American Bashkir Curly Article and Photos Copyrighted - see credits below
There are various theories put forth to explain how the American Bashkir Curly horse developed in the US and none of the theories are without gaping holes. The Curly was depicted in artwork in Asia from very early times and also in South American as late as the early Eighteenth Century. Yet the horse did develop in the US by some means and is a breed native to the United States, developed from Bashkir type horses found in the American Northwest.
It is certain that the Curlies were prized by the American Indian and that they were running wild in the US as early at the 1800’s. The artwork of the Native American’s displays American Bashkir Curly horses in the battle of Little Bighorn and this horse was deemed sacred and ridden by chiefs.
AMERICAN BASHKIR CURLY vs RUSSIAN BASHKIR
The Russian Bashkir horse, often confused by the unknowing with the American, is a meat/milk animal and though thick coated, is not curly. In the 1970’s and 80’s it was thought that the American Curlies were the same or very closely related to the Russian horse, and a lot of misinformation was published, during those years. However, DNA and genetic research in the last 10 or 15 years has definitively determined they are two totally separate breeds.
The American Bashkir Curly heights range from 13.3 to 15 hands. They do have curly coats, and a docile temperament along with great intelligence.
In fact, there is much that is curly about the American Curlies, which is not true about the Russian horse, including coats with varied curly textures and characteristics, eyelashes, fetlocks, kinky tails and manes and curly hair in the ears that does not shed in heat. They have split manes which are never clipped or braided for the show ring. They also have very dense bone, with short cannons, resulting in a long stride with bold movement. They have tough hooves and exceptional endurance. and are reputed to have a quick pulse and recovery time.
THE AMERICAN BASHKIR CURLY IN THE USA TODAY
The American Bashkir Curly has the heart and endurance as well as the movement to excel in today’s competitions and they are successful in jumping and endurance and many other disciplines. Many have made good at the upper levels of dressage, while others have proven to be reliable mounts and patient teachers for the beginner or the weekend exhibitor. For sure, these horses have that “stand out” quality that will catch the judge’s eye as well as the carriage and agility of movement to keep that attention until time for the ribbons!
Many of the original Curlies were out-crossed and of course this is still done today and the resulting horses are highly competitive as sport horses, but thankfully a registry for the pure American Bashkir Curly was formed in 1971 based on a total pool of only twenty one horses. Today the world population is over 4,000 with exports around the world.
Another interesting and helpful bit of information is the claim of so many owners who say they are allergic to horses, but not to the Bashkir Curly. It is stated that the shaft of their unusual coat-hair does not possess a certain protein that causes allergic reactions to other horses. There is a different structure to the hair under the microscope and this is also what causes the hair to be curly.