Area man raises curly horses
For as long as Jerry Halvorson can remember, he's had a connection to horses.
"The first memory I ever had was being raised on a farm that had horses," he said. "It's been a lifelong thing."
Halvorson grew up on farms, as his parents were nomadic farmers between Minnesota and Wisconsin. He spent most of his youth in Brainerd, Minn., but graduated from Luck High School in Wisconsin.
He then went on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree from UW-River Falls, a Masters Degree from the University of Iowa and a Ph.D from the University of Minnesota, but his relationship to horses was always there.
"I'd be away in college, but I'd still go home on weekends and mess with (horses)," he said.
Those degrees enabled him to become a professor at UW-River Falls, specializing in speech pathology for 32 years, before retiring in 2000.
During his teaching tenure, Halvorson would breed traditional horses such as Appaloosa, Paint and Quarter horse as well as Thoroughbreds. It was during Halvorson's retirement year, and a visit to the Elmer Johnson farm near Baldwin, that gave his horse breeding business a new perspective. He was struck by an unusual and rare breed of horse.
"What is wrong with them?" "What's going on?" he remembered asking, as these were some of his initial impressions of that horse.
The horses were called American Bashkir Curly and they're known for their special haircoat--curly hair--on nearly every body part: ears, eyelashes, legs, body, mane, etc. Their origin is most commonly believed to be from Russia and the earliest known in America was in 1801. They were found among the Native American horses.
For more please read the April 30 print version of the Herald.