They are really cute (never had experience or seen one in person though!). Yep, they're hypo-allergenic. I think that's pretty cool.
I also like how if some people are allergic to 'regular' horses, they can still have a horse.
Hypo-allerginic means the animal doesn't produce whatever allergens people are allergic to. So if you are allergic to a horse, you wouldn't be to a hypo-allergenic horse, I was told they are genetically different from regular horses. My daughter was very allergic to horses at around 3-7 yrs. Old so we got a curly for her. Not all of them are hypo-allergenic and it depends on the particular horse and person. We live in CA and bought him from Oregon so the owner brushed him really good to work up the dander and all, put the hair in a baggie and shipped it to me so we could test this particular horse with my daughter. He passed the test so I went up and tried him out. He was a straight curly which means he was a purebred curly but didn't inherit the curly hair gene, only the hypo-allergenic part and a little curl in his mane. They are considered undesirable but I really liked it because usually most of them lose their mane and tail in the summer along with most of the curly hair and I don't like that, he kept his all year 'round. He had to be gelded to be registered so he wouldn't pass on his non-curly traits.
Great temperment, very "people" oriented, athletic, rare. When we bought ours, there were only about 3500 in the US.
Ok, you knew I'd have to weigh in on this one, lol. Curlies are *my* breed after all, lol. I'm severely allergic to horses so they were a natural choice for me.
There are two types of curlies: dominant and recessive. The recessive show up in many breeds but mostly in foxtrotters and percherons. The foxtrotter recessive curlies usually are of very poor health and most are euthanized at birth. The recessive curly percherons are as healthy as any horse and usually are extremely curly. I think it's generally accepted that the recessive curlies are hypoallergenic as well. I've met a foxtrotter recessive but I didn't get close enough to tell if I was allergic or not.
The dominant gene curlies mostly originate from the mustang herds out west. There are still curlies among the blm herds. There was also a curly who showed up in the Ozarks of Missouri and was bred to alot of foxtrotters. There are dominant curlies who are registered foxtrotters. These seem to have a different type of gene from the ones that originated out west. I've personally tested both types of dominant curlies and I was allergic to neither.
There are also smooth coated curlies. These are horses from at least one curly parent. Alot of them are hypoallergenic for some people. The straights I've met I wasn't allergic to either.
There are two curly registries. One is the ABC which is a "blood" registry. This registry is for curlies who have two curly parents. The other registry is the ICHO. They will register any horse that has either a curly parent or a curly coat. That's a really simple explanation. There's alot of politics between the registries . . . There is also a curly sporthorse registry. This registry sponsors inspections where the horses are judged and rated as sport horses.
As to what they're good for . . . Well that's a hard question. There are gaited curlies both of pure curly lines and outcrosses. They're suited for gaited horse things like trail riding and showing. There are curlies who are specifically bred to be sport horses. There are several breeders who outcross their curlies with warmbloods and tbs. One curly in particular was sucessful at upper level dressage. I just say upper level because I don't remember how far he went. 4th level maybe? I dunno. There are curlies who do western sports such as reining and roping. There are curly ponies of all sizes including ones that are 7/8ths mini. There are curlies who have been outcrossed with drafts and are nearly draft size. It seems that most people who show their curlies do so in the english disciplines. It's just easier to show a rare breed at open english shows. Alot of curlies are family horses for people with allergies. Most of us it seems, trail ride our curlies. There are curlies (some arab crosses) who do endurance as well.
Curlies tend to be very hardy. A couple of the original breeders started breeding them because the curly horses survived the harsh Montana winters that the other horses didn't. They usually have very hard, round hooves. Most curlies have short backs sometimes with the missing vertebrae. Curlies tend to be very friendly horses. They usually don't spook easy and their reaction to scary things is to turn and face it instead of running. Most curlies are easy to train. They can be like the appies in that their extreme intelligence can get in the way of training if you're using traditional methods. There have been misconceptions that curlies don't need things like grain, hoofcare or shelter. That's false, they're still horses and need the things regular horses do. Their coats are easily maintained. Some curlies will lose some or all of their manes and tails in the summer. Some curlies have super thick double manes.
Ok, here's my little herd. They are all outcrosses (mares were straights) and from homogygous for curls stallions. They are draft crosses. There's a pic of each of them in their summer coat and then the winter coat.
For more information visit www.curlyhorsecountry.com. There are links to the registries, pics of curlies in their winter coats and other information.
If you have any other questions, just ask. I love my curlies and would be happy to talk more about them, lol.
The curliness of the coat varies but it is desirable to have a curly coat. Most shed out the curl in the summer except in the mane. Our gelding was a straight curly which means his coat wasn't curly but he had a gorgeous double mane that had some spirals curls in it, tons of tail and in the winter he got one heck of a puffy winter coat that stood straight out! He looked a lot like a Kiger mustang in the summer. He was registered with the ABC registry and also as a Curly Sporthorse. His father and mother were both curly. The sire, Warrior's Big Sioux works cattle. His mother was part Highland pony and I think that's where his coloring came from. Our gelding grew to be 15.3 which is pretty large for a curly, great black hooves. Wonderful, in-your-pocket personality, very smart.
Curlies are the best horses out there, in my opinion. A couple of you in some previous posts have really nailed them in what they look like, what they are good for, and what their personalities are like. They are amazing all around horses. I have never had a horse like my first Curly, who is ten years old. She is a Arab/Curly cross. She has the body of the Arab with the curly coat with the deep heart girth of the curly and she is also gaited with the "curly shuffle". She is very fine and has small feet, unlike my gelding who is from foundation bloodlines and has more of a mustang/appy base ancestory. They are great all around horses. I just wish more people would breed them...