Several years ago, we were told about a horse that was looking for a new home. At the time, we simply had our hands full with our own horses, boarded horses, and all of the other sheep, goats, donkeys, cows, a camel, llamas, chickens, geese, dogs and cats. When you own a barn with about 20 stalls and eight paddocks and plenty of pasture, there is a tendency to overdo yourselves with animals in need of a home. With just the two of us we had our hands full. At the time, we decided against taking the horse in. But I have always wondered what it would have been like to take care of this one. It was the first and only Bashkir Curly I have ever come across.
They are called Bashkir, because they are said to have originated in a region of Asia called Bashkortostan. (That's a new ...stan to me.)
They are called Curly because they have fine, soft ringlets of hair that can get to be several inches long and it can actually be collected, spun and woven. They say that the hair is more closely related to mohair than horse hair. If the Obama girls ever get to a point that they want a pony, these are supposed to be hypoallergenic, too.
Yeah, I know. Curlies are kind of goofy looking, but what they lack in looks, they make up for in personality and durability. They are said to be even tempered, calm, friendly and intelligent. They have short, strong backs, very dense leg bones and very dense, hard hooves. Some Endurance Riders swear by them. When their heart and respiratory rates become high with exercise, those rates recover unusually quickly.
For a long time, I kind of wished that I would run across another one needing a home.
Then look what I got this summer.
Meet Zoey. She looks like a Bashkir Curly, but unfortunately, she's not. Zoey used to live on our farm and has given us some beautiful babies.
Zoey is a mini and was sold to a friend a few years ago when we downsized our livestock operation. Last winter she got into some feed and foundered. Her owner couldn't afford to have her cared for, so we took her back this Spring.
We had the farrier out immediately to try to work on her feet. They had become so long that it will take several months' worth of trimming to get her back to normal again. She is still long and more lame than normal.
We also waited and waited for her to shed out her winter coat. But she never did. This is not normal. Deb recognized it as a possible sign of Cushing's Disease, and the vet has since verified it.
Cushing's Disease is caused by a benign tumor of the pituitary gland. The pituitary regulates the endocrine system, so hormonal, metabolic, and immune problems are symptomatic. Her failure to shed out, and an increased water consumption were the most obvious symptoms. The vet has prescribed a dopamine agonist, Pergolide. She will be on this medicine for the rest of her life.
Aside from her improving lameness, she doesn't appear to be in pain. We keep her isolated and on a restricted diet right now. She is a typical mare and lays back her ears squeals at the other horses through the fence when they get too close. Hopefully, we can give her a few more good years of life on our farm...
And I can pretend she's my little Bashkir Curly.
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