People attempt all the time to determine whether a mustang is a Spanish mustang or not. They say that they go by genotyping, conformation, and history, as equally important aspects. But how reliable is the history part of this?

The history on all existing mustangs is at best interesting, but largely wishful thinking, and always insufficient in proving a Spanish origin of any given mustang, or mustang population. There isn’t a single mustang herd that has been monitored continuously over the last centuries, and at closer scrutiny one invariably finds plenty of evidence for possible other influences. None of the herds’ history that were claimed as having been isolated for the last 100 years or so proved water-tight, but even if that had been found to be true – the "contamination“ of Spanish mustangs by horses of other origins started much earlier than a hundred years ago…

Sorraia Mustangs on Rayenseyrie, Ontario

As for the horses bred within the various mustang registries, and the stock they all go back to: their foundation stock again was picked based on histories that don’t stand close scrutiny. In many cases it was good enough if the horses were possessed or bred by Indians – as if Indians had ever cared about a Spanish history of the horses they acquired! And the founders of these registries selected their horses based on whatever standards they believed in – nothing scientific, nothing proven, some of it definetely wrong. They had the best intentions, however, and along with many questionable ones they managed to save some sure-enough special horses which we are all grateful for. What's tragic is that these special horses have been crossed on atypical horses indiscriminately - not on purpose, but out of ignorance.


Everybody has heard of the term "Spanish mustang", but many may have wondered if there is any credibility to the theory of a Spanish ancestry of these horses. Well, now that it has been proven through mtDNA anylyses, we know that most American mustangs indeed trace back to Iberian stock. This shows that many mustangs are not the "no-good-for-nothing mongrels" some prefer to call them.

However, mustang enthusiasts seem to be less concerned with scientific genetic tests but are intrigued by - sometimes obsessed with - anything historical about these horses, even though it should be clear right frome the start that no definite history is available. Nobody kept track of who all came through any given area within the last 150 or 200 years, and with what horses. There are some hints, and even some facts, but everything remains very sketchy, and usually unreliable. And even if actually more particulars were handed down through the generations in a given region, that wouldn't necessarily make the horses of that region more Spanish.

Arguably the most popular mustangs today are those found in the Kiger Herd Management Area in Southeastern Oregon. While mustangs of other BLM herds are adopted out for a nominal fee, Kiger mustangs were the first to be auctioned off to the highest bidder and to fetch considerable, sometimes enormous prices. This caused a lot of envy among admirers of other herds, and also breeders within existing mustangs registries. Consequently, Kiger mustangs got some "bad press", all kinds of rumors were started, and the Kigers were discredited.

So-called experts on Spanish horses and Spanish mustangs ranked the Kiger way down low as far as its "Spanishness" is concerned. This verdict is easily dismissed if coming from people who classified the Pryor Mountain mustang flatly as of the best Spanish type of all existing mustang herds - for, while there are certainly a few good Spanish types among them, there is a larger percentage of horses in that population that are of indifferent type.

It has been said that Kigers varied considerably, and I go along with that. However, having said that, every single other herd out there varies even more, and the same with the populations within registries. The Kigers are clearly the most uniform wild herd in existence today, or at least they were until not too long ago, because the management of the Kiger HMA by the BLM hasn't been favorable toward a homogenous type.

While there may be different opinions as to what constitutes Spanish conformation - even though there shouldn't be -, in my opinion Spanish conformation is certainly present in the Kiger herd sufficiently to characterize the Kiger as a Spanish mustang. Conformationwise, the Kiger does not have to take a back seat compared with any other mustang.

In another article I have pointed out that the genotype of most Kigers is an Iberian one, the same one that is found in other mustangs of Iberian extraction, like the Sulphur Springs, the SMR resp. SSMA horses, or the Pryors. Most Kigers have that same genotype. So again, the Kiger holds his own on that score, too.

Quite another issue is a Spanish history, or heritage. In assessing the history of other wild herds, people have made all kinds of claims, and most are just speculations. Well-meant efforts to document a Spanish history for the Sulphurs have focused on the Santa Fe trail, and on Indian raids into California. For the Pryor Mountain mustangs, the proximity to an old Indian travel route is stressed to "document" a Spanish ancestry. All that could, but will not be, disputed here, but what's not right is to deny the same for the Kigers.

That a Spanish heritage has been cracked up for the Pryor mustangs because an Indian travel route is supposed to have run in the relative vicinity of the Pryor range may seem weird though - as if Indians ever cared to look for Spanish type in the horses they stole, captured, or traded in! Indians took what useful horses they could get, and in many cases, simply what horses they could get.

While it stands to reason that, up to a certain point in time, what horses Indians had access to had to be descendants of Spanish horses, this wasn't necessarily the case anymore in later times, and certainly not anymore in the period before the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range was established. A compilation of historical facts regarding the Pryor horses which was published at one time by the BLM in Billings, Montana, makes it very obvious that whatever role Indian horses may have played in the foundation of the feral horses of that area, it was just a minor one at best.

We should be agreed on one thing: that for centuries, the wild horses were all derived from Spanish horses. There simply were hardly any other horses on American soil, definitely not in the West. The time when any relevant historical facts were recorded began about 100 or 150 years ago, and by then expeditions, trappers, settlers, and soldiers had made their way west, and horses from the East which were mostly of non-Spanish derivation had been introduced to the wild herds. So from then on, it was no longer a given that wild horses were necessarily of Spanish lineage. And nobody ought to entertain the idea that any Indian would have missed out on an opportunity to get his hands on a nice horse because he didn't consider it "Spanish"!

If we consider that the multitude of wild horses, all of Spanish descent, had originally spread from Mexico and Florida over all of what is the USA today, and well up into Canada, then we realize that there isn't a single region that couldn't have had its own original wild Spanish horse population - there is no need for special Indian raids, for a Santa Fe trail, for other trails, for Texas cowboys to have brought Spanish cow ponies up into Wyoming and Montana, for Indian travel routes to account for herds in the Big Horn Mountains, etc. There was plenty of opportunity for each neck of the woods to have retained its own original band of wild horses of Spanish ancestry, not because the animals were brought there due to certain circumstances, but because the horses wandered there by themselves in their expansion over North America, and found a secluded enough spot where they could escape pursuit.

One could even argue that all those regions that remained home to wild horses without any particular history would be more likely to have "uncontaminated" Spanish horses, and that where ever Man - white or red - has played any kind of a role, there were increased chances for an influx of other horse breeds!

In regard to the presence of Spanish wild horses in a given area the issue is not so much who brought them there, but rather how secluded could they have been there, and how isolated were they from contaminating influences.

In Walker D. Wyman's "The Wild Horse of the West" one finds a map, showing horses to have reached Indians in Oregon/Washington, and Alberta, by 1710, 1730, and 1750 resp., and Oregon/Idaho between 1690 and 1700. At that time, they had to be of Spanish extraction, at least predominantly so. C. H. Smith also gives a map ("The Naturalist's Library / Feral Horses of America"), showing the Navajos to have had horses by 1650, the Shoshone by 1690, the Nec Perce by 1710, the Cayuse by 1720, the Yakima, the Blood, and the Crow by 1730.

One of the more extensive accounts of the history of the Spanish mustang is J. Frank Dobie's "The Mustangs". Here are just a few quotes from Dobie, testifying to the early spread of the Spanish horse:

"Towards the middle of the 18th century, wild horses were appearing in the Saskatchewan country of Canada, and they were Spanish horses. About the same time, east and north of the Canadian plains, that remarkable aggregation of untribed Indians and half-breed Frenchmen called Bois Brules, or Burnt Woods, became suppliers of Spanish horses and pemmican to the trapper-traders on Hudson's Bay and along the Red River of the North."

"From the winter-locked waters of the upper Saskatchewan to the lone grove of palms at the mouth of the Rio Graride on the Gulf of Mexico, the tribes came to their zenith in ownership and use of horses just as westward-moving white men were about to unhorse them forever. Nobody will ever know how many horses they had. In the Peace River country in 1811, Alexander Henry made these observations: 'Some of the Blackfeet own 40 or 50 horses (apiece). But the Piegans have by far the greatest numbers; I have heard of one man who has 300. Those animals are got from their enemies southward - the Snakes, Flatheads, and other nations, who have vast herds."

"The Cayuse Indians in Idaho owned so many horses that their name became the name not only for Indian horses in general but for cow horses over the Northwest."

It is needless to point out the immediate proximity of Idaho to Oregon, and that the Cayuse were roaming in Oregon as well…

Referring to the Lewis and Clark expedition in regard to Indians possessing horses, Dobie wrote:

"On the untimbered reaches of the Columbia River basin, Lewis and Clark found the Indians, especially Flatheads and Nez Perces, possessed of 'emence numbers' of horses as well as 'large and fine' mules. Spanish brands on most of the mules and on some of the horses showed their origin. Some individual warriors owned from 20 to 100 horses each."

"The explorers heard of wild horses running on the Columbian plains."

Norma Bearcroft wrote in "Wild Horses of Canada":

"Pure Spanish horses appeared in Saskatchewan very early in the 18th ceritury (before 1720) . When in 1754 an English fur trader named Anthony Henday went west from Hudson Bay and probably became the first European to see the Rockies, he was surprised to see whole tribes of Indians in Saskatchewan mounted on Spanish horses from which they hunted buffalo."

"The Blackfoot Indians of Alberta and Saskatchewan had Spanish horses 150 years after Cortez (1700) … the Snake Indians, whose hunting grounds extended from the Missouri River to South Saskatchewan, were horsed in 1730."

"Canadian Indians travelled freely back and forth across the border, trading buffalo meat and stealing horses at Spanish settlements. Ogden (of the Hudson's Bay Company) wrote in his journal dated December 20, 1827, of the dispersal of horses left to run wild in a country hundreds of miles away from any Spanish source."

For all these reasons, Oregon doesn't need a particular history of Spaniards roaming that territory in order for the Kigers (and other Oregon mustangs) to be recognized as Spanish mustangs - the wild horses of Spanish ancestry were perfectly capable of wandering there by themselves, and evidently have done so.

However, if we are looking for instances where Spanish horses were directly taken to Oregon, we can indeed find those, too. Irrespective of how wild horses of Spanish ancestry have conquered the continent on their own, and how this was expedited by raids and trades of various Indian tribes, there is one general fact to consider: The California ranching culture, the California vaquero's way of riding and training a horse and of working cattle was omnipresent along the whole Pacific slope and the dominant influence there. This culture reached up into Oregon and Washington, and to adegree even into British Columbia and Alberta, as well as into Nevada, Arizona and Utah. It was defined not only by the way cattle were handled, but the lore, the customs, and the equipment were all the same in "vaquero country", or "buckaroo country", which had an influence as far as Montana, something that becomes obvious when we study Charles Russel paintings.

                                                                            Silver Bullet, Kiger mustang

The horses the California vaquero rode in his heyday were of straight Spanish descent, their ancestors stemming from Mexican (mostly Sonoran) horses, but occasionally refreshed by Spanish (and Portuguese) imports. And the California vaquero took them wherever he went - into Nevada, Utah, and definitely into Oregon. To this day, western horsemanship in Oregon is identical to that in California, and it's similar in Nevada.

The late Arnold Rojas has left us an invaluable heritage in his two books "These Were the Vaqueros" and "Vaqueros and Buckeroos", which are brimful with anecdotes, and information like descriptions of ranches, horses, and customs, and provide a wonderful look into the days when "California was still young", as he liked to put it. Most of the stories told are set in the second half of the 19th century, and the early 20th century. The following quotations are evidence not only about California's mustangs, but also give some examples of how ranches in California and Oregon and Nevada exchanged horses. - Even if up to that time no wild horses had found their way into the Steens Mountains and the surrounding area (something that's actually inconceivable), what was going on in the second half of the 19th century was evidently enough to account for wild horses of Spanish ancestry in southeastern Oregon!

Rojas, who was familiar with the modern reined cow horse (of Quarter Horse lineage) said of the Spanish mustang in general: "No amount of breeding could produce a better stock horse than the Spanish mustang."

One of the California mustang herds that Rojas kept referring to was the Barileno mustang. Of one individual he wrote:

"As to the horse, he was a Barileno, a fine strain of mustang found on the Tejon (ranch) at that time. The name is derived from Barilitos (Barrel Springs) in Antelope Valley, where a herd of wild horses ran. Colors were usually buckskin, dark palomino and mouse color."

We need to consider that Rojas most likely didn't differenciate properly between buckskins and duns, many of the horses he refers to here may have actually been duns.

In another story he dwells a bit more on the Barilerio mustang:

"This wild horse had its origin in the thirty-five mares and three stallions of purest Andalusian strain, brought into the desert and turned out to range at Barilito Springs by the ancestors of Don Jesus Lopez. The stallions fought for many days before the strongest conquered and killed his rivals. Thus the fittest survived to sire the wiry, compact mustang famous for endurance over the length and breadth of California … Nature provided them with a color to blend with the landscape; buckskin, grullos (crane colored) and golden palomino."

And some other place he wrote:

"Rancho Alamos y Agua Caliente was the property in part of Franscisco Lopez. Don Chico brought the first Spanish horses to Antelope Valley. They were called Barilenos - mustangs. Elisabet Lake was then known as Laguna de Chico Lopez."

Of wild horses in California Rojas said they

"were so plentiful that one would be roped and mounted whenever the need for a fresh horse arose."

"Wild mustangs were numerous on the ranges and Jack observed many things about them. The broncos were pursued and overtaken by men mounted on horses taken from the same wild band. The mounted ones could outrun the wild ones because they were fed grain."

More particularly regarding the spread of California mustangs into other states he wrote about cattle drives from California "into Utah when the Mormons … had stocked their ranges with California cattle and horses", and "… cattle move slowly, and cattle drives ran from one season into another through Nevada and into Utah."

"Perfecto Cuen … also told me he made drives into eastern Nevada and found the Indians there with documents given them by the early Spaniards. These migrations of cattle account for the slick Visalia saddle trees and rawhide reatas one finds in use on Nevada and Oregon ranches.

These drives must antedate the migrations over the Chisholm trail by some years and it must have been in the fifties (1850s) when the ranges in Nevada, Oregon and Utah were stocked with the California cattle and mustangs."

Then there are direct references to an exchange with Oregon ranches, ranches in the immediate vicinity of the Steens Mountains:

"Droughts, barb wire or bad luck would sometimes have so serious an effect on the colt crops that in a year or two the ranch would be short of saddle stock. One of the other ranches owned by the same company would send horses to supply the amount required for each man's string.

Foremen welcomed these opportunities to get rid of their meanest horses … This is how mustangs from the White Horse in Nevada, the Malheur or Harney in Oregon were to be found in the caballada (horse herd) on the Buttonwillow ranch in Kern county."

"Explorers in the Northwest found Spanish brands on horses as early as the 1830s. Cavalry mounts were obtained from a ranch in Kern County (California) in the 70's for use in Oregon, Arizona and in Mexico when American and Mexican cavalry joined in pursuit of the Apache Vitorio and his famous band."

"The Indians of the southern San Joaquin (valley) were by no means as docile. It was not long after the missions were founded that Tejonenos had learned the value of the animal (the horse) and had become expert in stealing them. They developed an uncanny ability for choosing only the superior horses among the bands. Many horses were driven across the Sierras to eventually come into the hands of tribesmen in the far North. Old-timers say, 'Se robaban los mejores" (They stole the best). Both, Juan Losada and George Leon of the Tejon Rancheria have told of Blackfeet raiding in the San Joaquin.

Explorers traveling along the borders of Canada met Indians riding horses which bore California brands."

Roping elk was one of the favorite pastimes of the vaquero:

"The Miller horses, which at that time were S Wrench Oregon mustangs, all weighing less than a thousand pounds, proved to be able to follow the elk better than any of the horses from the other ranches."

"The Spanish horse brought Blackfoot, Shoshone and Piute across the Sierra Nevada into the lush pastures along the coast to raid the missions and ranches. Mustangs were driven in many thousands over the Cajon, Tejon, Tehachapi, Walker's and other passes into New Mexico and across the Great Basin and over the Rockies into the prairie states."

"Ewing Young, the trapper, drove the first herd of cattle out of California into Oregon in 1836. This was the first of what might be called a 'trail herd' in the history of the West. Other cattle drovers soon began to follow his example, and after 1846 began moving great herds of cattle and horses to the East and North. Young had made a contract with the settlers of the Willamette Valley in Oregon to supply them with stock cattle. He finally hired a crew of vaqueros to drive his animals."

"He (Francisco 'Chico' Urrea) said that the Miller and Lux horses which were ridden by the vaqueros on the southern division were all S Wrench mustangs, and they came from the White Horse Ranch in Nevada and from the Malheur and Harney ranches of Miller and Lux in Oregon. These mustangs are not to be confused with the southern range ponies which the gringos called 'broomtails'. The Oregon and Nevada horses were of the best Spanish stock, the best range horses in the West. Among them, Francisco says, were bayo, buckskin; rusbayo, light buckskin; bayo zebruno, zebra stripped buckskin; and grullo, crane colored, or slate gray (these never failed to have a black line down the back)."

(Here, Rojas is obviously mentioning duns, even though he did not use the term).

"After he had acquired his lands in California, Henry Miller set out to find more range land for his cattle. He came upon hidden valleys, high in the mountains, between the deserts of Oregon and Nevada. In one way or another, he managed to buy the land that controlled the water. Once in control of the springs, creeks and rivers, he would have the use of millions of acres that would be worthless to other stockmen who owned no water rights. Much of the land Miller used for his cattle was either leased or free range. He had developed a cross between a Red Durham and Hereford, which would thrive on the roughest terrain. These he used to stock his Oregon and Nevada ranges. Among his proudest vaqueros were those who pushed cattle from the valleys of California across the Sierras into Pisen Switch on the Walker River in Nevada and up into the White Horse, Harney and Malheur, in Oregon."

Such undertakings, with vaqueros riding California horses, could not have failed to bring such horses into Oregon!

Arnold Rojas was not the only one who testified to the flow of California Spanish horses into Oregon. In Edward Gray's book "Life and Death of Oregon 'Cattle King' Peter French" we find on one page a photograph captured "Peter French and some of his best buckaroos who drove several thousand head of 4- and 5-year-old steers in the late 80s to Umatilla, Oregon" (from California).

Gray mentions somewhere else:

"Doctor Glenn picked a very competent young man (Peter French) to lead his cowboys and trail 1,200 head of cattle from the Jacinto Ranch (California) to Harney County."

"Giles French states that French left Colusa County, California, in June, 1872 with six Mexican vaqueros, a Chinese cook, and twelve hundred head of cattle. The cattle drive followed in part those made by earlier trail herds and sheep drives from Northern California to the mines of Canyon City, Oregon, and Silver City, Idaho. A well-definded route had been established to both cities by 1872."

Gray basically confirms what Rojas wrote about Henry Miller:

"There were others who started cattle operations with support or were themselves independently wealthy: Henry Miller and Charles Lux of the famed Miller and Lux cattle empire, better known as the Pacific Live Stock Company in Oregon. With ranches in Grant, Harney, and Malheur Counties, Miller and Lux had many ranches in Harney County with the most well-known being the Island and White Horse ranches. In 1895, Henry Miller managed over one million acres in the states of California, Nevada and Oregon. Over the years, the land these once proud men controlled from their offices in California have been divided, sold, or reverted back to government control. Nothing more than a few geographic names remind us of their past."

Let's finally take a look at whether or not the Spaniards themselves were in Oregon. Lenette Stroebel, Prineville, Oregon, stated:

"Gordon Shortreed here in Prineville has a Spanish sword found on the rimrock when Bowman dam was built. There are Spanish mines in the Camp Creek area, as well as the remains of a rock fort near the mines.

Early ranchers in the Camp Creek area found huge 'pots' (which they used for watering livestock) which are similar to those used in Spain today for certain mining processes. Camp Creek is perhaps 100 miles from Beatys Butte (where the original horses were gathered that became the nucleus of the Kiger herd). There is definite evidence of the Spanish having been here. There were not really any 'settlements', because their only reason for being here was to obtain gold. There is some evidence that the Spanish had expeditions as far as Canada and that the Indians (Shoshone) ended the Spanish occupation here, maybe about 1600. The last conflict between the Indians and Spanish was supposed to have been near the north end of the Steens Mountains.

Scott McDonald, Ukiah, Oregon:

"Not that it really matters, but there is some scant physical evidence of early Spanish exploration into southeastern and southcentral Oregon. Wild horses are documented in southeastern Oregon circa 1830, about 40 years prior to Anglo settlement."

"There are a lot of evidence of the Spaniards in this area (Oregon) prior to the settlers coming here, the trappers, etc,." said Andi Harmon from Oregon. "Many Indian legends speak of the Spaniards."

If one studies reports of expeditions to the West, one sometimes comes across accounts that testify the scarceness of horses, wild or in the hands of Indians. This is to question the dates given by some authors as to when the various Indians had acquired the horse, as well as the numbers given in other reports, the logic being it being that there couldn't have been many horses in a given area if hardly any were sighted during a trip of several weeks across the wilderness. However, I personally think it's entirely possible for plenty of wild horses to have existed in the general region where such a trip was made, without being seen at all. One must consider the vast expanses the horses roamed in, and that they were probably as wild and shy as so many deer or jackrabbits. One can today even drive all day across America in a car, through states that are home to thousands of deer, or elk, seeing but a few, or maybe even none at all. Just because a group of people made a trip of several hundred miles through the wilderness and didn't get to see many horses doesn't actually mean all that much...

Rather interesting is the fact that Arnold Rojas in his books more than once mentioned Portuguese that came to California, even when the country was in its infancy (or maybe especially then). One such reference is the following remark:

"This was probably a heritage of the Portuguese bullfighter, for many of the Conquistadores were Portuguese."

Don Avila, father of modern horse trainer and showman Bob Avila, told this writer that his name is Portuguese and that his family traces back to Portuguese immigrants.

The town of Vale in eastern Oregon possibly bears a Portuguese name - in both, Spanish and Portuguese, "vale" means "voucher" or "coupon", but in Portuguese it also means valley. Those familiar with the geography around Vale know that it's situated in a valley.

A question that might be impossible to answer today is, what is accountable for the fact that a mtDNA genotype is found in Oregon's Kiger herd that we don't find in other mustang populations. It is remarkable that the Kigers so far are the only mustang population with individuals of the A3 mtDNA pattern, which is found in about half of today's Lusitanos and Andalusians. Maybe it would be better to consider the North American mustang's original foundation not strictly a "Spanish" one, but refer to it as "Iberian", to include Portugal.

Taking a look at the more recent past prior to The Act, and the BLM's involvement, is also of interest. Much has been written and even more has been said and rumored about the Kigers' history that is simply wrong. "If people don't know the real story, they will often make up what they consider must have happened", said the late Ron Harding, formerly responsible for the Kiger and Riddle HMAs with the BLM.

Vickie Speirs, from Texas, had this remark to make regarding mustangs of southeastern Oregon:

" Gilbert Jones (born in the early 1900s and founder of the Southwest Spanish Mustang Association) … told me about the fine dun horses from the Kiger Gorge that he himself had seen as a young man."

Oregonian Andi Harmon wrote that her grandfather Billy, who had been in Southeastern Oregon before and after World War II, told about "countless numbers of duns that roamed just south of his place in south Catlow Valley in the l950s and l960s ... about 60-70 miles east, as the crow flies, from Beatys Butte."

According to Ron Harding, Kiger Gorge reportedly got its name due to a gentleman whose last name was Kiger, and who in search of forage for his cattle came upon the gorge. He wintered his cattle there, and the story also says that this Mr. Kiger saw horses there of "golden dun" color. However, those seemed to have disappeared by the time the BLM created the Kiger HMA. "One thing I do know is that the golden duns spoken of were not here when I arrived in 1974," said Harding. "When I first came to the knowledge about the dun factor horses now referred to as Kigers, an old horse runner by the name of Bob Bailey was the person that told me about them in 1974. He called them the 'Orianna mustangs' and said that if any of the duns were left that they would be found on Beatys Butte. I asked him why, and he said that there were no fences there and the terrain was so rocky you couldn't get to the area with a saddle horse. Needless to say, when we gathered Beatys Butte three years later, we found the dun horses. We put some of them on Riddle Mountain and some in the East Kiger Herd Management Area, after cleaning the horses out of the East Kiger HMA. Two mares from the East Kiger HMA were put back with the duns. Anything that has been done on the Riddle Mountain and Kiger HMA is a matter of record. Fortunately I kept good records through the years until 1996, when I retired. From what I can tell, the records are still in good shape."

In "Life and Death of Oregon 'Cattle King' Peter French", Edward Gray mentions several people by the name of Kiger. We read regarding the buying out of smaller ranches by Peter French:

"The first buy occurred on June 11 and July 13, 1878, when French paid Reuben C. and Menervia Kiger, and W. B. Kiger, $8,000 for 640 acres which extended his holdings to the upper end of Diamond Valley."

Thus, the story how Kiger Gorge got its name does seem credible...

So, for anyone willing to take an objective look at the history of California and Oregon, it is quite obvious that the existence of Spanish mustangs in Oregon cannot only be explained credibly, but under the circumstances was inevitable. Mustangs of Spanish resp. Iberian ancestry in Oregon may have derived from wild horse migration and Indian activities in the area, as well as directly through Spaniards, and cattle drives and ranching activities later.