What draws most Curly horse breeders, owners, and enthusiasts to the breed is infamous "Curly Temperament". Curly horses, on average, tend to have a quiet, "thinking" temperament. They are intelligent, sensitive, people-oriented horses, with a relatively easy trainability and eager-to-please attitude. Curlies tend to have an "in-your-pocket" attitude, and seek out human companionship, sometimes over food or horse companionship.
Most Curly owners report that their horses tend to stop and think through a situation, rather than panic. Curlies tend to be less spooky than other breeds of horse, and are problem-solvers and thinkers. They have a willingness to please their human, which makes them rather easy to train. This easy-going, willing temperament, however, can cause some trainers to leave holes in training, assuming that the horse has learned its lesson, when in actuality, the horse has not even attempted evasion. Then, when the horse is presented with a unique situation, suddenly the horse "forgot", and the hole in the training surfaces. Therefore, it is important when training your Curly to expose them to as many situations as possible to avoid this possibility. Typically, once a Curly has learned a lesson, it has learned it for life (which is good, and bad, as anyone who has inadvertently taught their horse to paw for their grain bucket knows!)
Curly Stallion JT’s Lobodacious a/k/a Bo owned by Julie & Terry Schmidt, photographed by Julie Schmidt
Curlies can also be very, very smart and have a sense of humor. There are plenty of stories of Curlies learning to crawl under fences and knock on their humans door seemingly as a joke, learning to open gates and latches, get into the feed or tack room, or terrorize their barn mates by chasing them with a whip left laying about or some such other mischief. Curly horse owners must have a sense or humor!
DISCLAIMER: Curly horses are horses, like any other horse. There are wide variations of temperament within any breed, and the same goes for Curly horses. There are some Curlies who do have spook in them, there are some Curlies who are more difficult to train, or more bullish and dominant. But ON AVERAGE when compared to other breeds, their tendency is as written above.
As a Rescue, Curly horses may be dumped at auction due to their owners misunderstanding their temperaments, allowing their intelligence to get the best of the human, and inadvertently teaching them behaviors. CHR works with each and every horse to retrain them to the best of their ability to make them suitable for the home that we think is best for that horse.