Frequently Asked Questions
I own a Kiger that is registered in the Kiger Mesteno Association. Can I cross-register this horse in the Steens Mountain Kiger Registry? Your horse may also be eligible for registration in the Steens Mountain Kiger Registry. However, status in another registry is no guarantee that the horse qualifies for SMKR. To qualify for SMKR registration, your horse must have been adopted from the Bureau of Land Management, with records indicating its origin from either Kiger or Riddle Mountain HMA's. Or, it must be the offspring of horses that fit that criteria. Horses originating from, or descending from horses that originated from other HMA's are NOT eligible, regardless of their status in another registry.
I was told that Kigers come from all over southeastern Oregon. Why doesn't the SMKR acknowledge some of the horses that other Kiger registries accept? The Kigers were developed by the Bureau of Land Management, and their program has been limited to only two Herd Management Areas: the Kiger HMA and the Riddle Mountain HMA. While there are horses from several areas registered as Kigers in other registries, they were never participants in the Kiger Herd Management Program. See list of the "found" horses not accepted by SMKR.
The BLM began to manage East Kiger HMA and Riddle Mountain HMA for horses of specific type and dun coloration as early as 1975. In September 1977, the BLM located a number of horses of the desired type and color at Beaty's Butte (The reported number varies between 21-27). This group of horses was pivotal to the Kiger program. The majority of these horses from Beaty's Butte were placed at East Kiger HMA, which later was combined with Smyth Creek HMA to form what today is called Kiger HMA. BLM representative Ron Harding reported the number placed at East Kiger HMA to be 19. At the time, the area capacity for East Kiger HMA was 20-30 head, so it is likely that East Kiger HMA was cleared of previous livestock. The known exceptions were two East Kiger HMA mares that were retained. The remainder of the horses discovered at Beaty's Butte (reported by Ron Harding to haved numbered six head) were placed at Riddle Mountain HMA, where an undetermined number of horses of type already resided. Two young studs from another outside area were added to Riddle HMA, but they were removed the following year before they were mature enough to settle mares. An older stud named Adolph was placed at Smyth Creek in the early period, but he died shortly after placement. Adolph sired three colts. It is not known why the Bureau of Land Management made the decision, but these three colts were moved to the Paisley Desert HMA, where they subsequently were believed to have died when their water source was fenced. It can be assumed that neither the young studs nor Adolph contributed to the Kiger genepool.
In 1988 two dun mares from the nearby Sheepshead HMA were added to the population at Kiger HMA. BLM officers deny adding any other horses to Kiger or Riddle HMAs since 1988.
In the opinion of the SMKR, this management history does not justify the claim that Kigers "come from all over". Horses from Sand Springs, Warm Springs, Potholes, Palomino Butte, and even from Nevada and Utah have been labeled "Kigers" by other registries, but SMKR considers them to be horses from their respective areas, and NOT Kigers.
In Minutes to the Meeting, Found Horse Committee to the KMA, dated February 18, 1993, a reference was made to a letter that was written by D. Phillip Sponenberg. Quoted from the minutes, "Dr. Sponenberg wrote a letter to SSMA in their newsletter, saying that the Kigers are not pure because we have let other horses come into our registry as found horses."
E. Gus Cothran, Ph.D., Director of the Equine Blood Typing Research Laboratory at the University of Kentucky, determined some time ago that the Kigers are genetically diverse, and do not require the addition of outside horses to widen the genepool.
Dean Bolstad, Wild Horse Specialist at Burns District BLM, says there are no future plans to add outside horses to the Kiger Herds.
By limiting registration to horses directly connected to the Kiger or Riddle Mountain HMA's, the SMKR has incorporated a closed studbook, and believes that it is the only way to preserve the integrity of the Kiger breed.
Why doesn't the SMKR have color restrictions? On December 11, 1979, Willard Phillips, Range Staff, Burns District BLM, issued a memorandum which listed the decisions made on how horses on Riddle Mountain, East Kiger, and Smyth Creek HMA's (East Kiger and Smyth Creek later combined to form Kiger HMA) would be managed. In this memorandum, it was determined that East Kiger HMA would be managed for dun and grulla color with minimal white markings allowed. Smyth Creek HMA was to be managed for the same type and color, but the memorandum states that "small amounts of white and off coloration will be allowed. Riddle Mountain HMA will be managed for horses with dorsal stripes and a dark border on the ears. Color can vary as long as the dorsal stripes and ear marking are present. Color alone will not be the basis for retaining horses in these herds." This memorandum clearly indicates the BLM allowed a margin for white markings, off coloration, and variety in body color.
The Bureau of Land Management modified its plans in the late '80's to create uniformity between the Kiger/Riddle areas. Yet many horses of non-dun coloration, horses with white markings, and horses that are dun in phenotype but varied in color genotype, have been made available to the public. Horses of non-conforming color continue to surface in the herds occasionally, and are made available at adoptions. When these horses are offered for adoption, they are represented as Kiger/Riddle livestock by the government. Therefore, the SMKR acknowledges them.
As of October 31, 2001, the SMKR had registered 550 horses, consisting of 68% duns, 12% grullas, 8% bays, 6% red duns, 3% claybanks (pale-colored linebacked horses), and 3% black, chestnut, buckskin, or roan. By these figures, it is easy to see that it is unlikely that dun factor will diminish among the ranks. We encourage breeders to concentrate on producing horses with dun factor, but do not penalize the horses that do not possess it.
I noticed the SMKR doesn't use the word "mustang" in it's title. Is there a reason? As of October 31, 2001, only 26% of the horses registered in the SMKR are freezebranded horses. The majority have been born and raised in captivity. It is the Bureau of Land Management's perspective that a horse is not a mustang unless it was born in a feral environment. However, these horses were popularized as a mustang breed, and, in all likelihood, will always be identified as the Kiger Mustang. But for the sake of clarity, we refer to the captive-breds as "Kiger Horses", and to the entire SMKR population as "Steens Mountain Kigers".
How long should I wait for paperwork to be processed? The SMKR strives to have a 60-day turnaround, however, response time is dependant upon DNA verification. If you are providing the lab report yourself, expect processing of paperwork to take 45-60 days. If you are submitting a hair sample test kit as well as registration then additional time will be required. The Veterinary Genetics Laboratories usually responds to DNA test requests within 4 weeks. So, if you request a test kit from SMKR, and return it within a few days of receipt, your papers should be ready to process about a month later. If you have not received your paperwork within 60 days after applying, please call the registry at 541-389-7857.