Why Curly Minis?
By Sue Nash
I had been raising miniature horses for quite a few years when I heard of curly horses. I was visiting my parents and heard from a parade on TV in another room "Curly Horses". I said to my dad "Did they say Curly Horse?" He said "yeah". "I have never heard of such a thing" I said. He said "Oh yeah, I've seen them before" (which I suspected was one of his straight face lies).
When I returned home I googled Curly Horse and learned everything I could about them. Determined to acquire a Curly Horse, I researched the many websites that had information about this wonderful breed. Curly Horse Country, International Curly Horse Organization, ABC, etc. I learned they were hypoallergenic, hardy and came in all sizes including mini. Oh now the quest was on!! I had to have a curly mini.
I made dozens of contacts and nobody had a curly mini. It was suggested that I contacted a lady by the name of Ellen Bancroft. I contacted Ellen and she said there were no curly minis. Although there were people breeding for them. She suggested I breed my own. That sounded like a challenge to me.
My first curly was a pony out of South Dakota with Warrior bloodlines bred to a Gypsy Vanner stallion. After all I have my little gaited stallion. My second curly was the baby she had. A filly we named Gypsy. The third was an adopted BLM mustang that had been trained at the prison. Numbers four and five were two black and white paints, one a smooth coat.
As I was pondering my herd it occurred to me that this was going to be a long process. Using my 34" gaited stallion on 13 and 14 hand mares it was going to take a long time to get the small babies. I began my search for a small curly stud. Boy are they hard to find. I ended up with Chester Clark from Missouri who had a stallion Gentleman Jim. I inquired if he was for sale. He was not. I asked Mr. Clark to take my number if he ran into a small curly stud to please call me. The next night I got a call from a lady by the name of Kit Fry who was willing to part with her small stud. He was out of the McKay pony line, a son of Kopper Kid. I purchased him and we picked him up the weekend of my birthday.
Gunsmoke rides and drives and has an amazing personality. He has attended Hoosier Horse Fair, Northwest Indiana Curly Horse show and Breyerfest and been quite the curly ambassador. As a silver buckskin he is an attention grabber. We waited a while before breeding him to our mini mares. This spring we have been blessed with 5 curly minis, in all colors, and coat types.
Why curly minis you ask? Well it is like our regular minis, we have always advocated them to be the first for children. Before a horse or pony. They are smaller, easier to handle but everything you do with the big ones you have to do with the small ones. They are less intimidating and easier to learn on. They can be trained to ride and drive easier than the big ones. They also require less space and feed.
I also advocate them for horse lovers who are getting older. Again they are easier to handle than their full size horses. Our small ones can easily pull two adults in a cart. We really enjoy driving.
Carrie Freeland of ICHO was once at my house. Carrie is allergic to horses and I have many regular horses. After she handled my curlies with no reaction she went about my farm. I saw her eyes swell and tear up, her nose ran, basically she was a mess. I could not imagine being allergic to horses.
I had never heard of hypo-allergenic horses, I know a lot of people have not. It would be sad to get older not being able to have a horse because of the handling issues of a full size animal, then finding out about curly horses and it being too late to have one because of the person's age. If they have gotten older before they discovered curlies then we have an answer. We still have the bigger curly girls that were bred to another Warrior line curly for pony babies starting in September 09.
I hope that answers the question of why curly minis.
Author: Sue of Suzark Curly Minis, located in Tennesse.