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Creekside Curlies

Your Curly Horse Resource

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Adorned in Curls, The External Sign of Internal Beauty - Hypoallergenic Curly Horses


This website was created to promote & educate people about the incredible Curly Horse. If you think their lush curls & spiral manes are fascinating, we are going to take you on quite a journey!


When the topic of Curly Horses come up, most people imagine a pony. Interestingly, Curly Horses typically range in size from 14.2h - 15.2. However, you will find draft & mini curly coated horses as well. They are extremely versatile from pulling a cart, competing successfully in dressage, reining, jumping, and everything in between. There is also a small & extremely rare percentage of Curly Horses that are gaited, producing a flat walk, foxtrot, single foot and Indian shuffle. Much of their versatility is credited, not just to their body type, but to their willingness, intelligence & love for humans. They were known as the "dog horses" of the horse world by the Indians. Their curly coat, curly eyelashes and curly manes & tails contribute to a hypoallergenic quality unlike any other breed. It is thought that it is the oil in the hair more than the hair that may help with dander. However their hair is much more like mohair verses horse hair, so you can spin it like wool. Pretty cool eh? And this is just a start! Please read on and click the links provided to learn more.


Click here for Curly Horses for sale & Stallions @ Stud


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Creekside Curlies

Curlies are very people oriented. They are curious and a willing partner. In most cases, they are non-spooky, bold and highly intelligent. They are herd smart & loyal.

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Discover the origin of Curly Horses in the US.


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Three Feathers Curly Horses

The Curly Coat is very unique & offers a hypoallergenic quality for those with allergies.




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Saskia Melina Fotografie

Curly Horse are bred to do just about everything! Dressage, Jumping, Trail, Reining, English Pleasure & More!

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Conroys Curlies

Testimonies from Curly Horse owners.


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Three Feathers Curly Horses

Curly Horses for sale! Stallions @ and more!


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Domaine du Charmey

Foundation Curly Horse have several physical characteristics in common, besides those fabulous curls. Read more!

Curly Care, Curly Registries & Organizations, Curly Breeders & Hall of Fame

Curly Winter Coat

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The first & most unique characteristic of the American Bashkir Curly Horse is of course, the gorgeous curls! Curls that cover them from head to hoof! They have curly eyelashes, curls in their ears, curly mane & tail and curls on their fetlocks. The curl can vary depending on the horse, genetics, and sometimes the climate in which they live. Their body coat can appear as a wave (that looks like ripples in the sand), a soft curl or a really tight curl that often can feel coarse like a brillo pad. And sometimes their detail curl can be slightly straight or tightly curled. They also come in a variety of colors as you can see.

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Three Feathers Curly Horses

The ICHO did an excellent job of explaining each coat type and the terms used to describe them. Click here.

But simply put, there are 3 basic groups, not including a straight coat which can happen approx. 25% of the time. Even when breeding two curly horses together. (unless one of them is homozygous for curls)


  • A lush, double soft cork screw mane & a long, somewhat curly tail.
  • A shorter really tight curly mane & cropped tail. Both that can shed somewhat in the summertime.
  • The “extreme” curly has a limited amount of mane & tail that can have curls or a wispy appearance. Both of which shed completely in the summertime.


But one thing that remains the same is their amazing disposition, intelligence and love for humans.

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Julie Hueftle

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Top O’ The HIll Farm

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Promiseland Curly Ranch

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Curly Horse Personality

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Creekside Curlies

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Creekside Curlies

Curious

and charming

Curly Horses have an unusual affinity for humans and are extremely curious, They are also highly intelligent, willing and make loyal partners.

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Curly owners agree that there is something very special about the temperament of the Curly Horse.


From the moment they are born, Curly foals are very curious. Due to this, they tend to be more brave about new things, which is a huge benefit when it comes to training time. They also are born with an unusual affinity for humans, something that non-curly owners notice right away. Due, in part, to their humble feral beginnings, they tend to be very herd smart. Curly foals are very willing, love attention and are very quick to learn. Curly horses love the company of their human and a variety of activities. Some would say they learn so fast, they become bored when tasks are repeated over and over. Most owners can give their Curly Horse time off and they easily come back to where they left off. Their desire to be your life partner is at the top of their list!

Are Curly Horses Hypoallergenic?

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I grew up on a hobby farm...My allergies were extreme. They (the horses) affected my breathing on top of all the normal allergy symptoms....(years later) my horse passed away. I no longer wanted to endure the poking and prodding that was required for me to be near any horse. I thought this was where my horse journey ended… Later, as a young adult, I realized I missed horses and wanted/needed, one in my life...I found the curly horse. I thought… could this be true?... I had a breeder mail me a hair sample to test the hair and see if I would react. Nothing. I mean nothing! I could not believe it! I still remember the moment when I buried my head in the mane of my curly horse. I have never felt happier... Their puppy-dog like personalities, curiosity, and overall docile demeanor is nothing short of amazing! Now, my children get to experience the curly horse, or horses, that is! I wish for everyone to have his opportunity. by Lyndsey Dubbelde, SD --Read Lyndsey’s full story here

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Girlfriend & Kristal

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“Yes! They are hypoallergenic, just ask Kristal”


My oldest Daughter Kristal, was tested positive for being allergic to horses when she was 5 yrs old. And of course she loves horses. And we owned some at this time. Well as time came and past, she learned to ride and joined 4-H. She then started to show. So here she is, swollen red eyes, hives, sneezing, and plain miserable. When Kristal was 11yrs old. We had our opportunity to meet this Curly horse with the so called Hypo-Allergenic tendencies. Well, lo and behold, not one sneeze, no hives, and we were there all day playing with them. She now enjoys showing her mare GCF Standing Rockette "aka Girlfriend. by Sheryl D'Uva and the Home of: Cozy Nook Curlys

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Have you dreamed of owning a horse but allergies have held you back? Well, you are not alone.


The American Bashkir Curly Horse has made those dreams come true for many people like you! How is this possible? Much research has been done, but most recently German scientists in 2015 found the curly hair carries a different DNA protein than other breeds. Remarkable! Others have noticed an oily feel to the skin of their Curly, which has thought it may keep the dander down and thus eliminate some sniffles. Most fascinating is, the curly hair is more like mohair than horse hair which can be spun to make sweaters, hats, scarfs etc.


If you are ready to meet a Curly Horse in person, we suggest that you click Curly Breeders and find one near you. Most have allergies themselves so they understand the precautions necessary. A few suggestions before you go.


  • It is VERY IMPORTANT that the Curly Horses are separated from other breeds.
  • If you are on medication, be sure to have it with you, incase by chance you have a reaction.
  • Some allergy sufferers ask the breeder to bathe the curly ahead of time, to eliminate any barn or grass allergies that maybe in the hair.
  • It is always best to see a Curly Horse in person. Don’t rely entirely on curly hair samples that are mailed to you.
  • And lastly, get ready to have a great time and remember, once you get hooked on the Curly breed, you won’t want to stop at owning just one!



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Curly Breed Standard

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The American Bashkir Curly Registry (ABCR) and the International Curly Horse Organization (ICHO) are diligent in preserving and protecting the Curly Horse. Each has physical breed standards for registering horses. According to their websites.

Here is a list of some of those standards.


  • Strong, athletic & solid working conformation
  • Hooves that are strong, well rounded & thick souled.
  • Backs should be short to medium in length & well muscled shoulder and hip.
  • Athletic movement with overstride at the walk
  • The trot should be naturally extended and easy to ride.
  • Structure of the Curly should be with good bone and correct angles.


Early in the history of the Curly Horse, due to the rarity of these horses, the founding breeders found it necessary to outcross to other breeds. They did so with great care and foresight, making sure to cross only with horses that shared these traits. Overtime, some of this has been lost due to careless breeding.

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Creekside Curlies

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Patti Porter

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Creekside Curlies

Curly Horse History

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In the heart of central Nevada's wild-horse country, there is a town by the name of Eureka, which settled in 1864. It is also known as the home of the American Curly Horse breed. This remote ranching and mining town also has been named "The Loneliest Town on the Loneliest Road in America," US Highway 50. The surrounding Great Basin countryside is a cold, high-altitude desert dominated by sagebrush flats and surrounded by steep mountains. Only the strongest people and animals survive this harsh environment. However, there's always been a lure of adventure about this remote region. Perhaps that's what brought Giovanni, "John" Damele to Eureka, where he came to appreciate the curly-haired horses.


John Damele came to Eureka from Genoa, Italy, in 1879. He worked as a woodcutter for 11 years, providing wood for the charcoal ovens that fueled smelter furnaces for local silver and lead mines. John saved enough money to bring his wife and three children from Italy to join him in Eureka.


In 1898, John and his family made a down payment on the Three Bar Ranch northwest of Eureka near the Roberts Creek Mountains, where the Damele family began raising cattle and horses. While checking cattle, John and his two boys saw horses with curly hair running with the mustang wild-horse herds. The sight of the horses with long curly hair wasn't easily forgotten.


Wild horses in Nevada originated from several sources, primarily animals that were released by or escaped from Spanish explorers, ranchers, miners, the US Cavalry, and American Indians. Around 1931, the Dameles caught a Curly Horse from a mustang herd and took the horse back to the ranch, where they broke the horse to ride, and later sold it. According to Damele family history, this was their first experience with handling and training Curly Horses.

In 1932, during a devastating winter in the Three Bar Ranch country, deep snow and bitter cold hung on for months. When spring came and the ranch horses were gathered from where they'd "wintered out," the only horses the Damele boys could find alive were curly-haired horses. All the straight-haired horses had perished in the hard winter. No one needed to tell the Dameles what they'd witnessed, which was a real turning point in their thinking. True stockmen that they were, they realized that if the Curlies could be broke to ride and turned into cow horses, they certainly could be relied upon to stay alive when other horses perished in the harsh central-Nevada winters.


In the fall of 1942, John's son, Peter L. Damele, his wife and two sons, Peter J. and Benny, bought and moved to the Dry Creek Ranch that's on the Pony Express trail 25 miles southwest of the Three Bar Ranch. A Pony Express horse-changing station had been located near the Dry Creek Ranch headquarters during 1860 and 1861. The family also purchased the Ackerman Ranch, 12 miles north of Dry Creek.

The Dameles registered the 3D brand and placed it on a horse's left thigh and on the left hip on cattle. This 3D brand is still used on horses and cattle on the Dry Creek and Ackerman ranches, which the Dameles still own today.

The winter of 1951 and 1952 was another brutal, cold one with deep snow. When spring came, once again, the only horses left alive were the Curlies. The Dameles decided to start breeding Curly Horses in earnest that spring. Before that, Curlies had just been part of the horse herd. The Dameles caught their first Curly Horse stallion out of a herd of mustangs, named him Copper D, and broke him to ride as a 2-year-old. Through the years the Dameles purchased many stallions to use on their outside broodmares. Some of their better-known sires were a registered Morgan stallion, Ruby Red King; and ( In 1961 the Curly breed was to get the greatest contribution ever. It was in the form of Nevada Red, an Arabian stallion bred by Susanne Swanson of California. She and the Dameles were very good and long time friends and in that year she stated that if she had another horse-colt born born, she was going to put him in the freezer. Mrs. Damele told her if the foal was a stud-horse instead of a filly, she would fill her freezer full of beef in trade for him. Thus, Nevada Red became a part of the Damele herd and he remained a great influence in it until his death in 1981). Copper D pictured to the right.

Copper D

Grulla D, Bay (left), Dixie D, Pinto (center), Peacock D, Bay (right)

The more famous American Curly Horse stallions, as the breed became known, were Peacock D, Grulla D, Dixie D, and Dusty D, and the most famous Damele Curly Horse sire was Copper D. People from several states purchased Damele horses with the 3D brand, and the Curly Horse gene reportedly dominant in their breeding. Many Curly Horses around the world today trace their lineage to Copper D.

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Are Curly Horses Gaited?

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Who doesn’t love a sweet ride? Let’s continue our journey by sharing what is known about the “gait” of the Curly Horse.


Many early breeders attest to experiencing a smooth gait or running walk in their ‘feral’ curly horses. This was very important to the cowboys & ranchers who worked cattle all day. In an effort to reproduce the gait (as well as other desired characteristics of the curly horses) without too much inbreeding, breeders would selectively crossbreed their curly mares to non-curly gaited stallions such as, Ruby Red King, known for his single-foot gait and Chief of 4 Mile, a foundation appaloosa known for his Indian shuffle gait and Curly Jim, a Missouri Foxtrotter who stems back to the majority of fine quality gaited curly horses we see today.

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Curly Jim

Chief of 4 Mile

Ruby Red King

Since The Missouri Foxtrotting line is so familiar & popular, let’s explore this piece of history.


The name that most often stands out when you research gaited curly pedigrees is Curly Jim. Here is his story.

In 1956, two young, curly-coated stallions were bought by a man from Mountain View, Missouri, named Vic Clemens. Clemens bought the horses at an auction in Tennessee and had them shipped by train to Mountain View.

The horses resembled Missouri Fox Trotter horses in build; they also were gaited. At the auction, Clemens could not find any information about where the horses came from and who were their previous owners. The background of these horses is still unknown today. One of the two curly stallions was subsequently killed after becoming tangled in a barbed wire fence, but the remaining stallion was named Curly Jim. Curly Jim was about three years old at the time, and his training was begun by a 16-year-old local teenager named Johnny Brooks...

Curly Jim’s line of gaited curly-coated saddlehorses became one of the most popular lines of curly-coated horses. In the 1950s and 1960s, Missouri Fox Trotter horses were bred intensively in the region where Curly Jim resided. Since Curly Jim was gaited and had similar conformation to Missouri Fox Trotters, it was only natural that his line became mixed with Missouri Fox Trotters. Due to extensive breeding with Missouri Fox Trotters, the Curly Jim line will forever be associated with the Missouri Fox Trotter breed.

The connection of the Curly Jim line to the Fox Trotter breed occurred through his daughter Blaze. Curly Jim was bred to a grade mare known as the Bradford Mare. The resulting foal was Blaze. Blaze inherited the curly gene from her father and was curly coated.

Blaze was subsequently bred to Walker’s Merry Lad, a renowned, straight-haired Missouri Fox Trotter stallion who was standing at stud in the Mountain View, Missouri, area at that time. The breeding resulted in a gaited, curly-coated stallion, Walker’s Prince T. Walker’s Prince T was a curly stallion that was used extensively and bred not only to other curly horses but also to many Missouri Fox Trotter mares. Eventually, there were three stallions who carried the Walker’s Prince T name. These stallions not only passed on the unique curly coat of Curly Jim, but also the gait mutation from the Missouri Fox Trotter mares that were bred into the line.

Walker’s Merry Lad

Blaze

Walker’s Prince T

Walker’s Prince T No. II

The original Walker’s Prince T was owned by Lester Tunes. Johnny Brooks owned Walker’s Prince T (II). (photo to right) Walker’s Prince T (II) was a direct descendant of the horse Brooks trained when he was 16 years old, the great-grandson of Curly Jim. The combination of gait and the unique curly coat which will not shed mane and tail hair during the summer months makes the Curly Jim line extremely popular.

Hall of Fame

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Joe Mead

Benny Damele

Sunny Martin

Treasuring the Past

Years ago, there were many people who were instrumental in the preservation & promotion of the American Curly Horse. But there are a few names you may hear often: Joe Mead, Benny Damele, Sunny Martin and Ernie Hammrich. Without them the breed would not be what it is today.


Learn more about these legends of the Curly Horse


The article below was written by Joe Mead who bred powerful Curly Horses for 30 years or more in Alaska, Washington and then North Dakota. He was born in 1930, and passed away in 2008 at the age of 78. Those who knew Joe could tell you hours of stories. As a breeder, one of his go to phrases was: “They’ll grow til they fit cha.” Now, that is some kind of horse!


Bishop (the Curly that started it all) - by Joe Mead


In 1952, while living in Alaska, I acquired a good buckskin horse with a wavy coat, which he shed in the summer along with his mane and tail. I rode, packed and used Bishop for 17 years and never did he see grain or shoes. Each year he consistently outworked a team of twenty pack and saddle horses which had to have shoes. Bishop stayed in good shape while they lost weight and repeatedly had to be replaced as time went on in the hunting season. He thrived on willow, Hudson's Bay Tea and bacon, while the other horses would scorn the willow, eat the dead grass and lose weight. No other horse or mule would eat Hudson's Bay Tea, also known as Labrador Tea. I tried in vain to find other horses of his caliber. I lost Bishop when he was shot and killed by an inexperienced hunter.

Finally, long after he had died, I read about Curlies but couldn't believe the tall tales about them. I let go for a year then wrote to Sunny Martin. After a period of time, I bought three sight unseen and sent Donna Myers south to get them and any others she could buy. She bought one more mare. I ended up with two mares, Nevada Lander C, ABC P-129 and Nevada Nugget, ABC T-130. When I laid eyes on them, I saw my good old Bishop all over again and was so happy, I'm not ashamed to tell you I could not stop the tears!

When I took my two Curly mares to Birch Lake, they passed up the hay and grass and ate Hudson's Bay Tea! Bishop again! I'm smarter now, so I took samples and had them analyzed and found it is very high in Vitamin B, especially B-12. A natural mosquito antidote. So, in the spring when the Curly lost his natural flyswatter, he ate tea to rid himself of insects.

We have also seen snow stay on their backs for three weeks at a time without melting and when brushed off, their hair was dry and fluffy. In other words, they experienced no heat loss! We have also found that their coat expands and contracts or opens up according to the temperature. It seems they have their own thermostat. I have read that perhaps the Curly horse sheds it's mane so it won't tangle. That's a joke as nature doesn't care about looks! At -60 degrees F, the Curly needs a thick double mane to keep from freezing but at +70 to +100 degrees F, it needs to get rid of the old overcoat, especially when the sun stays up 24 hours a day for three months! In addition, we found that during the cold months in interior Alaska, from about the 15th of November to the 15th of February, it can be anywhere from -40 to -73 degrees F and up to +40 degrees F at anytime during these months. During this period, the Curly will require just exactly one third as much feed as straight-haired horse of another breed of the same approximate size.

Q-Card

Most people haul their horses to a show and then enter only one or two classes. Corine (Joe's wife at that time) once rode Q-Card, ABC P-35, twenty miles to a horse show when she did not have a trailer. They were entered in thirteen classes and took most of them.our Q-Card is slight 15.0 hands and 1000 pounds, yet I have broken 1750 pound Belgians and Percherons with him. Q-Card logs, hauls hay and manure, shows drives, participates in endurance races, goes to the Rose Bowl Parade and baby-sits. What more could you want? Plus, you can catch him in open range or the bush without grain.

Don't get mad at me, but ..start using your Curlies. Drive them to town for groceries. Leave them outside instead of in box stalls and cut out the sweet feed and grain. Pull the shoes. If he can't go barefoot, sell him, as he isn't fit to be bred.” by Joe Mead