Wild Horse Education

Curly Chatter (Focus: Internet Adoption)

There are some “not curlies” from Fish Creek up for adoption as well that have been waiting in holding for 5 years looking for a chance at a “forever home.” (Click HERE)

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A 2 year old Curly from Fish Creek. BLM is adopting the boys out intact, as stallions. Often you hear “BLM does not adopt out stallions.” They do when it attracts breeders. His number is 4566 and bidding begins Tuesday. The bidding on the Curlies is likely to be very competitive. Click image to go to BLM page.

What is a Curly Wild Horse?

Defining the Curly takes you into the realm of scientific research and pouring through the tomes of historians. When you read a lot of the scientific lingo you will sometimes see a distinct category that often uses that word “feral,” that can make someone that speaks law all the time a bit annoyed. Free Roaming horses on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land in the US carry a legal identity of “wild,” some other jurisdictions do not. But, please, while you read and research? don’t let the word blind you to the significance of the findings, curlies bred by nature carry some of the most unique DNA in the world.

In 2017 HorseTalk published a 3 part series by Dr Mitch Wilkinson that, although it does use scientific terminology, breaks down the Curly history and genetic soup for the interested public. (If you have a serious interest in Curlies we recommend the read)

Basic points in Dr. Wilkinsons articles relevant to our discussion (all italics are from the article):

More than half of curly coated horses have a mutation of the KRT25 gene. “The other, unknown, curly hair producing gene mutations were given designations based on founding sires (Curly Jim), founding breeders (Cook), type (Sulphur and Spanish Mustang) or location (Patagonian, Mongolian, or Siberian).” 

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Fish Creek boys that are all listed on the Internet. Click pic and then check the “Fish Creek” box. Almost all of the wild horses listed as “Fish Creek” are curlies.  (BLM is still using the acronym “HA.” An HA is not managed for wild horses. Almost every wild horse, on every page, is from an HMA. Pet peeve and a rookie mistake. BLM should fix that)

When talking about the wild horses that will be on BLM’s next internet adoption: “Yet another mutation which causes curly coats in horses not caused by KRT25 was called the “Cook Mutation”. [2] The Cook family were early breeders of domestic curly horses in Northern Nevada.” and “Curly horses that carry only the Cook gene are rare with only a few examples.”

At this juncture a lot of people like to jump to the history tome and Wilkinson is no different in his explanation: “The ranch where the family of Art Cook lived and bred their horses was near another family of early curly horse breeders, the Damele family. Benny Damele was instrumental in pioneering the domestic curly horse as a breed. [7] The Cook line of horses can be traced back to the famous Damele stallion, Copper D.”

“The genetic mutations found in Damele horses and Cook horses all came from the wild herds.”

When we are talking about the wild horses from Fish Creek, we are talking about the “Cook gene” and the KRT25 mutations along with the (needs more research) continued mutations that occur in “Mother Natures breeding program.”

Dr Wilkinson gave us an easy analogy: “In order to get the perfect bowl of stew you need all of the ingredients. If you add only carrots, you get carrot stew. You need everything in the pot. Fish Creek is a very unique pot that creates a perfect bowl.”

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“One ear” is a personal favorite. At 6 years old he may be the oldest Curly featured on the internet. But he really is a goon and will get so close you can not focus your camera as he makes a big mess nibbling on your sleeve. His number is 4858.

WHE volunteers met Dr Wilkinson as he was interested in joining the team working on a management protocol at Fish Creek in 2015. As the “stand off” began, Dr Wilkinson locked himself in his hotel room and was gone before dawn. WHE did not leave and filed litigation documents as the wild horses were trucked off the range under threats. (see more here)

Wild horses prevailed in a courtroom and were returned to the range. (here)

A protocol was to begin that would map and protect the “genetic soup” at Fish Creek, rectify flaws of the past and address resource preservation. The DNA map at Fish Creek was so unique it most likely qualified for special status under law. (BLM only actually manages 5 herds in the way most people read the law as “Ranges.” The rest were shoved through a backdoor channel and the “HMA” lingo was born with absolutely no paper trail.)

In 2019 the herd that was part of this study was literally left in fragments after 80% of the existing herd was removed. Backdoor deals, changing designations of waters, power plays by other organization trying to get a seat at political poker, all contributed to the destruction of this herd.

In fact, the BLM hid much of the shenanigans and did not release a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request until after the herd was destroyed in an operation designed by the county (the county picked the number targeted and even approved the handful of wild horses BLM was “allowed” to turn out). The FOIA shows the EA BLM operated this removal under was no longer valid after the deal making took place. BLM needed to do another EA prior to destroying this herd so the public could comment and propose an alternative. Instead? the county agenda was rammed through.

Fish Creek is a saga worth a movie screen.

BLM stated all Curly horses would be on an internet adoption. More than half a dozen stallions, and unrevealed numbers of mares, shipped to Long Term Holding (LTH). LTH horses are considered “unadoptable” by age or “three strikes.” They now bear the brand of “sale authority.” (click pic to learn the difference between adoption and sale) These two, that we knew on range, were scheduled to ship to LTH after gelding.

BLM had stated that no Curly would be available for single adoption, “it was not fair” to all of the people that want them. But not all of them made the cut for auction. Older curlies have been gelded, branded and shipped to LTH wearing the “sale authority” brand. 

Bidding begins on January 21 for some of the Fish Creek Curlies and other wild horses. In future articles, during bidding, we will touch on some of the other herds that have representatives on this auction. 

Can we get all the wild ones from Fish Creek homes? Just go to https://wildhorsesonline.blm.gov/Animals and chose “Fish Creek” as place of origin. There are a lot of Fish Creek curlies, only a handful of Fish Creek “not curlies” and most of them were captured as babies in 2015 and kept in a corral at Carson prison for 5 years! can we get them all homes?

Some of the Curlies may be in other locations and show up on the internet hub later? We do not know at this time.

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Curly in a pen by itself. We did not see this “pearly curly” on the internet site. However, bidding does not begin until Tuesday and BLM may still have more to add? We are also looking for a blue roan curly baby and will update when we find him.

Slideshow below of some of the gelded wild horses that we wont likely see again.

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As the internet bidding moves forward we have a lot of stories to tell you about a lot of the wild horses that will be featured.

Many of these horses do not have a coat color (like Kiger/Riddle HMAs) or a coat with a DNA mutation (like a Curly) that make them likely candidates to find homes.

Each wild horse has a history and story worth telling. Each and every wild horse carries a beating heart that is filled with the wild place he was born in. Every wild horse carries DNA that is an American treasure trove of history and our public lands.

If you can help one find a home? it will be a journey of a lifetime. (two is always best, they are hard wired to bond in order to survive and two will make the journey less stressful.)


You can help all of our wild horses by taking action HERE


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Categories: Wild Horse Education