Curly Horse: a hypoallergenic horse breed

Curly Horses are, as the name suggests, horses with a curled coat. They are also called American Bashkir Curly Horses or North American Curly Horses. It is the only horse breed with a hypoallergenic coat, which makes this horse ideal for people with allergies to horses.


In 1898, Curly Horses were spotted in the state of Nevada in the United States of America. A number of horses with curly hair were seen by the Damele family in a herd of wild mustangs and caught. After this the family started breeding with these animals. It was later discovered that the horses had long been known in America, namely with the Indians. Some Indian tribes have been holding Curly Horses since the beginning of the 19th century. The horses were used by the Indians in the hunt for buffalo and were therefore also called 'buffalo ponies'. How the horses arrived in America is unclear. For a long time it was thought that the horse descended from the Bashkir, a Russian horse breed. This appears not to be the case. There are also indications that the horses came to America during the last ice age or that the Spaniards imported horses with the curly hair gene. No evidence was found for either of these suspicions.


Because the horses have been crossed a lot with other breeds, there is a wide variety of external characteristics to be found with the breed. The horses have a height at the withers of between 1.45 and 1.60 meters and are solidly built. The hooves of Curly Horses are almost perfectly round and very strong. They have small to medium-sized ears with curls in it. The lashes of the horses are also curled. Before Curly Horses are included in the official studbook, the American Bashkir Curly Registry, their DNA is tested first. This is how they are examined to see if they are hypoallergenic.

The fur

Curly Horses have a very special coat. The fur is not only curled, but also hypoallergenic. This means that people who are allergic to horses get a much less severe allergic reaction at Curly Horses. Sometimes they do not even suffer from their allergies at all, this depends on the severity of the allergy and the fur of the horse. It is not yet known how Curly Horses are hypoallergenic. This is probably due to the fact that Curlies have fewer and different types of proteins in their skin than other horses. The skin flakes that often cause the allergic reaction are therefore also different. It is known that the fur of a Curly Horse has more the texture of a sheepskin than a horse's fur. Curly horses are also softer than most other horses. They can occur in any color. Although you would expect that all Curlies have a curled coat, this is not the case. So-called Smooth-Coated Curlies are regularly born. Although these horses do not have a curled coat, they are hypoallergenic. How strong the fur is curled can vary greatly per horse. In the summer, most Curlies only have a slightly wavy coat, which is too short to really curl. A number of curly horses lose their tail and mane in the summer. In the winter, they simply grow again. In the winter the curly horses have a much stronger curly coat, varying from waves to small pipe curls. The fur of the horses insulates very well, so the horses can survive at very low temperatures.


Curly Horses are ideal family horses. In America they don't say for nothing: Gentle enough for a child, tough enough for a man. In other words: Friendly enough for a child, big enough for a man. The horses are calm and focused on very people. They don't get scared quickly. The horses can be used in all disciplines of sport. They have the most success with dressage, western and endurance.

Gaited Curly Horses

Horses normally have three courses: the walk, the trot and the canter. Some horse breeds, however, still have a fourth or even a fifth course, these horses are called aisle horses. Because Curly Horses have been crossed with many other breeds, including aisle horses, there are Curlies that have an extra walk. Not all horses of the breed have this, only one in ten Curlies has an extra course. The gait depends on the ancestors of the horse. For example, they can display the Foxtrot or the Running walk. The Curly Jim Gaited Curly Line is a bloodline that descends from Curly Jim. Curly Jim descended from a Missouri Foxtrotting Horse and could also do foxtrotting. The horse has produced many Foxtrotting Curlies.

Video: About the hypoallergenic Curly Horse! (February 2020).

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