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Curly Coated Wild Horses
If you've been looking for a horse that's good with kids and an intelligent working animal, look no more. The American Bashkir Curly - once an outcast because of its curly coat - is catching on like gangbusters with horse lovers and breeders throughout the country.
"They love people and really want attention. They're always the first to greet me in the morning," says Linda Strickland, Metamora, Ind., who owns several Curlys and is breeding more. "They're extremely intelligent and easy to train so that when brought in from the wild through the government's adopt-a-horse program, they're easily broken and quickly under saddle."
American Bashkir Curlys were first recognized as a breed in 1971 when 20 Curly horses were located and registered. Today there are more than 430 domesticated Curlys in the U.S. and the number is growing rapidly.
No one knows where the Curlys came from but horses with curly coats are found in Russia and speculation has it that they may have come across the Bering Straits and down through Alaska. They were once thought of as defective because of their 3 to 6-in. long curly hair but breeders now recognize that the hair - which is shed in the summer along with their mane and part of the tail - is the mark of a breed with brains and a desire to be with people.
Curly's are average in height - Strickland's stallion stands 16.1hands high - and require neither shoes nor any special care. One unusual fact about the breed is that most people who are normally allergic to horse hair find that they're not allergic to Curlys. The animals have black hooves that are almost round in shape. Their coat is often sorrel colored but, due to cross-breeding, may sport almost any coloring.
Strickland got her stallion, the Red Baron, from the Bureau of Land Management's Adopt-A-Wild-Horse program because most Curlys are still in the wild. She says he was easily broken to pleasure riding in just two days. "He's smart and almost seems to have ESP. When I'm trying to herd my other horses, it's almost like he can sense what I'm thinking and helps me without asking," she says.
Strickland says there's about a 50% chance that Curly offspring will have curly hair, although the breed also recognizes non-curly animals. Despite the limited number of Curlys, the animals have appeared in the Rose Bowl the past two years and have begun to win trophies and awards in horse shows throughout the country.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Linda Strickland, Rt. 1, Box 150, Metamora, Ind. 47030 (ph 317 647-3633).
You may also contact the breed registry. Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, American Bashkir Curly, Box 453, Ely, Nevada 89301 (ph 702 289-4228).

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1985 - Volume #9, Issue #3