Home Back Issues Nov/Dec 2012 Mustang money

Mustang money

| Print |  Email
Articles - Nov/Dec 2012
Monday, November 05, 2012
Article Index
Mustang money
Page 2
Page 3
Page 4

BY LEE VAN DER VOO

 

1112 MustangMoney 01
Above: A herd of Kigers at Rick Littleton’s Kiger Mustang Ranch in Bend, one of the largest Kiger breeding ranches in Oregon, and one of only a few breeders in the United States to maintain a herd of mares and stallions in a regular breeding program. Only about 100 Kiger mustangs exist in the wild today. Another 1,000 live in captivity.
Below: Rick Littleton’s grandfather had him riding wild horses at the age of 3 and breaking them by 7. The family earned $30 for each wild horse they broke and sold on their Wyoming ranch in those days. Today Littleton is one of the largest Kiger breeders in Oregon, once selling a horse for roughly $20,000.
// Photos by Joseph Eastburn
1112 MustangMoney 02

Steve Polinger fell in love. Too many times. With his wife’s permission to bring three or four horses home from Oregon, he ended up with 12. They were so good, he says, he just couldn’t stop bidding.

The horses, all Kiger mustangs, all rounded up in Southeast Oregon by the Bureau of Land Management, are something of a seed crop now. Only about 100 Kigers still exist in the wild. The other 1,000 or so live in captivity with owners and breeders like Polinger, entrenched as he is in a personal pursuit to preserve this horse with presumed ties to the Conquistadors.

“Integrity is how you make money,” Polinger says. And from that perch, he is poised to become the provider of the highest-quality Kigers in the Southwest. At his home in Tucson, Ariz., he keeps a small herd of Kigers in a state-of-the-art adobe barn. He plans to compete with prominent Kiger breeders in Texas, Washington and Oregon, where the breed was founded. Numerous small breeding operations also dot the Pacific Northwest and the country.

Polinger’s enthusiastic entry into the Kiger marketplace comes amid hopeful discussion about the future of the breed, talk that follows several years of breeder consolidation in a generally limping horse economy. It also follows deep controversy in the Kiger community about crossbreeding of the horses with other mustangs, a practice that’s called counterfeiting by some, a nonissue by others, and has meanwhile raised major concerns for buyers.

These horse lovers will tell you: Kigers are not just any other mustang. A unique wild breed that exhibits characteristics of the Spanish mustang, Kigers hail from the remote Steens and Riddle ranges of Southeastern Oregon. They are collected by a diverse fan club that includes trail riders and eccentrics, executives and well-heeled Europeans. Coveted for an unusual ability to form close bonds with humans, they are also known for their good looks: stripes on the knees and hocks, stunning bicolored manes and tails, dark ears, and face masks evocative of the Wild West.

 



 

More Articles

Downtime

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY

I'm not very interesting,” says a modest Ray Di Carlo, CEO and executive producer of Bent Image Labs, an animation and visual effects studio.


Read more...

October surprise

News
Sunday, October 12, 2014
roundup-logo-thumb-14BY LINDA BAKER

Cylvia Hayes, tabloid vs. watchdog journalism and the looming threat of a Cascadia earthquake.


Read more...

Healthcare Perspective

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY KIM MOORE

A conversation with Majd El-Azma, president and CEO of LifeWise Health Plan of Oregon, followed by the Healthcare Powerlist.


Read more...

The 100 Best Companies survey is open

News
Friday, October 24, 2014

100-best-logo-2015 500pxw-1How does your workplace stack up against competitors? How can you improve workplace practices to help recruit and retain employees? Find out by taking our 100 Best Companies to Work for in Oregon survey!


Read more...

Grape Expectations

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY HANNAH WALLACE

Well-financed outsiders from France and California are buying up vineyards and wineries in the Willamette Valley.


Read more...

Reimagining education to solve Oregon's student debt and underemployment problems

News
Thursday, November 13, 2014
carsonstudentdept-thumbBY RYAN CARSON | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

How do we skill up our future technology workforce in a smart way to take advantage of these high-paying jobs? The answer shouldn’t focus only on helping people get a bachelor’s degree.


Read more...

The short list: 5 companies making a mint off kale

The Latest
Thursday, November 20, 2014
kale-thumbnailBY OB STAFF

Farmers, grocery stores and food processors cash in on kale.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS