Send us Mail!
The North American Curly Horse
It is evident that many people who normally have allergic reactions of various degrees
to "regular" horses, do not react to the Curly horse. These North American Curly horses have
been proven to be hypo-allergenic. We have Testimonials
to this effect.
The ICHO has undertaken to study this factor and has preliminary
scientific results which can be viewed at ICHO Hypo-Allergenic Proof. What they have proven is that the
"Curly" horses have a different protein in their genetic make up to straight haired horses, and that they
have less of it. This is the first scientific evidence of the hypo-allergenic traits of the
North American Curly Horses!!
I had the opportunity to talk with Lily Byrtus on CBC Radio one. Lily
is with the Allergy Asthma Information Association in Edmonton
and is the regional co-ordinator for the prairies, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut regions.
I questioned her on what it means that the protein is different. She advised that the protein is
part of the make up of the horse. It is in their hair, mane, dander (the dead skin cells), urine and manure. So what
this explains to us is that people with allergies are responding to all aspects of the horse.
They can react to the manure on the ground, a blanket with the hair, or the dander in the air.
This further explains our experience of the Curlies being hypo-allergenic as long as they have the
Curly ears, fetlocks and mane. If these are apparent on the horse then they have the different
We have noticed a number of factors that contribute to their
1. Their hair is hollow fibered, similar to angora. (Which can be spun and knitted into sweaters, etc.)
The winter coat with all of it's curl is similar to a
Terrier or Poodle, which are also hypo-allergenic.
2. People with allergies tell us that they smell different.
3. They have a different dander to normal horses. Dander is the dead skin cells that the horses
shed, same as we do. They certainly sweat different due to
the different dander. Sweat doesn't accumulate the same way it does on a straight horse.
4. Research has proven that they have a different protein in their DNA than regular horses.
5. It is also thought that they have a different oil on their coat and more of it.
The ICHO (International Curly Horse Organization) is accumulating
data on an on-going basis to perform
research to further prove the reason Curlies are hypo-allergenic.
If you are allergic to horses or know someone who is and you are
going to visit a
"Curly Horse" farm, there are some things to keep in mind. Try to visit them when
there as least other reactive elements around as possible (e.g. no pollen fluff
flying off the local poplar trees). Let the farm know previously about your allergies.
Ask to have contact with a Curly that has not been housed/pastured with "regular" or
"straight", a curly bred horse that carries a straight coat (see breed description
for more details), as that horse's body hair/dander may be on the Curly that you wish
to test for reaction. The horse can be bathed as well to ensure it does not have
straight hair on it, when you come into contact with it. But do not test a horse that has just
been freshly bathed as it can remove properties of the horse that you may react to.
Also be careful that any halters, ropes, blankets, brushes, etc.
are used only on the Curly, as highly allergic people can react to the dander or hair on
these items from straight haired horses and not the Curly horse.
When a person with allergies arrives at our stable, we first let them
just "smell the air". Everyone with extreme allergies has always told us that they can smell the
difference as soon as they get out of their car. Next we will let them stand beside a curly. Then
they can pet a Curly. It is at this point that everyone that has done a test with our Curlies
becomes less skeptical. They do not have the asthma or hives like they would being this close
to a regular horse. Most people will then actually rub their face in the hair of the Curly and smell
them fully for the first (but usually not the last!) time.
We generally spend about 3 - 4 hours to do a full test. Most visitors
will ride a curly, for some this is their first time ever to be on a horse. It is very exciting
for everyone and when I see the joy on their face it gives me goose bumps ever time!
Most importantly, please carry your medications for allergic reaction
with you. In general this breed has been found to be hypo-allergenic, but there are exceptions.
However, it is certainly worth investigating if you are a horse lover and are suffering now or
doing totally without. We know of many highly allergic people that have rubbed and hugged our Curlies
without any reaction and it has changed there lives forever.
Please check our Testimonials from people that have visited us here at Sunnybrook
Stables and have proven the hypo-allergenic qualities of our Curly horses.