Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron.pirit was used as an inspiration and model for the artists and animators during the making of the 2002 DreamWorks animated film Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron. The film, based on a script about a wild mustang written by John Fusco, a long-time figure in the mustang community, and was a combination of hand-drawn, traditional animation and state-of-the-art computer animation.
In April 2002, after completion of the film, DreamWorks relocated Spirit to Return to Freedom Wild Horse Sanctuary, where he serves as a prominent ambassador of the Kiger Mustang breed. At his new home, Spirit will be able to spend his days exploring large pastures at the Sanctuary and enjoying new friends. We are delighted to create a new home for Spirit where he can continue to thrive and inspire our visitors to preserve the heritage of these magnificent animals.
Sired by the foundation stallion Steens Kiger, the first horse admitted to the Steens Mountain Kiger Registry studbook. Spirit is listed in the Steens Mountain Kiger Registry as Donner of Steens Mountain.
The Bureau of Land Management discovered the Kiger horses on the on the high desert of southeastern Oregon in 1977. Government officials agreed that they had found very unique horses. To preserve them, they moved this small band of horses to other areas on the north end of the Steens Mountain near Kiger Gorge. The Kiger breed takes its name from this region.
Kigers range from 13.3 to 15.2 hands. The majority are duns, but Kigers can also be other colors, including bay, grullo, red dun, roan, or black. An unusual color, termed “claybank” by the Kiger community, combines dun with cream to create the palest line-backed representatives of the breed.
Some Kigers have white markings, but excessive white is discouraged. Kigers are short-coupled: they have a low tail-set, characteristic “hook- shaped” ears, and luxuriant manes and tails. The phenotype is considered, by many, to be of a Spanish horse.
Area of origin: Although Spirit was ranch-bred in Bend, Oregon, the Kiger Mustang originates in the Kiger/Riddle Herd Management Areas of Steens Mountain, on the high desert of southeastern Oregon.
Breed: Kiger Mustang
Color type: Dun with dorsal stripe
Birthday: Spirit was born May 8, 1995
Came to Return to Freedom: April 2002
They knew they wanted to find a beautiful and majestic Mustang — a true symbol of the untamed American West. And when they first laid eyes on Spirit, they knew they had found the creature that would give them the inspiration to tell a compelling story about a wild mustang stallion and his fight for freedom.
Spirit was also chosen because he has a great personality and the way he moved was truly beautiful. He is playful and interacts very well with people. And that was really important because he posed many, many times so the animators could sit and draw and study him for hours on end.