What is a Curly Horse?
A very rare breed of horse, with less than 4000 registered worldwide, I am often asked "What is a
Curly Horse?" Curlies, as they are affectionately called, are a breed of horse that originated with
the Native Americans of the northern United States as early as the 1700's. These horses have a
curly winter coat. Most Curlies have a slick, flat body coat, in the summer -- altho' some
individuals retain a little curl in the summer. It is normal for Curlies to have spiraling curls in their
manes and tails year round.
Almost all of today's Curlies can trace their ancestry back to horses the Crow and Sioux Indians
had as early as the 1700's (and probably much earlier). These Native Americans considered the
Curly Horse to be sacred, and referred to them as "buffalo ponies" due to the resemblance of their
curly winter coats to the coat of the American Bison (buffalo) coats. For more information on the
early Native American history of these horses, click here
Today, there are Curly Horse breeders and owners across the United States and Canada, and
Curlies have also been exported to several European countries. There are still a few wild born
Curlies in the BLM managed feral horse herds of the northern and western U.S.
There are currently three registries:
American Bashkir Curly registry (ABCR) http://www.abcregistry.org/
North American Curly Horse Registry (ICHO) http://www.curlyhorses.org/.
Curly Sporthorse International Registry (CSI) http://www.curlysporthorse.org
Many Curly Horses are registered with more than one of the registries.
Altho' the curly winter coat is certainly what first catches the eye about these horses, it is their
intelligence, curious natures, and calm dispositions that win over the hearts of their owners. They
are very versatile, and there are Curlies who are pony-sized, draft-sized, stock horse type, sport
horse type and gaited saddle horse type. Curlies come in every horse color. They can be found
competing in almost every discipline, from endurance and trails to hunter/jumper and dressage. An
added bonus is that most Curlies are hypoallergenic, allowing horse lovers with allergies to finally
enjoy owning and riding a horse.
To read more about the characteristics of these wonderful horses, go to
Blue in summer
Blue in winter