Sunnybrook Stables

Home Page
Send us Mail!

The North American Curly Horse ID Standards

Following are the North American Curly Horse Breed characteristics specific to the original, mustang type Curlies.
Unusual Physiological Characteristics
1. Extra high red blood cell count, giving them ability to work at high altitudes and be exceptionally strong for their size. Also have white cell count at rest comparable to other breeds at work.
2. Quick breathing at work, may pant
3. Quick pulse and respiration recovery
4. Withstand extremely cold temperatures due to dense undercoat, curly top coat and small nostrils
5. Layer of fat
6. Veins located deeper
7. Extra thick hide, more like that of a cow then a horse
8. Very dense bone
9. Exceptional ability to assimilate feed, requiring less
10. Curly coat can be hypo-allergenic, is round instead of flat. It is barbed, or feathered, and can be spun and woven into garments. Testing proved it to be mohair instead of actual horse hair, and the fine, soft hair of the Curly can be compared to Angora Goat hair.
11. Can completely shed mane and tail in summer
12. Mature slowly, usually fully matured at 6 to 7 years

1.Body: (Fine, soft hair)
a. Ringlet
b. Marcel Wave
c. crushed Velvet
2. Mane: (Extra Fine hair)
a. Kinky - preferable
b. Wavy
c. Should shed in summer
d. Should part in the middle
3. Tail:
a. Ringlets
b. Wavy
c. Should mostly shed in summer
4. Fetlock:
a. Curly - preferable
b. Wavy
c. Should mostly shed in the summer
5. Ears:
a. Short, broad, should tip in at top
b. Tight curls inside
c. Inside curls should not shed in summer
6. Eyelashes:
a. Should curl up
Body Confirmation
1. Fore Quarters:
a. Powerful, rounded shoulders with good slope
b. Pronounced withers
c. V'd chest
2. Barrel:
a. Noticeably short, strong back, indicating five lumbar vertebrae
b. Fairly deep girth
c. Well-sprung rib cage
3. Hind Quarters:
a. Round rump without crease or dimple
b. Noticeable slope hip to tail
c. Full, muscular quarters
4. Neck:
a. Crested, noticeably so on stallions and mature horses
b. Supple
5. Head:
a. Noticeably small for size of horse at maturity
b. Short broad ears that turn in at the tip
c. Well-defined jaw
d. Curved throat latch
e. Small muzzle with noticeable slope
f. Small round nostrils
g. Shallow mouth
6. Eyes:
a. Soft, un-expressive, sleepy look when at rest
b. Hooded lid
c. Oriental slant
d. Curly eyelashes
7. Legs:
a. No ergots
b. Small, soft chestnuts, possibly none on hind legs
c. Fore legs appear short for size of horse
d. Medium length pasterns
e. Flaxen color below knees on sorrels if no white markings
f. Fore legs - Very straight, move straight.
g. Hind legs - Large, strong hocks, stout cannon, slightly cow-hocked. Well-defined gaskin muscle lesser inside
a. Should be black, even with white legs (preferable)
b. Almost perfectly round in shape
c. Very hard and dense, rarely need shoes
d. Medium size
1. Approximately 14-2 to 15-3 hh; however, Curly coats can appear in both Pony and Draft breeds
2. Weight for most Curlies approximately 1000 to 1300lbs.
1. Smooth gaits, usually with running walk or fox-trot
2. Long, ground-covering trot; they seem to float
3. Surprisingly athletic and fast ------------------------------------------------------------------------
Their most cherished quality is their calmness and extremely gentle disposition. We do feel that this is one of their finest features. Many have been taken off the open range, even full-grown animals, and in a day or two, they are gentler than horses that have been handled for years. Nothing seems to ruffle them. They do not tend to resort to flight when frightened, which has been claimed the horse's greatest means of survival. Curlies, with their naturally curios nature, prefer to face the unknown rather than run from it. If they feel something is a real danger to them, they prefer to kick rather than run. Although they may struggle frantically when first roped or haltered, their inherent gentleness willingly responds to kindness and affection, but they cannot seem to cope with, or tolerate abuse. They will tend to freeze in a tight spot so seldom get themselves hurt, even if caught in barbed wire. They delight in human companionship and love to be talked to.
Although there is a "dominant" curly gene that makes it possible to get curly-coated foals from curly coated parents, there is also a "recessive" gene that occasionally causes curly-coated foals to show up in the straight-coated breeds - from pony to draft horse! Strangely, the curly-coated foals, whether from "dominant" or "recessive" genes, all seem to carry most of the same basic traits. And many of these traits do not fit the norm for other breeds. Performance wise, Curlies are a no-nonsense horse and have an uncanny ability to do all that is asked of them, since they are unusually intelligent, learn quickly, and have a remarkable memory (for either good or bad experiences). They have won trophies in Arena events such as :Western riding, Reining, Gymkana Events, Hunter, Jumper, Roping, English Equitation, Western Pleasure, Gaited Pleasure, Dressage(check out: "Sparlock"and Driving. They have won in Competitive and Endurance Trail Riding and are excellent mounts in the mountains, ranch work and an all-round pleasure horse. As quoted from the "American Bashkir Curly Registry".