By Becca Husselbee
A woman who was hospitalised because of her horse allergy has finally been able to get close to the animals she loves thanks to a special breed.
Cheryl Gill, 37, and her husband, Richard, 40, found the two rare hypoallergenic horses, Curioso and Pamela, three years ago after discovering their coats do not shed hair or dander that will cause a reaction.
She had been hunting for until she found her new four-legged friends at a farm, in Surrey.
Cheryl would have a massive allergic reaction when she was around horses due to the animals shedding hair and skin.
But this rare breed called Bashkir Curlies has a rare gene that produces a wavy coat and when fully grown they can look like sheep.
Cheryl from Chesterfield, Derbyshire, said: “Just being close to horses would put me in hospital.
“If someone came near me that had touched a horse, it would set off an allergic reaction.
“My chest would get tighter and tighter until I couldn’t breathe and it always meant that I couldn’t be included in family activities if it was around animals.
“Our dog, Harper, is hypoallergenic and it got us thinking that maybe there was a hypoallergenic breed of horse out there somewhere.
“After a bit of research, we found a lady in Surrey who breed curly horses.”
Cheryl has always had a passion for animals, especially horses, since a very young age but getting close to them would cause her to go into anaphylactic shock.
After making sure a hospital was in close distance, the couple travelled down to Surrey to visit the horses several times and went onto to buy two of their own curly horses, Pamela, now 5, and Curioso, now 6.
Richard, who works as the head of an agricultural company, said: “It was shocking to see Cheryl not have a reaction, not a thing, she was completely fine.
“She is now even immune to regular breeds of horse because she has spent so much time around our two hypoallergenic horses.”
Curly coated horses appear to have a protein missing from their coat which makes them ideal for allergy suffers and now the couple are hoping to open the UK’s first hypoallergenic equestrian centre.
Cheryl said: “People are so amazed by their coat but even more so by their lovely temperament.
“For people who have never been able to get close to horses because of their allergies, it’s amazing to see their reaction.
“For me, it has definitely been life-changing.”
“I want other people, with allergies like me, to be able to interact with horses and so far not a single person who has visited has had a reaction.”