Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron

Question: Why does the Colonel let Spirit escape at the end of the movie? I know it's meant to be a sign of respect. But why would they respect each other? In my opinion they have no reasons to have mutual respect.

Chosen answer: You don't have to have mutual respect to do what is right or just. Letting Spirit escape was the morally right thing for the Colonel to do.

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Answer: Because the colonel saw that Spirit and Little Creek had a strong bond, and how hard Spirit had worked for his freedom.

Answer: Because he probably gave up.

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