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 HISTORY
 

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THE ORIGINS OF THE CURLY GENE


The first traces of the existence of the Curly horse dates back to 1801. Indeed, drawings done on animal skins show a horse whose hair is curly. These "winter tales" (which could match a plan) show great buffalo hunts, and wars between the Sioux, Crow. Chief Red Cloud, himself, has appeared in 1876 on a drawing describing the great battle of Little Big Horn against General Custer. They also say that the famous Sitting Bull was a Curly horse.

The Curlies were called "Buffalo ponies" by the Indians, who respected them and attached a mystical value. Therefore they were reserved for shamans and sorcerers. Their name may have come from the idea that their fur coats resembled the coat of the buffalo or the fact that they were used as sacred horses during the first buffalo hunt of the year.

The first American documents regarding the Curly gene were:
- The theory, now discarded, native horses, arrived by Bering Strait thousands of years before the introduction of Iberian horses.
- The hypothesis north-south: they have been imported into North America from the region of Bashkortostan, by Russian settlers. However studies have shown that these horses were not curly.

It was also suggested that the Celts or the Scandinavians could haveintroduced Curly horses into North America before the 15th century, but this theory has not been fully explored.

Curly Horses have been reported in South America since the late seventeenth century. It’s possible that these horses have arrived with conquistadors, because there are several breeds of horses in Europe with slightly curly hair. However this theory is not fully satisfactory because these horses were not hypoallergenic.

It’s clear that the origin of the Curly horse has attracted much research and many questions, butthe most widely accepted hypothesis today is that the origin of the gene comes from a horsecalled, Lokai, from a region of Central Asia, Tajikistan.

It would therefore not seem to be derived from Bashkirs, which is where it unfairly takes the name Bashkir. In the 1930s, an article was published showing anillustration of a horse from curly Bashkirs. From this was deducted the name Bashkir. But if the Bashkir does exist, it is a horse with ‘stiff bristles’, and has a curly coat ... like Lokai!

It is therefore more accurate to simply call this horse NORTHERN CURLY AMERICAN.



Around 1880, Tom Dixon, a farmer in Nevada, was one of the first to want to breed Curlies using the stallion Lokai and 4 mares. He kept 2 of the stallions from this breeding and released the others. They joined the wild mustangs, descendants of the Iberian horses. The few Curly horse specimens on the American continent have the Curly gene. The horses were hated by livestock and were therefore eliminated. Being in the wild allowed them to reproduce.
A photo of a U.S. Soldier on a Curly horse from 1906.
(this photo was on eBay, purchased by Michelle Ives)

 

The Darnels family is probably the foundation of the Curly breed.
Thanks to these breeders we are gifted with the Curly race as we know it today. In 1864, in Eureka, Nevada, which is where Giovani settled, said "John Darnel, a native from Genoa in Italy, who re discovered the Curly race.
He identified his 2 ‘wild Curly horses’ in a  herd of mustangs. These horses were probably the descendants of  horses from Spanish explorers, miners or horses which had escaped from farms or the American cavalry, and Indian tribes. See also the descendants of Lokaïs from Tom Dixon.
In 1931, two of Darnels Curlies were capture and broken in. This was their first experience of being ridden.
In 1932, a terrible winter decimated herds of horses and cattle. To bounce back, they decided to capture new wild horses. The only survivors of the wild herds were almost all Curly. They didn’t hesitate to re-launch their livestock using the basis of Curly blood, and to improve the breed so they were adapted to work on the ranch.
In late 1942, the Darnels marked their horses with a "3D", this marking is still used on horses from the same line originating from their ranch.
The winter of 1951-1952 was devastating again. And again, only the Curlies on the ranch andtheir pure descendants or Curly crosses survived. To further boost their adaptations, the very famous "Cooper D” is one of the founding fathers of our current Curly...