Q: Is there a miniature curly horse?
A: A miniature horse in the U.S. is defined as a horse 38 inches tall or less (less than a meter). We have four dominant-gene miniature curly horses and there may be four or five elsewhere that are or will stay under 38". I have also seen a few photos of mini foals that looked curly, but they had straight-haired mini parents, and therefore they are either recessive curlies or are regular minis that have wavier than usual baby coats. Many miniature horses have naturally wavy hair, especially as foals, but they do not appear to be hypoallergenic.
Q: Do you stand a curly pony stallion at stud?
A: We do not accept outside mares due to space limitations. There are a few other small curly pony stallions in the U.S., Canada, Norway, France, Wales, and Sweden. There are quite a few people breeding larger curly ponies (see the Curly Pony page on the ICHO web site).
Q: What is a "straight curly"?
A: Some foals with either one or two curly parents have "smooth" coats with little or no visible curl. We don't understand the curl genetics yet, but my personal opinion is that there are some "helper genes" that go along with the dominant curl gene, and many smooth-coated curlies have them. Many people allergic to horses find that they do not react to smooth-coated curlies. Read much more, including testimonials, on the Smooth Coat Curlies web site.
Q: Are your curly ponies hypoallergenic?
A: It depends on the pony and the person. If you are allergic to horses and want to buy a curly, I highly recommend that you test hair samples or visit the horse in person to see how you react. We have had allergic people visit and test our horses with mixed results -- some had no reaction and some had some symptoms (but we also keep straight-haired minis on the farm, so there is no way to do an isolated test.) Here's a quote from an owner of one of our babies:
... our [allergy] testing has shown that for some individuals, sometimes a half-curly works for them when "full" curlies did not. We have a little curly pony here, *Peppermint Twist EB, she's out of *Cinnamon Twist, a curly pony mare, and a Mini stallion called Budget. Well, we had four kids test our riding horses (who wanted lessons) and were allergic to our riding mares, and in desperation I grabbed the half-curly pony, and she worked for them. Shocked the beegeezus out of me, so it really is a lottery, however, some horses have gotten really good, what I call "broad range" patterns for hypoallergenicity and work more often than other curlies, even if they are mixed, it just depends on the genetics the one curly parent gave to them and nothing else.
-- Karen Zierler, Curlies Austria, http://www.curlies-
austria.com, May 2, 2008
Q: Where does your curly gene come from?
A: All of my curlies are descended from two ABCR foundation-registered curly stallions: *Ebony's Twister (a Damele-bloodline curly bred by Joe Mead) and *BNC Hobo (a Canadian-bloodline curly bred by Ron Groves). Both of these stallions are still alive and breeding as far as I know; Twister is now in France and Hobo is in the midwestern U.S. See the curlygenetics page for a discussion of the curly gene.
Q: What can you do with a miniature horse?
A: Go to a mini show and find out! There are classes for driving, leadline (small kids riding), trail/obstacle, jumping, halter, showmanship, costumes, and a bunch of other things. Minis are also finding a special niche in combined driving events (CDEs) -- there's now a division and a set of rules for very small equines (VSEs). You can find out more at the American Miniature Horse Registry and American Driving Society web sites. See also my Links page for other informational web sites. See my Driving page for information on our driving activities.
Last updated August 31,
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