"Curly Haired Fox Trotters: Missouri Fox Trotters for Folks
What is the difference between Dominant and
There are two different types of curly coated Fox Trotters in the world that
consistently have full curly bodies, manes, etc. and keep these curls for
their entire life from birth to death. These are what most breeders
describe as Dominant or Recessive Curly Fox Trotters.
Recessive Curly Fox Trotters - Ever heard of an unusual looking
curly foal that surprises a breeder when two straight haired Fox Trotters
are bred together? Many breeders have unfortunately named this odd
genetic occurrence the recessive curly gene. It is in no way genetically
related to the dominant curly gene and we personally believe it is a genetic
defect. This gene lays hidden in the DNA of the best lines of Fox Trotters.
Our research shows that Old Fox and his son, Blankenship Diamond as well
as his grandson, Golden Governor, are carriers of this gene. All the
pedigrees of recessive curlies we have found so far trace back back to Old
Fox on both sides of their pedigree.
It takes two recessive genes to make this kind of curls present in foals. If
two straight haired Fox Trotters that carry this gene are bred together, 25%
of the time they will produce one of these foals that have curls on their
bodies, sparse manes and tails, potential serious health problems etc. For
some reason, these "recessive curly" foals usually shed some or all of their
manes and tails in the summer. They may also be smaller than regular Fox
Trotters and have more negative health issues than normal horses. Most
people consider this type of horse to be a genetic mishap and used to cull
foals when born. If you can handle the health problems that many have, we
have heard that this type of horse is a very sweet companion. This
"recessive curly gene" is not the same gene that produces curls on our
horses. They are totally different. This is NOT the kind of Curly Fox Trotter
that we produce and raise. We don't know anyone who does raise them
Dominant Curly Fox Trotters - The other type of curly coated Fox
Trotter is the kind we raise here at Zion Gait Curlies. It comes from a
dominant curly gene. This good dominant curly gene has been producing
beautiful and healthy curly horses for hundreds of years. These curly
horses are produced when at least one curly coated parent contributes a
dominant curly gene to its foal. You must see curls on the body, mane, tail,
ears, fetlocks etc. on at least one of the parents to produce this type of
foal. All dominant curly foals have tons of beautiful curls that look like a
lamb as shown on the buckskin curly filly in the photo on the left. Dominant
Curly Fox Trotters are vigorous and beautiful horses with long manes and
tails year round and heights range from 14.2 to 16 hands. They are
extremely healthy and are just like regular Fox Trotters, but with that
beautiful, flashy curly coat. These rare horses come from an unbroken line
of Curly Fox Trotters who were bred to some of the best Fox Trotter's such
as Walker's Merry Lad, Rex's Golden Touch, Danney Joe W. and Mr.
President. We are currently breeding our curly mares and stallion with the
best bloodlines, conformation, gait and temperament in the Fox Trotter
world to produce the best Dominant Curly Fox Trotters in existence!
|(Occasionally, some Fox Trotters will have a wavy mane, tail or some wavy body hair. This|
may be some other type of curl or wavy gene at work. These horses are quite different from
the ones produced at Zion's Gait Curlies. Though some may call them curly horses, we do not
as they look totally different from the horses we produce.)
Are Curly Fox Trotters really hypo-allergenic?
Yes, they are! Our two oldest children are seriously allergic to horses.
Every time they would take riding lessons we had to give them medication
and even then they would sneeze, get watery eyes and have breathing
problems. That's when we found and decided to start raising Curly Fox
Trotters. Our allergic children can now ride, groom and love the curly
horses with no allergic reactions. I have also talked to many, many people
who have had similar experiences.
What colors do Curly Missouri Fox Trotters come in?
Of these 90 horses, most have traditionally been sorrel , sorrel roan and
sorrel sabino in color. In recent years, though, breeders have managed to
expand the color palate of the Curly Fox Trotters to bay, palomino, black
and white tobiano, bay and white tobiano, cremello and now buckskin!
Where does this curly characteristic in the Fox Trotters
Curly horses have existed in the world for hundreds, possibly thousands of
years. The curly gene in our Fox Trotters traces back to a gaited curly
stallion named Curly Jim. In the 1960's, a select number of Missouri Fox
Trotter mares were bred to this stallion. Thankfully, these few curly horses
were perpetuated by pioneers in Curly MFT's.........Mary Etta Coomes and
Lester Tune. There are many theories, but no one is certain of Curly Jim's
ancestry. All Zion's Gait Curlies descend from this dominant curly line.
Their genetics work just like the cream gene in horses. For example, if a
horse carries one cream gene, there is a 50% chance that the foal will be
cream based (palomino or buckskin.) It's the same with our Curlies. If the
horse has one curly gene, it has a 50% chance that the foal will have curls
when bred to a straight haired Fox Trotter.
What is a homozygous Curly Fox Trotter?
Sometimes, the curly sire and curly dam will both give the foal a curly gene.
Then the foal will carry two curly genes and is homozygous for curls (see
Berry and Patches). These foals who are passed on the curly genes from
both of their parents will grow up and ALWAYS produce curly foals, even
when bred to a straight horse, because genetically speaking, they have to
pass on at least one of those curly genes. Homozygous curlies are
extremely rare and are highly prized by breeders because they can
guarantee curls for every foal.
Currently, there are no scientific tests to prove whether a horse is
homozygous for curls. There are, however, distinguishing physical
characteristics, which make it fairly easy to predict whether a horse is likely
homozygous. Many breeders use the term "microcurl" to describe the
texture of the coat of these horses (see Patches' page.) Out of all of the
Curlies with the trademark characteristics of being homozygous, none have
ever thrown a straight haired foal when bred to straight or curly horses.
There are only about 5 of these horses with Curly Missouri Fox Trotter
breeding in the world today. Two of these rare horses reside at Zion's Gait
What is different about DCC Vegas?
Because there are so few Curly Fox Trotters in existence, they are all at
least distantly related. Most come from a single sire, Walker's Prince T.
Our stallion, DCC Vegas, is not from the Walker Prince T line. In fact, he is
one of only two Curly Missouri Fox Trotter stallions in the world that is not
related to Walker Prince T. This makes him acceptable to cross with the
majority of Curly Missouri Fox Trotter mares now in existence. A handful of
breeders have taken on the important cause of expanding the gene pool to
retain the vigor, strength and beauty of future generations of Curly Fox
Trotters. We have chosen to cross our foundation curly stock with high
quality straight Missouri Fox Trotters. This will help ensure the future of
these wonderful horses.
Is it true that curly horses can survive extreme cold
Curly Fox Trotters are not only beautiful, they seem to be hearty and able to
survive extreme winter conditions. Their curly coat creates a warm air
layer and insulates them from the weather. People claim their curly horses
are often found with a crust of snow on their backs, which the curls
support, and they are warm and dry under the curls. We live in Southern
Utah and have not been able to witness this for ourselves yet, but see
below article entitled "The Dameles and the Curly Horse."
What is the difference between ICHO and ABC
registration? Is it important to have my horse ABC
ABC stands for American Baskir Curly. They are the original registrar for all
curly horses. Many of our horses are registered with ABC or qualify for
ABC registration, but we do not actively participate in ABC registration.
Several years ago the board of directors for that group decided to close
the books on curly horses. This means that only ABC registered horses
may be bred with other ABC registered horses in order for the offspring to
qualify for ABC papers. Many breeders of Gaited Curlies and Curly Missouri
Fox Trotters were not happy with this decision. Currently there are only
about 300 Gaited Curly Horses in the entire world and of that 300, about 100
of them are MFTHBA registered Curly Missouri Fox Trotters. This would
mean that the only way for us to maintain ABC papers would be for us to
breed our few horses together indefinitely. If we allowed this to happen,
severe inbreeding would result after only a few generations as most of
them are related at least distantly.
Thus, ICHO (International Curly Horse Organization) was created by
progressive and dedicated members of the curly community. They saw that
inbreeding for gaited curlies and many other specialty groups of curlies
like curly sport horses, curly ponies and curly draft horses was NOT
acceptable. While they have strict specifications for allowing a foal to
become ICHO registered, the ICHO allows the specialty breeders to
outcross their valuable curly foundation horses with the finest straight
haired examples of their particular specialty. This way, World Grand
Champions can be added to curly foundation stock to create the highest
quality curly horses in the world. Thus, continually improving and
strengthening gaited curly horses for future generations.
The ABC and the ICHO are both great organizations, however, serious
breeders of Curly Missouri Fox Trotters recognize that the ABC registered
Curly Fox Trotters are literally a dying breed. In just a few years they will
either be seriously inbred or the last remaining ABC registered Curly MFT's
will simply die off. Given these facts, all of our clients have been more than
happy to have their Curly Missouri Fox Trotters ICHO and MFTHBA
How much do these horses cost?
Many people anticipate very high prices when purchasing such a rare,
quality horse, but prices for our Fox Trotters are usually similar to other
high quality horses. Most are purchased as foals, but occasionally a
yearling, two-year old or trained riding horse may be available for purchase.
Our straight haired foals (which often have the same hypo-allergenic
qualities) generally sell for $1,500 and up. Curly MFT's generally sell for
$4,500 and up depending on the bloodlines, training, conformation, gait and
Curly Fox Trotters are wonderful and incredibly rare members of the Missouri Fox Trotter
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