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Native American Curly Horse History • Curly Stockhorse Preservation Project • horses

Curly Stockhorse
Preservation Project

The Curly Stockhorse Preservation Project is a public, volunteer, informal initiative,
sponsored by and the International Heritage Horse Association

Ernie & Donna; photo by Sorrel
(Donna Grace and) Ernie Hammrich 1998 ©Sorrel

Curly Stockhorse Preservation Project Purpose:

Mission Statement: The Preservation Project is an informal initiative to spread awareness of the decline in numbers of a truly wonderful breed / bloodline of horse. The Preservation Project(s) will evolve and develop as various projects goals are met or change over time. Participation is enthusiastically welcomed on any level. We keep a private webpage with specific information on projects and current work, that is only given out to those involved. We do everything we can to encourage help the horses without costing us much money. Money is tight among most of us, and we try to barter and get by with trades whenever possible, to meet the overall goal of preserving these incredible endangered horses.

Curly Stockhorse Terminology:

Berndt: The Berndt horses—named after Slim Berndt—back when relatively pure, were the original San San horses. They have also been referred to as Fort Berthold horses in some research. There may be a couple head still alive, but they have gone extinct. The Bad Warriors were the Berndt X old Quarter Horses developed by Ernie Hammrich of Mobridge SD, including Waggoneer, Hard Twist & Chuckaway.

Bad Warrior: The main bloodline/ breed we are trying to preserve is the endangered Bad Warrior, or San San horse. Its history goes back as far as the Native nations can remember, in the northwestern plains region. The Preservation Project is trying to preserve the bloodlines that are left in this old horse, and, trying to help facilitate the return of some San San horses back to their ancestral ground, and establish a few preservation bands in the Dakotas. Talks for returning the San San horse to the Crow Preserve have essentially halted for now.

Curly Stockhorses: include not only the Bad Warrior bloodline, but a few other lines, also nearly extinct, like the Fredell and Cypress lines.

KRT25: This the the dominant curl DNA mutation that can be tested for in Curly Horse genetic test panels. This DNA mutation is shared between many of the bloodlines of Curly Stockhorses. However, there is a difference between the divergent bloodlines, even though they share the same old curl mutation. For example, the KRT25 Damele bloodline stockhorse (also rare now) originated from Great Basin bloodlines; wild caught Owyhee Desert curly mustangs. These have developed separate from WYO Checkerboard curly mustangs for centuries, and are significantly different "breeds."

WYO Checkerboard Curly Mustangs: Wild WYO KRT25 mustangs that come from HMA (herd management areas) in Wyoming Checkerboard, are of interest in crossing with Bad Warrior horses to increase their numbers, because theoretically they would (as much as possible) retain the integrity of their gene pool. This is because WYO Checkerboard curly mustangs—HMA geography and history—indicate that they are more closely related to the San San remnant horses.

International Heritage Horse Association Mission & Goals:

The IHHA registers any endangered breeds & bloodlines of horses, but that is just a service to owners by request, not its reason for existence. Its mission is actually unification. IHHA stands with the preservation project volunteers--to support and encourage the eventual merger and union of all Curly Horse registries, and in the meantime to encourage breeding of separate curly breeds or bloodlines, and preserve them from extinction due to crossbreeding. To promote possible future unification, IHHA is working to provide an all-registry online pedigree database, which will be free to the public, and available to all registries, scheduled for 2024. If IHHA succeeds in that project, the goal is for that member platform to be more useful and reliable than Time will tell!

Curly Stockhorse Preservation Goals:


Curly Stockhorse Preservation Project 2014
last updated November 2023
Donna Grace

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