Equine Breed Menu

American Bashkir Curlies

American Bashkir Curlies

American Bashkir Curlies
Breed Organization
The American Bashkir Curly Registry
Website: http://www.ABCRegistry.org
International Curly Horse Organization
Website: http://www.curlyhorses.org
Curly Sporthorse International
Website: http://www.curlysporthorse.org
Canadian Curly Horse Association
Website: http://www.curlyhorse.ca
Native Country
United States Of America
Other Names
Curly, Bashkir Curly, North American Curly Horse
Average Height
14 to 16h, though they can range from Miniature horses to Draft horses.
Rider Experience Level
It varies on level of training.
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.

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.

The 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.

The horses are very hardy and are generally in good health, and don't have any common horse illness.

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 trotting showing.

Horse Herd