Who in the world doesn't love horses? They're majestic, elegant creatures, no matter how big or small. Besides that, they have real personalities and can be incredibly useful in therapy and rehabilitation. There's one breed, however, that really stands out from the rest ... and it all comes down to their unique coats.
Just check out these ears. They definitely have the right shape to belong to a horse, but have you ever seen curly hair like that on a member of the equine family?
This particular breed is known as Curlies, although they're also called Bashkir Curlies or North American Curly Horses. Take one look, and it's easy to see where they got the name!
These special horses come in all colors, shapes, and sizes, but they each carry a gene that gives them their gorgeous curly hair.
The curliness of the hair can vary from horse to horse. Some have curly hair only in a few places, while "extreme" Curlies have very tight curls all over (although they can become entirely bald when it's time to shed in preparation for summer). Occasionally, purebred Curlies can show no curl at all, in which case they're called smooth coat Curlies.
This eye-catching hair isn't just for looks. The thick coat helps the horses stay warm in cold conditions.
As for their temperaments, Curlies are real winners. They are well-known for their calmness, friendliness, and intelligence. They are highly trainable and tough, to boot! They love people and are reported to do more reasoning than most other horses.
Because of their patience and level-headedness, they're often chosen as first horses for new riders. Can you imagine learning to ride on one of these beauties?
Of course, they're also natural candidates for competition. They have the endurance and ability to excel in the show ring. Curlies are frequent competitors in high-end dressage and show jumping meets. On top of all that, they are great for work and are commonly used as ranch and trail horses.
Interestingly, this breed is also great for those who are allergic to horses. Curlies are possibly the only hypoallergenic horse breed around. This is due to a specific protein that is missing from their hair.
So, from where did these gorgeous horses originate? The exact point of origin is highly debated within the Curly community. Charles Darwin documented Curly horses in South America in the 19th century and Native American artwork depicting the Battle of Little Bighorn in 1876 shows warriors atop Curlies. Others claim they hail from the Iberian Peninsula.
I think it's safe to say, however, that no matter where they came from, we're all glad that these gorgeous horses are here!
And if these beautiful Curlies captured your eye, then you're in for a real treat. The video below contains images of even more perfect specimens of the breed.