Friday, August 16, 2013

Bashkir Curly Horse

 In 1898, a father and son found a small herd of three curly-coated horses living in the foothills of a mountain range in Nevada. They brought them home and began breeding them.

 Where the breed came from is a mystery. Some believe that early settlers, maybe even Russians or Vikings, brought the breed to America in the 1800s, naming it after an ancient Russian breed from the Bashkortostan region. Still, many people disagree with this theory, arguing that the curly-coated Russian breed was not the Bashkir, but the Lokai.

This breed's most distinctive trait is its curly coat.
 Although its history and origins are yet unknown, people have come up with various theories. Some people say that the Curlies traveled across the Bering Strait during the last ice age. Others believe that Russians took them to Alaska. Still, their is no evidence to support either of these theories, and the second one has actually been disproved by a man named Shan Thomas, who had researched the possibility extensively. He had discovered that there was no mention of importing horses in Russian ship logs. Even if Bashkir horses were imported, it would have been impossible for them to make the perilous 3,000 mile journey through bitter cold blizzards and blistering deserts, all the way from Alaska to Nevada.

 Sightings of Curly Horses in South America have been reported as early as the late 1700s. This means that Curlies, or horses with the same gene, could have been brought to the continent long before the 1800s.

 In a Serology Lab in UC-Davis, people have done blood tests on 200 random Bashkir Curlies, finding that none of them displayed similar blood characteristics, as animals of the same breed would. In fact, each had blood characteristics of various different breeds, so each Curly was different with different breeds in its bloodline. This means that Curly Horses aren't a genetically distinct breed, but a type!

 Along those same lines, when a Curly Horse is bred to a horse without a curly coat, there is a 50% chance that their offspring would bear a curly coat.

 Curlies are born with hundreds of type curls all over their body. They are hardy horses, able to endure all kinds of harsh climates, and are bulky and round, usually standing from 14.2 to 15.1 hands high.

 Because Curlies are sure-footed, and agile, they make excellent trail, gymkhana, and western horses. They are also found in the dressage arena.

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