Domaine du Ranch Namaspamoos -
Updated: November 16, 2007 
Domaine du Ranch Namaspamoos - Ranch Namaspamoos -
249, Route 221 Sud, Lacolle, Qc J0J 1J0 Canada  
Tel: +1 450-246-4641  
Ranch Namaspamoos -    

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Why do you breed Curly Horses?
What Qualities make the Curly Horse so special?
What Disciplines do they excel in?
Where did the Curly Breed come from?
How much can I expect to pay for a Curly?
I have heard that they are hypo-allergenic.What does that mean?
What do I feed my Curly?
Do Curlies need vaccinations and to be dewormed regularly?
Can Curlies really go Barefoot?
What care needs the Curly Coat?
What is the appearance of a Curly coat?
What is the running walk?
What colors & sizes are Curly horses?
What does the asterisk (*) mean before the name of Curly?
I saw a Curly horse with no curls, is that possible?
What is an "Extreme"?

Note: numbers between ( ) refer to source of information/copyrights that you will find at the bottom of this page.

Why do you breed Curly Horses?

The first thing that attracted us to this breed was their unusual look and their claim of being hypoallergenic.  Some of our relatives are sadly allergic to horses, especially André's mom. So we were looking to see if a hypoallergenic horse exists even though we had heavy doubts about this possibility. What a surprise when we discovered the Curlies : After so many years, we found the best kept secret of the horse world! So, we managed a visit to a Curly breeder to see "in person" this fabulous horse (because it is hard to build an opinion based only on photographs). As we learned more about the breed, we realized there was more to these horses than the curly coat. They are so friendly, not spooky, with kind of heavy duty conformation and beautiful gaits.  They are "special". We were determined to preserve & protect their unique qualities and set out on a mission to breed the best Curlies we could find & have fun in the process!

What Qualities make the Curly Horse so special? (2)

First & foremost is their dog like disposition & love for humans.  They are extremely intelligent, non spooky, sensible & willing mounts, as well as having a very curious nature. They make excellent companions for any age rider. Their unique physical characteristics include:  hard hooves that don't need shoes, easy keepers, heartiness that can withstand extreme cold temperatures, surefootedness and some possess a natural running walk that allows conserving of energy while covering up to 60 miles per day if necessary.

What Disciplines do they excel in? (2 & 3)

Curly horses are not specialized and do just about anything asked of them.  Typically however, due to their higher step, faster lope and proud head carriage they succeed best at such events as Dressage, Jumping, Eventing and English pleasure. They also have done well in endurance and competitive trail.

Many Curly Breeders and Owners enjoy using their horses in many different capacities to show their versatility and willingness.  Some use their Stallions to plow a field, or pull a carriage. Others do team penning, cutting and barrel racing.

The original Curlies were used by white men for ranch work, and Native Americans for buffalo hunting. There is evidence the Native Curly owners considered their Curly "Buffalo Horses" to be sacred. Today, Curlies are used as sporthorses (Dressage, jumping, combined driving, etc.), Western and ranch horses, pleasure horses, trail horses, endurance horses, and exotic looking pasture ornaments!

There has been some gaited blood mixed into some Curlies, and about 10% of Curlies will do either a foxtrot or running walk or stepping pace (aka Curly shuffle). This is a natural low stepping smooth gait.

Curlies are generally considered unsuitable for racing, and for any mechanically induced gaits in such performance areas as high stepping Park horses, "Big Lick" gaited horses, or the ultra slow Western Pleasure horse

Where did the Curly Breed come from? (3)

As the answer could be very long, we suggest to read our breed page and here are some high lights of their History:

Curlies were first discovered by white men in America in the wild herds of mustangs in Eastern Nevada, at the turn of the 20th Century. The Sioux and Crow Indians had Curly horses as early as 1800, though whether these two kinds of Curly horses were related we don't know. There is, as well written and pictorial evidence of curly haired horses found at various times in various places around the world- Charles Darwin writes of curly horses in South America, for instance. Again, whether these horses are at all related to the American dominant gene Curly horses is unknown at this time. Hopefully future research will shed some light on these matters. The Damele's, a Nevada ranching family, were the first to gather and use the Curlies on their ranch, in the 1930s. They interbred the tough, intelligent range Curlies with their ranch horses, and with an Arabian stallion, Nevada Red, and later a Morgan stallion, Ruby Red King. They found the Curly coat often came through on the cross-bred foals, showing that the Curly gene was dominant in these range Curlies. They also frequently got the other Curly characteristics which they prized- strong bone and hooves; calm, intelligent, easily trainable temperament; friendly personality; tough constitutions and stamina; etc

How much can I expect to pay for a Curly? (2)

Because Curlies are rare, you should plan to pay more for your curly horse. Average prices of Full Curly foals exhibiting all curly traits range from $CDN 2,500-5,500.  Your cost is typically more if the foal has color, size and training.  Average prices for a Full Curly that is well-broke and ready for a beginner could range $CDN6,000 -10,000.  At times you can find such horses more reasonable but you will have to shop around and usually you will need to buy long-distance and pay shipping charges to bring your horse home.  Curly Breeders are used to selling horses across the country, so most can help you in providing quality videos and putting you in contact with horse haulers that are reputable and reasonable.

You will find more info about this on our sales policies page.

I have heard that they are hypo-allergenic. What does that mean? (1&3)

Hypo- means, by definition, below normal. We claim that Curly Horses are Hypoallergenic. We do not, and can not, claim that Curly Horses are Non allergenic. 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. 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 horse, and Dr Gus Coltrane's recent researches from University of Kentucky prove that the seborrhea proteins in the Curly horse skin are different.

If you are an allergy sufferer, what this means is that you should use every means to test the horse you may be considering purchasing by either an in-person visit, or at least, by asking for some of the hair to be sent to you. And do make sure that you keep your allergy medicine close at hand because sometimes there is a response due to having multiple allergies.

For people who are allergic to horses, they also do have to determine that it is only the horses themselves that they are allergic to, and not hay, straw, pollen, dust, manure, etc.- in these latter cases, the breed of horse wouldn't matter

To this day, we have, at Ranch Namaspamoos, a successful rate of 97% even with people who suffers from severe horse allergies. People who did react had a reaction to the saliva of the horse, which is easy to avoid the contact.

What do I feed my Curly? (2)

Just like any other breed of horse, this can vary with each individual horse based on age, activity, environment etc.  Most Curlies are easy keepers but they can't survive on scrub.  Provide a TOP Quality free choice Hay and loose minerals year around.  If a young, pregnant or a performance horse be sure to provide adequate vitamins and supplements as well as grain to insure proper weight and health.

Do Curlies need vaccinations and to be dewormed regularly? (2)

YES!  Curlies need as much care as any other breed of horse.

Can Curlies really go Barefoot?

Most Curlies have good, strong tough feet with a thick wall. Our farriers are always amazing by the quality of their hoof! But the quality of the hoof depends on the (good) cares that the horse (any horse!) receives and the amount of exercise it does. The more an horse has the opportunity to move on various grounds, the better quality its hooves will be.

What care needs the Curly Coat? (3)

Curlies do not need pampering, but they do need good basic care. Since they are a horse that developed in the wild, they tend to be easy keepers, with tough hooves and hardy constitutions. They tend to be winter hardy. This does not excuse lack of care, though. Good food in the right amounts, adequate shelter, regular veterinary care, worming, hoof trimming and shoeing as needed, dental care, etc., all should be provided just as they would be for any other horse.

Normal grooming is satisfactory for most Curly coats. Combing out the ringletted or corkscrew or dreadlocked manes can cause them to lose their curly look. Some people choose to trim the manes occasionally instead to keep them neat. Tails can be brushed and combed in the normal manner. Care must be taken during shedding season, not to pull out too much mane and tail, during grooming.

Some people bag and save the shedding out coat, to use themselves for spinning and weaving, or send to others who do this.

Some Curlies will shed out their manes and tails along with their winter coats each spring, and grow them back in the fall and winter. A few Curlies have very thin or scanty manes and tails year round - why is uncertain, and research is planned in this area.

What is the appearance of a Curly coat? (3) Curlies come in a variety of sizes and shapes, and almost all colors. The winter curls on different individuals can range from crushed velvet looking, to marcelle waves, to tight ringlets, to "french knot" microcurls. Manes and forelocks can be corkscrewed, ringletted, or dreadlocked. Tails may have some wave or curl. The hair in their ears is curly, the whiskers, eyelashes, and fetlocks are often curly or wavy. These curls are considered a hallmark of the breed, and most owners would never shave or scissor them off.

What is the running walk? (2)

The running walk is not to be confused with the foxtrot or pace. This is a fast walk, 12 miles an hour in which the horse moves as a single footed step. Only the feet move and there is not bobbing of the head as with the case of the Tennessee walking horses.  The old Morgan's had this walk as did the Old Foundation Appaloosa's which they called the "Indian shuffle." This trait allows for a smooth & extremely fast ride with little effort from the horse.  They can cover up to 60 miles per day easily and it conserves energy.  Some Curlies possess this running walk, but it is more difficult to pass on to their offspring. We value this trait in our horses and hope to produce foals with smooth and fast movement.

What colors & sizes are Curly horses?

You will find Curlies in just about any color and size. The average size is 14.2-15.2 HH, but some are smaller (minis and small ponies size) and some are taller (even draft types). At Ranch Namaspamoos, our smallest Curly is Pirate who is 46 inches (11.2 HH) and our tallest one is Moonlight Lady who is 16.2 HH!

What does the asterisk (*) mean before the name of Curly?

In the Curlies world, this asterisk (*) means that this horse possesses curls on his body coat and/or in ears and/or curly fetlocks. It has the gene for curls.

I saw a Curly horse with no curls, is that possible?

Yes! A Smooth-coated - or "straight"- Curly is a Curly with any apparent curls. We can also call it a "no-characteristic" Curly. Most of them still hypoallergenic, but in every case, you must test the horse you are interested in, because you can have a reaction to one and no reaction to another. You can find a very good explanations about all Curlies' coat types on the ICHO web site (you will find a link to the ICHO's web site under our links or at the bottom of this page).

What is an "Extreme"?

Below, you can read some of the info you can get on the ICHO's page about extremes

"Some Curly Horses just seem to have more extreme traits than the general population. While other foals seem very curly - these foals seem twice as curly. While other Curly Horses will shed some mane and tail hair in varying degrees, these extreme trait Curly Horses shed out a lot - some nearly all - of their manes and tails. While Curly Horses in general are known for being calm and sensible; the extreme trait Curly Horses are so kind, sweet, loving and calm, they are actually amazing to be around. Owners claim extreme curlies also usually have wonderful extended movement.

As they mature, many extreme Curlies lose the intensely curly body coats and their coats become frazzled or furry looking, like an over-processed perm. During summer, but more surprisingly, even during winter, their body coat is no longer as obviously curly as typical Curly Horses. The hair inside their ears however, remains tightly curled year around, and their eyelashes usually curl almost into a circle. (...)

Extreme trait Curly Horses are usually the product of 2 dominant gene curly parents, of western bloodlines. In these bloodlines the extreme curly horse is possibly indicative of curl homozygousity. They are not expected to produce any smooth coated foals when bred to straight haired horses. Also when (cross) bred with straight haired horses, both curls and well haired manes and tails are expected, resulting in a fairly reliable, typical (fuller mane & tail), curly foal crop.

Many Curly Horses, especially extreme Curlies, seem to go through a temporary unattractive growth stage as yearlings & two-year-olds. But they do grow out of these homely stages, and like any well bred Curly, continue to develop into excellent quality hypoallergenic horses with extra kind dispositions. Many Curly Horse breeders consider an extreme trait Curly Horse to be very valuable, and unlikely to produce smooth coat foals. So far, statistics indicate they are likely to be homozygous for curls. However, not every homozygous Curly Horse is an extreme curly, so the connection is still unproven".

    (1) Copied w/permission from Adria Halstead-Johnson of Green Mountain Curlies inc. web site.

    (2) Copied w/permission from Wendy Snell of Windy K Curlies & Ponies Too! web site.
    We made some changes, but it is essentially Wendy's text.

    (3) Full text and FAQs may be found at the International Curly Horse Organization web site.


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Domaine du Ranch Namaspamoos
249, Route 221 Sud, Lacolle, Qc J0J 1J0. Canada. Tel: +1 450-246-4641

Domaine du Ranch Namaspamoos is a member of the following respected organizations: International Curly Horse Organization (ICHO), Curly Sporthorse International (CSI), Cheval Québec.
You will find more info about these on the links page.