American Bashkir Curly Horse
Horses with curly coats are most certainly an ancient breed. They have been
depicted in art and statuary in early China as far back as 161 A.D., with evidence
also of their presence in South America and Europe. Indian pictographs
illustrating the "Winter Counts" of Sioux stealing curly horses from the Crow in
the early 1800's, gives the curlies verification of their presence in North America.
Many curlies from throughout the United States can be traced back to the
'Standing Rock/Cheyenne River Reservation' where this incident took place. A
photo of a curly coated Bashkir horse from Russia was printed in the 1938 March
issue of the Nature Magazine entitled "The Evolution of the Horse". The horse's
picture was later drawn by John Hix and featured in a cartoon called "Strange as
it seems". The clipping was seen and saved by the Damele family, who were early
curly breeders in Nevada, and this information was one of the factors that helped
determine the name of this unique breed, "The American Bashkir Curly".
Curlies have a proud carriage, are very alert, and not lazy. They have a double
mane, which splits down the middle leaving curly ringlets hanging on both sides
of the neck. Their body coat sheds out in the summer and they become wavy, or
fairly straight on their body, with their beautiful coat returning in the late fall.
Several winter coat patterns have been observed, from a crushed velvet effect, to a
perfect Marcel wave, to extremely tight curls over the entire body. It has been
tested and proven that flat hair is curly, yet when the hair of curlies was tested it
was found to be round. Also a number of owners who are allergic to horses find
that they are not allergic to their curlies.
Performance-wise, curlies are a no-nonsense horse and have an uncanny ability
to do all that is asked of them, since they are usually intelligent, learn quickly, and
have a remarkable memory. They have won trophies in arena events, competitive
and endurance trail riding, are excellent mounts in the mountains, do ranch
work, and are an all-around pleasure horse.
The American Bashkir Curly Registry was established in 1971 in Ely, Nevada, by a
handful of breeders with a deep love for these unique horses. Their sole purpose
was to preserve, propagate,and promote them. In January 2000, the American
Bashkir Curly Registry became a blood registry recognizing only horses that are
bred ABC Curly to Curly, in order to establish a true breed standard for the Curly
horse. At that time the International Curly Horse Organization (ICHO) was then
established to continue the registration of all Curly haired horses, even those such
as the Curly Mustangs of unknown parentage and those from outcross programs
For more info about Curly Horses go to