BLM Adopted Horse Proves to Be Curly Sidekick

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Sirrocco's firstborn Curly, Alphia Girl, age 3. (The little rider is Andrew Sumrall, age one.)

Jackson, MS. Our first encounter with the Bashkir Curly horses came in September 1985, when we adopted a one-year-old stallion from the Bureau of Land Management. This was the strangest-looking animal we had ever seen, with long curly hair, virtually no mane, and a mule tail. We wanted him because he was so different from anything we had ever seen. We obtained information from the BLM as to where we could get a history on this breed of horse.

We carried our “special boy” home and called the Nevada Curly registrar for information. We were surprised to learn how rare and valuable he was!

We were concerned how he would get along in our southern climate, as it gets warmer here all year than he had been used to. This has no effect on him. He lost all his long curls and has not had a long coat since. He gets beautiful finger waves now in the winter instead.

This leads us to believe Curly horses can adjust to any climate without problems. The horse flies don’t seem to bother them like most horses. It may be their thick cow-like hide.

“Sirrocco” is classified as an old-style Curly in conformation. He is very sure-footed because of his mule-shaped feet in the back and regular horse feet in the front. He can be ridden without shoes because of his hard hooves.

We were amazed at how quickly and easily he learned to be haltered. The same was true when he was being broken and trained. When he is worked hard, he cools down fast by panting like a dog. He throws his elbows out where air can get under his chest.

“Roc,” as we call him, has small nostrils and soft, sweet eyes. His intelligence is above normal as well as his disposition.

When Roc was three years old, we took him to the 1988 National Curly Show in Ely, Nevada. We had six weeks for our trainer to prepare him for the Obstacle Driving, Western, and English events. Our trainer said this was not enough time, but Roc won Jumping and Bareback riding and placed high in the other events.

In 1989, we went back to Ely, where he placed high in all events but won Sidesaddle and Jumping.

In 1990, we took him to Indiana, where he won Versatility and Running Poles.

Curlies are easy keepers. They only eat oats and alfalfa plus two blocks of hay a day. Curlies can’t digest corn; it stays in their stomach and causes a toxic poison.

The more you teach Curlies, the more they like it. They crave attention and love people. Their intelligence can scare you just as an owner.

Roc is the daddy of seven Curly babies that have all his wonderful qualities. Our breeding goal is to build horses like Sirrocco, a horse for every purpose and need, or just to love.

We have bred him to Walking horses, Saddlebreds, and Mustangs. We have been more satisfied with the Mustang crosses.

Sirrocco of Laramie is owned by Doris McNeil and Frances Rushing of Flowood, Mississippi.

By: Frances Rushing
From: Rocky Mtn. Feed & Livestock Journal, April, 1992