About ABCR

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The American Bashkir Curly Horse Registry (ABCR) was founded in 1971 and is the oldest Registry of Curly Horses. The goals of the ABCR are to preserve this rare horse breed, to promote the Curly Horse as much as possible in shows and in the media, provide education about the special features of the horses, and to protect the genetic pool of the small breed population worldwide.

Thursday, February 26, 2015


Register your Curly Horse at ABCR include the following advantages:
  •  Identification of your Curly Horse by DNA and description/pictures documented in the ABCR database and in the pedigree certificate you receive
  • Recording of your Curly Horse’s bloodlines, approved by DNA in the Full and Blood Percentage Book which is important for breeder’s programs
  • By making the data of your horse available to the large database driven collection of registered Curly Horses (containing more than 5,600 entries of Curly Horses worldwide) you support further research on the unique traits of the Curly Horse.


Let us know! New address, your Curly Horse changed color, have gelded your stallion? Please use our comfy online form to let us know!


Join our National Awards! You find more information about it here: http://abcregistry.blogspot.de/p/abc-breed-promotion-annual-award.html

Thursday, February 19, 2015


For all of our Curly friends out there in the deep snow, stay warm and read this interesting article!



Have heard about the Curly Horse and wonder what they are all about? Here is a short description of what you can expect

"They Are Intelligent.”
Professional trainers like Anna Twinney who have worked with curly horses will testify to the...ir intelligence and ease in handling. Internationally known trainers have used them very successfully in public clinics. Curlies usually have a calm temperament.
They are often easy to handle making them a number one choice for beginners.

“They Are Low Maintenance.”
American Bashkir Curly horses are comparably easy keepers. They generally require little grain if kept on good pasture or hay. They also do very well living outdoors. They have hard feet that do not require shoes under normal circumstances.

“They Are Versatile.”
Curly horses are versatile horses and are ridden in English, Western and Endurance Classes. They perform in the dressage and jump arenas. Curlies drive and make excellent trail horses. Therapeutic riding programs search out the Curly Horse for their quiet demeanor. They are regular participants in the annual Pasadena Tournament
of Roses New Year’s Day Parade. There are curly horses who have been recognized by National and International Organizations for outstanding achievement in the equine world. A curly horse named “Q
Card” was inducted into the International Side Saddle Hall of Fame. “Spartnik”, another outstanding example of the Curly
Breed, was the United States Dressage Federation Horse of the Year in 1996.

Please have a closer look at our brochures in several languages, too!



Wednesday, February 18, 2015


Curly Horses are hypo-allergenic in many cases. Hypo-allergenic means that, in this case, the horse is less likely to cause a person who is allergic to horses to have an allergic response. That does not mean that the person will not have an... "allergy attack", but that often the symptoms are less severe if they are present at all. So if you visit a Curly Horse, and you are allergic to horses, be sure to take you medicine with you!

We do not know exactly why this is so, and studies are on going. We think it may be because the Curly Horse's hair is different than a regular horses, or that the proteins in their skin are different.

One of our members, Dr. Wolfgang Mitlehner, recently published a pilot study on the hypo-allergenic characteristics of the Curly Horses. You can find it here: http://www.abcregistry.org/#/research/4582203889


Straight Curly Horse Lovers, here it is: ABCR S-1 STRIKE, out of RED HUSSY MQHA 8060-P, sired by CURLY Q, ridden by Deborah Mitchell. Enjoy!


We make it easy to register your precious little ones. Find out how to register your new Curly Horse foals!


Wednesday, February 11, 2015


Do you love historical Curly Horse pictures as much as we do? Here we go! On this picture, you see ABCR 75 KUBLA KHAN, a chestnut appaloosa, foaled 1971 and owned by Glen Kugler.


Bought an ABCR Curly Horse and want to transfer it to your name? See how it is done here: http://abcregistry.blogspot.de/p/please-follow-this-procedure-to.html


Does this picture look familiar to you? Enjoy!

Sunday, February 8, 2015


ANSWER: Curly horses com in all colors and vary a lot regarding their size and type. The winter coat expresses itself in a variety of patterns commonly described as Marcel Wave, Crushed... Velvet, Curl and Micro Curl. The summer coat also offers varieties ranging from smooth to wavy. The manes and tails vary from ringlets, corkscrews to dreadlocks.The hair in their ears and on the fetlocks is wavy or curly, too, and the eyelashed are often considerably curled up.

Around a quarter of all Curly Horses are born with a straight coat, mane and tail. They do not show the characteristics as described above, however, their coat is considerably different to those of other breeds. Especially in winter it is thicker and much softer than the coat of other horse breeds, like bunny hair. Straight Curly Horses seem to have the same hypoallergenic trait like their Curly relatives.



 In Lunenburg, Ontario, Canada, you find Karalee Bell managing the WHIRLWIND FARM. Stallions are JC'S JOKER ABC 512 and DCC SANTA FE ABC 2895. Contact Karalee: bellkr@bell.net !

Saturday, February 7, 2015


Welcome together with us our latest Blood Percentage Curly Horse


Congratulations to Indiana!

Friday, February 6, 2015


... with your Curly Horse!


You find a lot of ABCR Information about the Curly Breed, Registration, Transfers, Membership, and many more in our pages on the right-



Before a closed book was implemented at ABCR, every horse with a curly coat and known or unknown parentage co...uld be registered. Then, in the 1990s, the CS Fund, a grant-making, California-based foundation, gave some scientifical advice to close the books. The following excerpt explains about the reasons for this and is taken from Equus, March 1990:

"... In an effort to prevent the loss of these minor breeds' gene pools, the CS Fund commissioned a pilot study of the American Curly Horse, a breed numbering fewer than 1,000, whose signature kinky coat and obscure origins set it apart from the mainstream of modern horsedom. What the study found may help save the Curly Horse as well as provide the means through which other threatened domestic equine breeds, including the Shire, Cleveland Bay, Hackney, and Lipizan, may survive.

The CS Fund's study combined three approaches
- laboratory analyses, pedigree searches, and painstaking
- examination of written and oral historical records
- to define the Curly breed.
A research study performed in 1975 by Keith Farrell, PhD, of Washington State University, had already disclosed that the only significant difference between curly horse hair and straight horsehair is in the shape of the shaft. As with human hair, curly horsehair is oval in shape while straight hair is round.

When D. Phillip Sponenberg, DVM, PhD, of the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine in Blacksburg, Virginia, examined the first two stud books of the American Bashkir Curly Registry, he discovered that two mechanisms appear to govern the appearance of curly coats in offspring. Some registered Curly Horses had been produced by two straight-haired parents, and, therefore, the characteristic had resulted from a recessive gene. This genetic "hiccup," if you will, can pop up in nearly any breed of horse, but it probably occurs most often in Percherons. The majority of the registered Curly Horses, however, were products of matings in which at least one of the parents was also curly coated, suggesting the existence of a dominant gene. In other words, the coat characteristic must be visible in the parents to appear in their offspring.

An important genetic distinction exists between the two varieties. "The recessive type," says Shan Thomas, administrative director of the CS Fund, "is first and foremost a member of his parent's breed. He is a Missouri Fox Trotter or Quarter Horse upon whom nature bestowed a curly coat. The second, dominant type might be a breed." Currently, the American Bashkir Registry does not distinguish between the two types.

Blood-typing of 200 curly-coated horses as well as 12 straight-haired horses of Curly Horse pedigree were then performed by An Bowling, PhD, of the serology laboratory at the University of California-Davis. The intent was not to verify parentage, as is usually the purpose of the procedure, which identifies and compares blood components. Instead, the CS Fund was hoping the blood would provide some clues as to how a horse becomes curly coated, whether the Curly Horse is distinct genetically from other breeds of horses, and whether there is any difference between the recessive and dominant types.

Although the blood-typing results verified the findings of the other areas of research, they did not identify characteristics unique to the Curly Horse. "There was no single marker common to all horses with curly coats," says Thomas. "If one had been found, this would have led to further study to see if such a marker were directly related to the gene for curly hair."

Genetic diversity was the primary finding of Bowling's work. Within the group of sampled horses, 110 of a possible 135 equine variants were present. This high number is not surprising, says Bowling, in a registry with an open studbook and active crossbreeding program. About half of the markers identified were "rare and unusual," a rate consistent with other breeds, but they were present in only four percent of the tested population. Blood-typing of one Curly disclosed a variant that had not been identified in any North American horse tested but only among South American horses of Spanish ancestry.

Bowling found that the blood components of the 212 tested horses most closely resembled those of the Quarter Horse and Morgan, breeds commonly used for crossbreeding. But a few of the horses also had some variants not usually found in modern North American breeds.

Interestingly, these components are present in the blood of the straight-haired feral horses of Nevada's Great Basin region. Three separate groups of Curlies from Nevada, Canada, and the Dakotas retain the most remnants of the original genetic pool, indicating that these horses are likely descendants of feral stock. The result, says Bowling, is that the horses are a "source of some unusual genetic material that can't be found elsewhere." At the same time, Curlies carry a heavy mix of characteristics common to other domestic breeds.

In the historical section of the study, four theories of the breed's origin were scrutinized. The unusual coat has variously been ascribed to the introduction of horses from Russia or from South America, mutations in native-born stock, and the remnants of pre-Spanish horses that unaccountably escaped extinction when all other equidae on the continent were wiped out eons before. Though the study did confirm the presence of curly-coated horses in both Russia and South America, it was "unable to prove that a dominant curly-coated horse breed was introduced or imported to North America," says Thomas. It also confirmed that the Curly Horse did not obtain its unique coat from the Russian Bashkir breed, which, in fact, is a straight-haired horse. Instead, evidence appears to point to a "spontaneous mutation" or adaptation of feral horses and that this adaptation can be the result of either a dominant or recessive gene.

"From both the empirical evidence and the blood work," says Thomas, "there is justification for two and possibly three coincidental mutations that resulted in curly horse breeds in Russia, North America, and South America. These three breeds have common ancestors. You don't see these mutations among horses with pony ancestors, for example. Isolated mutations are not uncommon in nature. We suspect that in these three separate groups of horses, the mutation was instigated or supported by severe environmental conditions. There is good anecdotal evidence that curly-coated horses can survive cold better than those with straight hair. And interestingly, the regions where these three curly-haired groups developed are all similar in environment, being high-altitude plains."

The fact that a curly coat remains in these horses, continues Thomas, "is only one sign of a breed that once existed and has now been nearly crossbred out of existence. The Curly Horse breed is now three distinct types: the stock-horse type from crosses with Quarter Horses, Appaloosas, and Paints; the Fox Trotter type; and a more-refined type from crosses with Arabians, Morgans, and Saddlebreds." Although the curly coat remains in some of these crosses, the horse is genetically more Quarter Horse or Morgan or Fox Trotter than pure Curly.

Owners and breeders of curly-coated horses can go in several directions now that breed genetics are better understood, says Thomas. "If interested, they could attempt a regeneration program. With attention to genetics and by tapping the three pockets of original gene pool left, they might be able to use linebreeding to recreate what once was. DNA research, though expensive, would help this project significantly by giving very specific information about group membership. Unless this happens, the original Curly Horse breed can be considered extinct.

"If breeders choose, alternately, to move forward from here," she continues, "it would be necessary to acknowledge in the registry the existence of the three subsections of the breed, standardize within these types, stop crossing between the types, and close the stud books."

Monday, February 2, 2015


We would like to introduce you to FLORALAKE CURLY HORSES managed by Florence Martin in Wallenstein, ONT, Canada. Stallions are MEAD'S AISHIHIK TWIST ABC 3426 and TO SHADOW'S BLACK DIAMOND ABC 3641. Florence has some fine Curly Horses for sale, check it out: http://www.floralakecurlyhorses.com/


Bought an ABCR Curly Horse and want to transfer it to your name? See how it is done here: http://abcregistry.blogspot.de/p/please-follow-this-procedure-to.html


Yes, Curly Horses have always been cherished :) From the Arizona Weekly Journal Miner 1889