Horse breeds: curly horses
There are many different horse breeds. One of these horse breeds is the curly horse. The horses of this breed have a curly mane, a curled tail and, in most cases, a curly coat. This horse breed is still relatively unknown but is becoming more common because the breed is suitable for people with a horse allergy.
Curly horses are not very well known in the world yet, it is a breed that has been around for a very long time. It has been proven by scientists that during the time when the Native Americans still ruled North America, there was a battle between the different tribes for the curly horses. The curly horses, like the wild mustangs, lived in a herd with a stallion as the leader. In 1898 the first curly horse breeding farm was founded by a man named Peter Damele. It is quite certain that all curly horses today are descended from this breeding.
Curly horses are still very rare, there are about 4000 horses registered in the studbook in 2015. According to some people they are the result of people who have tried to breed specifically for them; however, this is not correct. The truth is, the horses are the result of the very cold winters in the United States. In order to keep warm, these horses have developed a very special coat over the years. In winter there can be a thick layer of snow on the horses without being bothered by it. In curly horses, the hair follicles are not round but oval, this ensures the rotation of the hair. Heat can be better retained between the curled hair and the skin. When the hair of a curly horse is taken under a microscope, it looks more like sheep wool than normal horse hair.
The curls differ very much per horse. One horse has a more wavy coat and the other horse only has small curls. All horses have a curled tail and curled mane. The hairs in their ears are also curly. Most curly horses have very long, highly visible eyelashes. In the summer the coat has less curl than in the winter. The summer coat is often so short that only a light stroke is visible.
There is an exception with the curlies, these are the straight curlies. These horses have a smooth coat in summer and winter. The straight curlies, like all other curlies, have a wavy tail and mane. Curly horses come in all possible colors and sizes. Their height at the withers varies from 1.30 to 1.70 m. Curlies are known of almost all breeds, there are cold bloods, quarter horses, mustangs but there are also very elegant riding horses known with curls.
The disadvantage of the curly horses is that at a certain point people started breeding purely for the curls, little attention was paid to other properties. Horses were born with a wrong build and an aggressive character. Fortunately, since the 21st century, people have increasingly been breeding on an all-round, well-behaved horse.
Curly horses are especially popular with people who are allergic to ordinary horses. Symptoms of a horse allergy are: sneezing fits, burning eyes and sensitive, red skin. Scientists have found that people who normally have an allergic reaction to horses do not do this to curly horses. At first it was thought that this was due to the wavy hair, this is not the case. The cause of no reaction is much more complicated. Most people are allergic to the protein compounds in horse dander. These allergens occur to a much lesser extent in curly’s, these horses also have much less dander. Straight curlies also do not cause an allergic reaction in humans. Since it was discovered that curly horses are suitable for people who are normally allergic, they have been bred in increasing numbers.