or no water to search for food and at the same time maintain a good physique.

The modern Kiger Mustangs have retained the caracteristics of their ancestors. The horses the conquistadores chosed to bring over to the US where considered the best horses of its kind back then. After a few centuries in freedom mother nature has created this horse to the unique legend it is today.

Some of the information on this page is collected from:

Program about how the kiger mustangs have developed to the unique, strong, healthy and intelligent horses they are today, and about the continous work of maintaining their qualities!   -Rural TV, USA 



All wild mustangs that are gathered by BLM are freezebranded on the left side of the neck. The freezebrand is built up by symbols according to the image below. 
From the freezebrand it is possible to read out a number and what year the horse is born. With a 8 digit freezebrand number BLM can go back and verify origin of each horse.

Kiger Registries

If you have plans of purchasing a Kiger mustang there is of great importance to read about the registries in order to understand what you are about to buy.  Then, it's up to each and everyone to judge whats important and not.

Much has happened in the Kiger world lately, and it can be difficult to grasp everything!

NOTE: The horse needs registration documents from KHAR to be included in the Swedish studbook. In other parts of Europe, KMA registration documents are needed.

Below is an explanation of each kiger registry...

Take home message (summary):

  • IF you want a kiger mustang with verified parentage to Kiger and/or Riddle Mountain, ALWAYS check pedigree back to freezebrand AND DNA. Just because the horse is registered doesn't mean it is from the original kiger herds!  
  • There are 2 active registries; KMA and KHAR.

KMA - Kiger Mesteno Association

The first kiger registry, established in 1988 to protect and preserve the remaining wild kiger mustangs and the ones in captivity. A registry and a standard of perfection for kiger and half-kiger mustangs.
The origin of the kiger is of great importance and therefore the informative studbook lists from what areas (HMA's) each horse comes from. The studbook is devided into 4 divisions; Foundation, Permanent, Open & Half-Kiger.
Kiger mustangs in the Foundation division are caught in the wild from Kiger or Riddle Mtn HMA and have a "W" in the end of the registration number.
Kigers with a "P" in the end of their registration number belongs to the permanent division and are either bred in captivity or originate from other Oregon HMA's (not Kiger or Riddle). Then one needs to go backwards one or more generation to deduce the origin. Open division (O) is for young kigers that can not yet be inspected or kigers with a low score upon inspection. The horse can be moved from open division after inspection.
Half-Kiger division is for horses with the sire or dam registered as a Kiger. 
DNA is mandatory in all divisions to verify parentage.

In 2016, KMA introduced the temporary "Sanctioned division" (S). The purpose with this division is to include horses that fulfill the breed standard and have ties to verified kiger mustangs but where the horse can not be registered due to other factors, like lack of DNA or documentation. 

KHAR-Kiger Horse Association & Registry

KHAR is an organisation which, like the above registry, work to protect and preserve the kiger mustang. The registry is devided into three divisions; Traditional, Appendix and Partblood. Traditional is for all kigers that trace back to Kiger or Riddle Mtn HMA. In "Appendix" kigers that do not meet the breed standard and kigers with origin from other Oregon HMA:s (not Riddle and Kiger) are registered. Horses that to any percent can be considered a kiger mustang and are crossed with other breeds can be registered in the Partblood division. The KHAR registration numbers identify each horse for its color, sex and origin.
Until some years ago kigers that partly (<40%) originated from other Oregon HMA:s (not Kiger or Riddle) were registered in the Traditional division as well.
DNA is not mandatory in all cases. No official studbook available.

SMKR-Steens Mountain Kiger Registry
​Established in 1993 to protect and preserve the kiger mustang. The difference between KMA/KHAR and SMKR is that SMKR also register grey kigers. DNA has not been mandatory of the horses to verify origin. No official studbook available.

SMKR merged with KHAR in 2015.

AKHR-The American Kiger Horse Registry

AKHR:s goal is to register all kiger mustangs that originate from Kiger or Riddle Mtn HMA. However they don't claim any inspection of the hores and don't have any special requirements of origin or colour/conformation like the above registries. However, the one's that are listed as "full" Kigers comes from the original Kiger and Riddle Mtn herds (DNA-tests etc.). This registry seems to be down since a few years back.


KMA studbook, KHAR bylaws 2007 (1st ed.), KHAR bylaws 2012 (4th ed.) and below mentioned websites of each registry.

For more information:
SMKR (no longer available):
AKHR (no longer available):
More registries: