Breed Description American Bashkir Curly horses appear in all
common horse colors including Appaloosa and Pinto. A typical Curly
is of medium size, resembling the early-day Morgan in conformation.
Many individuals have been found without ergots. Some have small,
soft chestnuts. The wide set eyes (characteristic of Oriental
horses) are said to give the breed a wider range of vision to the
rear. The knees are flat. They have strong hocks short, strong
backs; the rump is round without a crease; shoulders are powerful
and rounded; and the chest is wide and deep. Foals arrive with
thick, curly coats, curls inside their ears and curly eyelashes.
One odd feature of Curlies is that they often completely shed out
the mane hair and sometimes the tail in the summer, growing it back
in the winter. The hair of the mane and tail is fine and silky but
often quite kinky. The summer coat is often wavy or rather straight
with the curls returning in the winter coat. The American Bashkir
Curly transmits the curly characteristics to offspring approximately
half of the time even when mated to horses without the curly coat.
The American Bashkir Curly has a gentle nature and is easy to train.
They are hardy and able to survive extreme winter conditions.
Curlies are acclaimed to be the only hypoallergenic horse breed;
most people allergic to horses can handle Curly Horses without
suffering any allergic reaction. Research indicates a protein is
missing from the hair of Curlies which may be what causes allergic
reactions to horses in allergy suffers, but the study was never
officially published. Members of the Curly Community are working
towards funding more research on this.
History There are multiple theories for how the
American Curly developed. The Curly horse was first documented in
Eureka, Nevada in the early 20th century by rancher John Damele and
his sons. While Mustangs were a common sight, curly coated horses
were unusual. Years later, the Dameles managed to catch one, broke
it to ride and sold it, thus starting their relationship with the
breed. In 1932, an unusually harsh winter hit the area, and come
spring the only horses that could be found were the Curlies. This
evidence of hardiness was noted by the Damele family, and they
decided they should include more of these horses in their herd.
After another harsh winter in 1951/52, the Dameles started to get
serious about breeding these horses. They went out and found their
foundation stallion, a two year old chestnut in one of the mustang
herds. They called him Copper D. The Dameles didn't care much for
keeping the breed 'pure', and wanting to improve their horses, added
some other blood to their herd. Among the stallions introduced were
a Morgan, Ruby Red King AMHR 26101 and an Arabian, Nevada Red AHR
18125. These two stallions created many offspring for the Dameles,
and are in hundreds of Curly horses' pedigrees today.
Bashkir Curly gets it name from the ancient Russian breed, the
Bashkir, from which the modern Curly was believed to have descended.
However, the American horses may have been incorrectly named.
Research done by Shan Thomas for the CS Fund and resulting in the
report, Myth and Mystery: The Curly Horse in America, indicates that
the Russian breed most often found with the curly coat is the Lokai
breed, found in the Taijikistan region.
Behavior - American Bashkir Curly Horse Registry Their most cherished quality is their calmness
and extremely gentle disposition. We do feel that this is one of
their finest features. Many have been taken off the open range, even
full grown animals, and in a day or two, they are gentler than
horses that have been handled for years. Nothing seems to ruffle
them. They do not tend to resort too flight when frightened, which
has been claimed the horse's greatest means of survival. Curlies,
with their naturally curious nature, prefer to face the unknown
rather than run from it. If they feel something is a real danger to
them, they prefer to kick rather than run. Although they will
struggle frantically when first roped or haltered, they soon respond
to kindness and affection because of their inherent gentle nature.
They seem unable to cope with or tolerate abuse. They will tend to
freeze in a tight spot so seldom get themselves hurt, even if caught
in barbed wire. They will delight in human companionship and love to
be talked to.
Health The horses are very hardy and are generally in
good health, and don't have any common horse illness.
Function Though eye catching and unusual in the show
ring, Curlies have the movement, endurance, and heart to excel in
competition. Curlies have been shown at upper levels of dressage and
show jumping, and others have proved the reliable mount and patient
teacher for the weekend competitor. Curlies are characteristically
quiet, level headed horses that make excellent first horses for
supervised beginner riders. Curlies have carried horse-allergic
riders from beginner status through ever more advanced stages of
equestrianism. They have also been used for combined driving,
western riding, ranch horses, trail horses, and companions for other
horses. Some Curlies have been crossbred to gaited horses. About 10%
of the crossbreds will do one of the ambling gaits such as the
running walk, fox trot or the stepping pace, which is also called
the "Curly shuffle." Curlies are not used for racing or high