These curly-coated horses can today be found throughout the United States. With an obscure background, the American Bashkir Curly has proven itself a great western horse, excelling at rodeo and western riding events, as well as adapting itself well to the harsh western environment. Like their close relations, the Russian Bashkir Curly, this horse is quite able to find its own feed even in the harshest of winters.
As can be assumed by the name, the most notable physical characteristic of the American Bashkir Curly is its unique curly coat. The horses have thick ringlets of hair covering their entire bodies with a thick mane and tail. The thick hair of the mane and tail have been known to give way to fine silky strands in the summer, but it always grows back to its predominant coarseness come winter. The horse resembles a medium-build Morgan with wide-set eyes similar to oriental breeds. The breed makes an excellent riding horse with a strong back and powerful shoulders.
No one knows how the Bashkir Curly found its way to America. Three of the horses were found in the Nevada hills in 1898 by a father and son riding in the area. Since that time, it has been speculated that the horses had at one time crossed the Bering Strait over an ice bridge, were brought over to Alaska during early Russian occupation, or were traded with miners in Northern California by Russian settlers. None of these have been authenticated, and seem, for the most part, implausible. Whatever the case, the American horse is closely related to the Russian horse of the same name. A registry was set up in 1971 to ensure the breed's future. Bashkir Curlys' are currently found throughout America, and horses with curly coats have even been reported in South America, furthering the mystery of these curly-coated horses. It should be noted that the curly-haired gene is transmitted fifty percent of the time when bred to horses with straight-haired coats.
Three curly-haired horses, the foundation of today's American Bashkir Curly breed, were found in the Peter Hanson mountain range of central Nevada in 1898. Peter Damele and his son were riding in the remote region when they stumbled across the uniquely coated horses. Since their discovery it has been widely speculated how these remarkable horses made their way to the high Nevada countryside. Despite Russian occupation of the Northwest regions of North America, no source for the horses has been steadfastly supported. Most agree that the number of horses brought over to the Americas by the Russians was minimal, so even those horses that might have escaped into the wild had little chance of surviving the harsh conditions. The mystery surrounding the origin of the American Bashkir has yet to be solved.
1. Bashkir (Russian) 2. Tarpan 3. Przewalski's Horse
For more information:
American Bashkir Curly Registry