The Curlies are known for their calm, intelligent and friendly personality. They show an easily trainable temperament. They are also known for having a tough constitution and great stamina. Most people have found that the curlies enjoy being around people. The curlies are typically not flighty. They tend to do more reasoning than most breeds. They are very reliable and have a great work ethic.
Coat, mane and tail
The unique gene that gives Curlies their curly hair (which is most obvious with their winter coat) can be expressed minimally (horse exhibits curly hair inside ears, at fetlocks, and a kinky mane and tail), maximally (horse exhibits curl all over body, has dreadlocked mane, and has curly eyelashes and guard hairs), and "Extreme" (very tight, extreme curls, but when they shed out for summer can shed entirely bald) or any variation in between. The coat in the summer shows a slight wave in it, but not as extreme as the winter curls.
Because the trait can be carried heterozygously, some purebred Curlies exhibit no curl at all. (Called "smooth coat" curlies)
Curlies have split manes and are not braided or clipped when shown. Curlies are most commonly chestnut colored, but can be found in every color from standard bays, blacks, and greys, to appaloosa markings; from pinto patterns to dilute colors such as buckskin, roan, grulla, and cremello.
The care for the curly hair is simple. Most people choose to not comb the mane because the hair will lose its curliness. The manes are often trimmed to keep them from matting. The tails can be combed. Some people choose to collect the hair that is shed from the mane and tails in the spring. The hair is then donated to the ICHO Fiber Guild. They use the hair for spinning. All of the proceeds go to ICHO Curly Research Efforts.
Curlies are acclaimed to be the only hypoallergenic horse breed; most people allergic to horses can handle Curly Horses without suffering any allergic reaction. Research indicates a protein is missing from the fur of Curlies which may be what causes allergic reactions to horses in allergy suffers, but the study was never officially published. Members of the Curly Community are working towards funding more research on this.
The Curly has a characteristic long stride and bold movement. They have tough hooves, strong bones and exceptional endurance. Most Curlies stand between 14 and 16 hands, though they can range from Miniature horses to Draft horses (Only allowed in two registries).