American Curly

American Curly Horse

   The American Bashkir Curly dates to 1898 when Peter Damele and his father were riding horseback in the Peter Hanson mountain range in the remote high country of central Nevada, near Austin. There they discovered three horses with tight, curly ringlets covering their entire bodies. Since then, curly horses have been found on the Damele range and many Curlies in the United States can be traced to that herd.     The Bashkir Curly gets it name from the ancient Russian breed, the Bashkir, from which the modern Curly was believed to have descended.
   Various theories have been proposed to explain the presence of the Curly horse in North America. Some have suggested that they came across the Bering Strait land bridge during the last ice age, but no fossil evidence has been found to support that. Others suggest that curly coated horses were imported while the Russians occupied parts of the West Coast of North America. However, Thomas' research shows there was no mention of the importation of horses into North America by Russian settlers in their ship logs. Horses were used on a limited basis during the Russian experimentation with farming during the late 1700s and early 1800s in present day Alaska. Another theory is that a man by the name of Tom Dixon imported curly horses from northern India to Nevada around 1880. Although this theory cannot be fully proved or disproved the Curly horse was already present in America by that time. Evidence shows that Sioux Indians had Curly horses as early as 1801-02 and in his 1848 autobiography circus master, P. T. Barnum, writes of obtaining and exhibiting a curly horse.
    As early as the late 1700s, sightings of curly horses were reported in South America. It seems possible, but cannot be concluded, that the Spanish conquistadors may have brought curly horses, or the curly gene, to South America, as there are several European breeds with curly hair. Another suggestion is that Norse or Celtic explorers brought curly horses to North America prior to 1492 but this theory has yet to be fully investigated. With all of these possibilities as to the origin of this unique breed no definitive answers have yet to be agreed upon.
   The American Bashkir Curly has excelled in many events, including barrel racing, pole bending, Western riding, gymkhana, hunter, jumper, roping, cutting, English equitation, English pleasure, Western equitation, Western pleasure, gaited pleasure and competitive and endurance trail riding.
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