Curly Horse Unity Project
The Survey

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This webpage is an outline of the final results of the Survey taken during April 2013.
These results combine the feedback of 122 people in the Curly Horse industry.
For a more complete analysis and commentary, see CurlyHorseUnitySurvey.pdf

If you missed taking the survey, stay tuned...
Continued feedback & participation will be needed throughout all stages of this project.
If you believe a Curly Horse registry merger would benefit all Curly Horses,
contact your area representative of your registry(ies) and LET THEM KNOW.

Survey part 1: click here to read the introduction, privacy policy & instructions.


Survey part 2: reference information


Total Number of participants: 122

Allocation of participants' registry membership

*2. Registry you are or have been involved with. This is for registry affiliation only, and does not suggest official existing registry involvement with this survey. Please choose one or more.

• CSI or Other: there were quite a number of different Curly Horse organizations listed overseas, as well as other breed registries, etc.

ABCR 79%
ICHO 79%
Both ABCR and ICHO 51%
Other Registries 31%
Other Registries:  
9 (dissatisfied with current registry choices)
2 mustang registries
AQHA, APHA, AHA, pinto
1 each
10 European registries
13 responders --- 2 ea in 3 --- 1 ea in 7 more

Survey part 3
Unity Survey Questions & Answers

*3.1 What is your current opinion of forming ONE unified Curly Horse registry and why?
Would you vote yes to support one unified registry? Please choose an answer below.

• YES. One Registry should be an improvement.
• MAYBE. Not sure -- or no opinion.
• NO. At this time I am opposed to the merger of all Curly registries.


3.2. If you are in favor of one unified registry, please choose one or more reasons below:

a • One unified registry makes the Curly Horse more credible.
b • One registry would increase efficiency with the end of unproductive registry competition
c • Having one registry would result in a more solid image of the curly horse
d • One registry would be cheaper for owners to register their horses
e • One registry would unify breed standards, type descriptions, press releases, breed representation
f • One registry would reduce split factions, combine similar groups and goals, and reduce confusion
g • One registry would best serve such a few number of horses
h • There will always be disputes, but having one registry should keep them to a minimum
i • Other: (none recorded)

The participants of this survey could chose from one or more multiple choice reasons why they are in favor of one unified registry. Most of them thought that having one registry would result in a more solid image of the Curly Horse, but also increased efficiency and an end of unproductive registry competition, in addition to the support of unified Curly Horse breed standards, type descriptions, press releases, breed representation are important reasons.

3.2. continued... If you are not sure, or against one unified registry, please list your concerns and/or reasons why. Also, if applicable, please include any specific conditions that would allow you to be in favor of one unified registry:

the following issues were either -
the most frequently cited as important not to lose in a merger or -
the concern given for being unsure, or against a registry merger:

want benefits of inclusivity   want benefits of exclusivity
want to retain scientifically sound policy   want to preserve “foundation” horses
want to retain quality outcrossing   must retain curly traits if outcrossing
want open division to support wild curlies   do not want to be just a coat registry
many do not want Bashkir in breed name


Summarize opinion trend in one sentence
  A strong majority of responders stated many similar reasons why they believe one unified registry would be much more likely to deal successfully with the various issues than the current situation of multiple, less effective registries.
Summary of opinions
  The clear majority were positive respondents who sounded excited about a merger, and believe a successful united registry could support all Curly Horses, all owners & programs, including exclusive breeding programs. The prevailing comments expressed optimism for much higher professionalism, efficiency, legitimacy, marketing support, quality control & public conduct within the Curly Horse industry. IOW, this would be the way to be taken seriously in the horse industry.
Specific trends among - ICHO and ABCR members? - US, Canada, Europe?
  Not surprisingly, the respondents who were concerned about registering horses without a pedigree, tended to be ABCR members, while the respondents who wanted a hardship or open division (to include wild and unknown curlies, and judicious out-crossing) tended to be CSI & ICHO members. However, many seem to realize that exclusive programs could and should perform successfully within or alongside an inclusive registry. Members across the board were concerned about crossing existing types to create mish-mash mutts, or health concerns, in an attempt to generate breed status. Both European and American breeders mentioned registry marketing efforts, quality identification and improvement programs.
Proposal how to proceed in a new Unified Registry (considering the opinion trend)
  This analysis question is difficult to address here with any kind of satisfactory "HOW-do-we-do-it-Proposal". That remains to be seen. That is the job before all of us. Most of us agree it needs to happen, all agree it will not be easy. It sounds apparent to most that personal and divisive agendas should take second place to a merger in support of all present ownership, breeding and activity programs. Most respondent comments seem to reflect faith that within this great challenge lies a great solution. If members can see their way to accepting an inclusive registry and yet still powerfully support insider exclusive programs for the Curly Horse (type, breed genesis with perservation of the cluster Curly Horse gene traits, bloodlines, etc) each of the current existing registries can bring their unique strengths to form one stronger unified registry.
Additional Remarks
  If the memberships among the existing registries want to pursue this merger, then board members from each registry would need to meet with some the unity project group and put together a plan for implementation. The members must continue to remain involved and active in this process.


*2.2. Would you be interested in volunteering or serving on a Committee in a unified registry?

• Yes
• No
• Not sure or no opinion
• Comments? ________ (none recorded)

Approximately 2/3 of the respondents indicated some degree of interest in volunteering or serving in a new unified registry. Some indicated that their interest in volunteering was provisional upon the final registry framework.

Summarize opinion trend in one sentence
  Of the 122 responses 38% responded they are not sure or have no opinion about volunteering, 33% clearly responded they are not interested in volunteering in a Curly Horse registry and 29% replied yes they would be willing to volunteer to help a Curly Horse Registry.
Summary of opinions
  Given the combined percentages of those not sure or have no opinion about volunteering or those not interested in volunteering is in total approximately 85% perhaps members do not feel inclined, have the time, or have not been asked to volunteer. Further discussions of opportunities to volunteer may be approached in the future, but according to the responses this issue appears to be a low priority or concern for the majority of survey participants.
Specific trends among - ICHO and ABCR members? - US, Canada, Europe?
  Although this question did not have an input box for direct commentary, the hundreds of feedback responses for questions with input boxes indicated that communication break-downs are a serious problem. This could very well be the factor for little interest in volunteering. It does seem the members or past members of ABCR complain about communication more often than those in ICHO. There does not appear to be a substantial difference in the location of members.
Proposal how to proceed in a new Unified Registry (considering the opinion trend)
  • Share in a written format the many opportunities to volunteer, clearly stating what is needed, and allow the members to choose if they are interested in helping.
• Acknowledge and praise the efforts of members who do volunteer so they feel rewarded for their effort, time and energy.
• Publish successful volunteer projects within the Curly World so that members see their peers are rewarded, so that perhaps others will be interested in sharing tasks in the future.
Additional Remarks
  Volunteering is an important foundation for all successful organizations. If handled correctly it can be a source of positive progress and goodwill. Members who choose to volunteer should be rewarded for their efforts. It is important to have a written expectation of the tasks that the volunteer has agreed to do so that there are no misunderstandings which can quickly turn a positive into a negative. The registry could have a “Volunteer Coordinator” who is liaison between board, volunteers and the membership on a regular basis, and shared on the registry website.


... ISSUES ...
getting to the heart of the matter

We have taken the liberty of listing several expected issues (below) – such as advantages or areas of concern – that registry unification might involve which need feedback. These are just initial ideas at this point. We invite you to read through these, and welcome your input – each issue will have a comment area with it.

Registry and Studbook

(costs, logistics)

Many Curly Horse owners and breeders register their horses in more than one registry in order to cover their customers' needs. Unifying means one membership, one registration for your horse papers, papers from other registries would be recognized.

*3.5. As a Curly Horse owner I believe we would reduce costs with one unified registry?

• Yes
• No
• Not sure or no opinion

Any additional thoughts? Please write down your input.

Overall, the majority of the respondents feel that registering their horses in a single registry would be beneficial in reducing costs. A repeated theme in the responses is the additional cost of registering in multiple registries uses dollars that would be better spent elsewhere:
“The costs are really those wasted through duplicate activities that could be better utilized to promote the breed. Have multiple registries just does not make sense due to the very small pool of breeders/ owners.”
“A unified registry looks like a unified, cohesive registry. Having more than one Curly Horse registry for so few horses (around 5,000 worldwide) looks like a bunch of petulant children infighting.”
European owners would like to simplify the registration process to reduce overall complexity and cost.

Proposal: The transition to a single registry should be as seamless and cost free as possible. Existing memberships and registrations should transfer directly to the merged registry.

Quality Control
(inspections, North America, global impact, Sporthorses)

Countries around the world implement evaluations and quality improvement programs as standard, the European Union has made inspections mandatory for breed registries. The ICHO developed an optional inspection program (voluntary for North America) and a corresponding studbook database, (NACHIP and ICAMS). The purpose is for the Curly Horse to be recognized by the horse industry as a quality breed.

*3.6. Are you, as a member, interested in having your Curly horse inspected by a judge?

• Yes
• No
• Not sure or no opinion

Any additional comments or concerns? Please write down your input:

The majority of respondents think that inspections on the basis of standard rules are a good thing to improve the breed and its credibility, however, many fear that costs are too high, they do not want to travel long distances with their horses to a judge and some doubt that judges will be objective. Some pointed out that it definitely should be made available to all by the registry, and definitely should not be mandatory.

Proposal: Take the inspection programs that are already there, make them optional, and develop creative methods to make inspections less costly and time consuming. Think about adding creative methods (video inspections, etc) to allow more people to have their horses inspected. Taking care to provide knowledgeable, yet objective judges that know about the specific conformation and disposition characteristics of the Curly Horse is of utmost importance.


One registry could solidify marketing resources, present a common breed description, provide effective press releases and representation, and eliminate wasted energy.

*3.7. “Credibility in the Horse Industry: One registry would solidify marketing resources, present a common breed description, provide effective press releases and representation, and eliminate wasted energy.” Do you support the idea of a single unified Curly Horse registry to meet the goals in the above description?

• Yes
• No
• Not sure or no opinion

Any additional thoughts? Please write down your input:

The top 2 things requested in the written statements were:

1. Allow the breed to have different standards, ONE standard for all the Curly Horses will not do
2. Marketing strategy is important, needs to be unified and follow a defined strategy, and needs to reflect the Curly Horse in its variety.

Code of Conduct, Ethics

(eligibility requirements for members,
eligibility requirements for officers)

PROFESSIONALISM: courteous behaviour in public, limitations of power through a signed agreement that defines the following: Limited Powers, Exact Job Description, Code of Conduct or Code of Ethics.

PROPER REPRESENTATION: policy-making with the knowledge, input, approval and/or agreement of majority of Curly Horse owners.

PROMOTION: well-conformed, excellent-temperament Curly Horses displayed in public to represent the breed.

PARTICIPATION: Plenty of positive membership involvements in tasks that are essential for a professional and performing breed registry/organization.

PRUDENCE: Efficient use of Curly Horse owners' and breeders' resources (money) by providing one membership, and registering horses in one place, as well as other unified resources (members’ and officers’ time and efforts).

*3.8. Do you feel the above ethics are important to the Curly Horse industry?

• Yes
• No
• Not sure or no opinion

Any additional thoughts? Please write down your input.

The majority of the respondents support a code of conduct (Professionalism, Proper Representation, Promotion, Participation, Prudence) as described in the survey. There were few that had doubts that these ethics can be enforced - because they are subject to who is interpreting them. Many good ideas proffered for implementation.

Marketing & Promotion
(presentation, competitions, advertising, etc.)

Unifying the registries could allow Curly Owners and Breeders to pool their financial resources, leaving past differences behind to focus on positive, promotional events, shows, competitions and advertising.

*3.9. Are you in favor of registry driven, intensive marketing and promotion?

• Yes
• No
• Not sure or no opinion

Any additional thoughts? Please write down your input.

This question by far produced the most positive response from members and Curly Horse folks in our Curly community. The overwhelming majority feels we should have more marketing and promotion of our Curly Horses. The following statement reflects the 80% of responders sentiments; “The registry is the number one promotion of the breed and without a professional and combined effort it is difficult to promote Curlies.”

*3.10. Do you feel there is a need for more registry sponsored shows and events?

• Yes
• No
• Not sure or no opinion

Any additional thoughts? Please write down your input.

The general consensus is that the respondents would like to see Curly Horse shows, and other collaborative registry sponsored events, such as trail rides, endurance rides, competition in open shows, and registry sponsorship of classes to promote the Curly Horse to the public.

(history, research, data, and education)

Many documents have been lost due to private persons keeping records. Research has been duplicated, competed in and often not shared between factions. By unifying, a combined historical and research record for the use of members can be achieved.

*3.11. Would you agree to a unified location for current research and historical data to be combined, and accessible to members?

• I agree
• I do not agree
• Not sure or no opinion

Any additional thoughts? Please write down your input.

Overall, most respondents think it is a very good and important idea to have historical data and materials centralized and accessible for members and that this approach should be supported by modern tools like internet, electronic archiving etc.
"Do it! Use modern tools for it. Try to build a group of trustworthy and well accepted people to run it. Set up rules to run it and make them public, control if these rules are observed."
"Centralizing would stop the loss of historical materials in private hands, that are sometimes tossed out when a person moves, passes away, or loses interest in the breed."
"Make as much public to the members as possible. Do also share with non-members, but it should cost a bit (e.g. like the AQHA does with pedigrees)."
Not sure if the Curly Horse Database is owned by ICHO? If it can be recovered and used again, by the members and for the members, it should be so - not personalized for personal benefit; and it should be filled with approved Registry material only (read only for public/membership). It will be a challenge for this group to bring ICHO and ABCR material together, set it into a neutral context, evaluate information etc.

Other Registry Services


3.12. (optional) As a registered Curly breeder, what do you feel your membership should provide? As a member, what areas of a Curly Horse registry would you like to see improvement in? Did we leave anything out? Any additional thoughts [or provisions that you would require in order to support unification]? Please write down your input.


The top 5 provisions or improvements listed, expected from a Curly Horse registry were:

a. More marketing, promotion & breed information regarding the Curly Horse
b. Access (electronic) to registry information, e.g. database with pedigrees etc.
c. More communication, more explanation & education for the membership
d. Accurate & professional registration process
e. Less arrogance, more pleasant & professional conduct from boards & administrators

Over 65% of those who took this survey voluntarily responded to this question with very similar concerns. Perhaps multiple registries no longer best serve the Curly Horse industry's needs... perhaps the topic of a merger is timely, and important to the future of the Curly breed. Read the complete analysis in pdf form here.


Thank you for your interest in a Curly Horse registry merger!

About the Curly Horse Unity Project. This is a private initiative put forth by a group of like-minded Curly Horse people, inquiring to find out if the Curly Horse industry belives it would be best served by only ONE Curly Horse Registry.

FOR QUESTIONS, MORE INFORMATION, or to remain involved in the discussions and possible resulting implementation, please contact one or all of us: Marianne Bornemark, Angie Gaines, Caren Schumann, Donna Grace Vickery, Janice Voss-Crosby, Dr. Mitch Wilkinson, Dr. Karen Zierler -- you can email all of us at:

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