By all accounts, horses are majestic animals, and there is one type of horse that trumps them all for attractiveness, intelligence and resiliency. Curly horses come in all sizes and colors, but they all have one thing in common: they carry a dominant gene that makes the hair of their coats curly.The origins of curly horses go back into the deep past. Chinese artwork depicts them way back in 161 A.D., and bas-relief statues in the tomb of a T’ang dynasty emperor who died in 649 include a yellow curly horse. Charles Darwin mentions spotting a curly horse in Paraguay, in a book published in 1868. However, modern curly horses seem to have been descended from wild mustang herds that escaped from the Spanish conquistadors who brought them to the new world. Native Americans used and traded curly horses, and pioneering ranchers in the southwest incorporated them into their working stock.
It is a subject of ongoing research and debate whether curly horses are a separate breed, or the curliness is merely a type of coat. Regardless of the genetic details, curly horses are hypoallergenic, and many people who are allergic to regular horses can tolerate curly horses. Not all curls look the same, as some are very tight and some are looser. Although there are exceptions, the curls are generally tight in winter and looser in summer. Some curly horses not only lose their curls in summer, but also their manes and tails as well. The curls shed moisture and contract in winter, giving curly horses resiliency against cold.Curly horses usually have gentle temperaments, and their calmness makes them excellent family horses. They are also highly intelligent, with good memories and the ability to assess situations and figure things out. Horses are such amazing creatures! For more of a look into their world, have a look at this stunning video of majestic wild horses in Iceland.
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