What Is A Gypsy Vanner Horse? (Perfect answer)

Why are Gypsy Vanner horses so expensive in the US?

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What are Gypsy Vanner horses used for?

Easily trained and capable of most any discipline, the breed is used for both driving and riding. The vision British Gypsies had for their special caravan horse was that of a small Shire, with more feather, more color and a sweeter head.

Are Gypsy horses good for riding?

These horses may have been raised to pull caravans, but they also make great riding horses, too. With their calm nature, Gypsy Vanners can be well-paired with children, as well as with beginner and advanced adult riders.

What is the difference between a Gypsy cob and a Gypsy Vanner?

Gypsy Vanner, Irish Cob, and Gypsy Cob are the same horse. There is no difference between a Gypsy Cob and a Gypsy Vanner horse. The horses the Gypsy’s developed over the years weren’t known as a specific breed. Americans formed the first breed registry for the Gypsy horses.

Are Gypsy horses expensive?

The Gypsy Vanner is an expensive horse, not only to care for but also to buy, and you can expect an average price of around $12,000. The cost of adopting is less than buying but varies according to the shelter you use.

What is the rarest horse in the world?

The Galiceño is a critically endangered horse that has a long history in the Americas. It is estimated that there are fewer than 100 pure Galiceños left, making this the rarest horse breed in the world.

What is the most beautiful breed of horse?

Considered the most beautiful horse breed in the world, Friesians are native to Friesland in the Netherlands. Known for the striking black coat and long flowing mane, Friesians were originally bred to carry medieval European knights into battle.

Are Gypsy vanners rare?

A Rare Breed of British Origin Traditionally, the travelling Gypsies of Great Britain used larger, heavy horses than today’s Gypsy Vanner to pull their weighty covered wagons during the nineteenth and the early half of the twentieth century.

Is a Gypsy Vanner considered a draft horse?

They Gypsy Vanner is often referred to as a “people-sized” draft horse. The genetic origins of the breed include the Shire, the Clydesdale, and the native British ponies such as the Dales. The Gypsy Vanner is not a color breed. Originally bred to pull the Gypsy wagon, these horse are now being used in all disciplines.

What breed of horse has the least health issues?

Arabian horses are the healthiest breed. Due to their hard structure and muscle build, they are least likely to contract diseases. They have a minimum lifespan of 25 years and a maximum lifespan of 30 years. Arabians are also known for their endurance and have a lot of stamina.

How big is a Gypsy Vanner?

The Gypsy Vanner Horse is a hearty draft style horse that is generally 13 to 16 hands in height. The head of a Gypsy Vanner is pleasant with an intelligent eye. The topline is said to be “level” with its natural aligned curvature from wither to tail head.

How much weight can a Gypsy Vanner carry?

Gypsy Vanners weigh between 1,100 to 1,700 pounds. They can carry a rider weighing between 200 and 260 pounds. It is a good option for a heavier rider that isn’t too tall.

How much are shire horses?

Shire horses vary in cost from around $2,000 to $20,000, depending on age and their level of training. When selecting a horse, it’s important to get the full picture of its health, temperament, and history.

About The Breed

Originally developed by the Gypsies of Great Britain, the Gypsy Vanner Horse is a very attractive breed. This horse has been deliberately bred for more than half a century, with the goal of creating the ideal horse to draw the Gypsy caravan in mind. The Gypsy Vanner Horse Society was created in 1996 to serve as a registration for the breed when the first Gypsy Vanner horses arrived in North America in 1996. There was no name for the breed at the time, and the term Gypsy Vanner Horse was adopted since the breed was raised to draw a colorful caraVAN, which was used by Gypsies to travel over the world.

The Shire, the Clydesdale, and native British ponies such as the Dales are all said to have contributed to the development of the breed.

Although it has a body shape similar to a draft, the bulk of the breed stands 14-15 hands at the withers, indicating that it is a taller breed than a draft.

The quantity of feathers that flow from behind the knees and hocks, as well as the long, free flowing mane and tail, are the first characteristics that are commonly recognized.

These horses were originally developed to pull the Gypsy wagon, but they are today utilized in a variety of disciplines.

As a result of its unflappable disposition, the Gypsy Vanner makes an excellent family horse and is also popular as a trail or therapy horse.

Gypsy Vanner Horse: Facts, Lifespan, Behavior & Care Guide (with Pictures)

In Ireland, the Gypsy Vanner, also known as the Gypsy Cob or the Irish Cob, is a breed of domestic horse that was developed as a result of emigration. It has been raised for more than a century to pull Gypsy caravans, and it was only in 1996 that it was first shipped to the United States of America. For starters, the horse has been developed to be powerful and possess great endurance; nevertheless, smaller specimens of the breed are more highly regarded since they require less food and, as a result, are more cost-effective to maintain than bigger horses.

Quick Facts About Gypsy Vanner Horses

Species Name: Gypsy Vanner
Family: Cob Horse
Care Level: Moderate to High
Climate: Mild and Wet
Temperament: Friendly and Calm
Color Form: Especially Piebald and Skewbald
Lifespan: 20 – 25 years
Size: 13 – 16 hands
Diet: Hay and Balancer
Compatibility: Calm with Animals, Great With Kids

Gypsy Vanner Overview

Image courtesy of Pixabay The Gypsy Vanner is a type of caravan that originated in the United Kingdom and Ireland. In particular, it has been bred in Ireland for the purpose of towing Gypsy caravans. Horses were first used to pull caravans by traveling gypsies in the British Isles during the mid-19th century, and the breed was further refined and optimized during World War II. The first of the breed was shipped to the United States in 1996, and the species has continued to gain popularity there because to its mix of attractive appearance and power, along with a manageable size and outstanding pulling abilities.

It was possible to keep the horse in good shape because of the tremendous activity it received as well as the diversity of greens it obtained from eating hedgerows and bushes.

Essentially, this meant that the breed was required to have a dependable and kind temperament in order to avoid accidentally injuring or scaring children in any way.

Although criteria differ from one location to another, the horse is typically regarded to be between 13 and 16 hands high, with a straight facial profile and a muscular neck, chest, and withers.

Its height should be between 13 and 16 hands, and it should have a strong neck, chest, and withers. Even though characteristics such as feathery heels and piebald coloration are desirable and popular in the breed, they are not necessary by the breed criteria.

How Much Do Gypsy Vanners Cost?

The Gypsy Vanner is a costly horse, not just to care for but also to purchase, with an average purchase price of approximately $12,000 on the market. Depending on how much you shop around and how ready you are to sacrifice on standards, you may be able to locate one for less than this, while prize specimens with a strong pedigree may cost more. Because of the high cost and high quality of this breed, it is doubtful that you will be able to discover one in a rescue, however it is not impossible.

Typical BehaviorTemperament

With a reputation for being quiet and gentle, the Gypsy Vanner is an excellent choice for novice and first-time riders alike. In addition to being raised in close proximity to its family, which included small children, the horse would have been surrounded by dogs and other animals during its whole life. However, while there is no assurance, choosing a Gypsy Vanner breed increases the probability that you will be rewarded with a sweet-natured and affectionate horse on your hands.


Image courtesy of Pixabay Although criteria differ slightly from one nation and one breed association to the next, some standards are consistent across the board.


Generally speaking, this breed will stand between 13 and 16.2 hands tall, according to popular belief (hh). Horses that are shorter in stature are often seen as more attractive. They are as stocky and powerful as the bigger horses, but because they are smaller, they require less food, and as a result, they are believed to be more economically feasible. A larger horse will cost significantly more, especially because the Vanner has sophisticated food requirements that are above and above what is typical for horses in general, especially in terms of size.


The Gypsy Vanner breed does not have a specific color or pattern that distinguishes it. They might have patterned coats or solid color coats, depending on the style. The piebald and skewbald markings, on the other hand, are rather frequent in this breed. You will notice the following in particular:

  • Tobiano horses are dark-colored horses with white spots on their coats. Skewbald is a term used to describe white spots on a coat that is any color other than black. Horses with a splash of white on the belly that are darker in color are commonly referred to as blagdon.

Because the breed is not classified a colorful breed, breed registries will accept them in any color, as well as with any markings or patterns on their coat.


Again, there are just a few physical qualities or attributes that are deemed crucial to the breed’s survival. Feathers are more commonly seen on the lower legs, on the other hand. The Vanner also has a lot of hair around its mane and tail, and this long hair needs particular attention during grooming.

How to Take Care of Gypsy Vanners

In spite of its hardiness, the Gypsy Vanner will take good care of both you and your family if you take good care of it. Because of its strength, toughness, and resilience, it can withstand damp and cold temperatures.

Owning a dog of this breed, on the other hand, is not without its difficulties. For example, it has long hair that must be groomed on a regular basis, and it may be susceptible to certain illnesses and ailments.

Climate and Conditions

The Gypsy Vanner is a kind of horse that originates in Ireland. The climate in the region is notorious for being damp and unseasonably cool. In winter, temperatures can dip well below freezing, and this species does well in the open air, however it will require protection from the cold and damp of the season. The Vanner can suffer in hot temperatures, especially in Ireland, where the average yearly temperature is just 50°F and the average July temperature is only 62°F on average. Furthermore, in certain hilly places near Dublin, Ireland receives more than 254 centimeters of rainfall every year.


In order to keep it healthy and pleasant, the Vanner demands a tremendous amount of maintenance. It has a very long tail and mane, which need special care and maintenance. This is especially true if you live in a muddy location since the muck can become entangled in your hair and cause issues. You can braid the mane and tail to reduce the impact of muck on the horse and to prevent the horse from getting tangled. The feathers surrounding the base of the Vanner’s tail will need to be detangled and brushed on a consistent basis.

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Do Gypsy Vanners Get Along with Other Pets?

One of the factors contributing to the growing popularity of the Gypsy Vanner is the breed’s calm and serene temperament. Not only was the horse developed to get along with and remain calm around youngsters, but Gypsies were also known to have dogs and other animals in their homes. This horse gets along with other pets, can be maintained with other horses, and is generally regarded as a stable and delightful addition to any household setting.

What to Feed Your Gypsy Vanner

The Gypsy Vanner has a diet that is a little out of the ordinary. Its metabolism is significantly slower than that of other horses of same size. This indicates that the breed is prone to rapidly acquiring weight, and as a result, you should feed it a high-fat, low-calorie diet. Feed excellent quality hay and supplement with a ration balancer, rather of a feed concentrate, to provide a balanced diet. Depending on how lush the area is, you may need to install a grazing muzzle to keep your Vanner from eating too much of the greenery there.

Keeping Your Gypsy Vanner Healthy

Regular grooming and a nutritious food will help to ensure that this robust breed continues in excellent health, but there are a few circumstances to which you should pay particular attention:

  • Keep an eye out for symptoms of scratching around the lower legs, since they can become inflamed and cause lameness. A condition known as Chronic Progressive Lymphedema, which has no known treatment and will worsen over the course of a horse’s life, may be responsible for excessive swelling in the lower leg. Excessive keratin production can develop crusted growths around the legs, which should be avoided. Remove them to avoid the bacterial and fungal illnesses that can occur as a result of them.

Are Gypsy Vanners Suitable for You?

The Gypsy Vanner horse breed is largely recognized as a pleasant and well-balanced horse breed that is suitable for novice owners and even first-time riders, despite the fact that it is more usually employed to pull carts and caravans than to ride. It is a stocky but manageably short horse that is tolerant of cold and rainy weather and can be maintained in close proximity to children and other animals without risk of injuring them or giving them distress. Because of its high value, the breed is expensive to purchase and maintain.

As a result, if you have the financial and time resources to devote to owning a horse and are seeking for an industrious horse that will get along with all of your family members, this breed is a good fit. You might also be interested in the following additional horse breeds:

The History of the Gypsy Vanner

Dennis Cindy Thompson was a member of The Gypsy King in his early days. There aren’t many opportunities to find a horse, then go on to offer that unique animal to the world and establish it as a recognized breed of horse. Dennis and Cindy Thompson of Ocala, Florida, embarked on a trip with the Gypsy Vanner Horse, and they were not disappointed. The Thompsons were fascinated by the sight of a brightly colored stallion at pasture while on a trip to England in 1995. The stallion had the height of an average horse, but he was built like a draft horse.

  • The Thompsons pulled over to find out who owned this unusual critter that had captured their attention.
  • This further added to the sense of enchantment and mystery.
  • Fred Walker was sometimes referred to as “King of the coloured horses” by his contemporaries because of his affinity for colored horses.
  • Listen in as Fred’s great-grandson provides his response.
  • The Thompsons spent the remainder of the day at a Gypsy camp, where they were captivated and enchanted by this friendly and colorful horse.
  • It came as a pleasant surprise to them when they discovered that the Gypsy owner was prepared to sell this rare stallion, but that it would be at least a year before he was completed with his breeding plans.
  • Four calendar years passed, during which time I became obsessed with trying to figure out what the breed was and wasn’t.

Gypsy Vanner Horse was chosen over Romany Horse after a vote among devoted British Gypsy breeders.

The movie included below provides an excellent overview of the history and origins of the breed.

Visit the Gypsy Vanner Horse Society to learn more about the history of the Gypsy Vanner horse.

The horses reared by British Gypsies in 1995 did not belong to any particular breed; rather, they belonged to a kind with no known ancestors, according to statistics from 1995.

Those horses have smooth-legged traits in their bloodlines and were reared for the restaurant industry in Belgium, Holland, and France, yet they may trick the untrained eye because of their appearance and temperament.

In recent years, the United Kingdom has implemented a horse passport system for its citizens.

Before 1996, according to the English Chambers Dictionary, a Vanner was defined as “a horse suited for pulling a caravan.” Vanners were the semi trucks that hauled all of the freight in Great Britain before there were combustible engines.

Although Gypsy caravans and carts may be seen in many European nations, it was only in Great Britain that the Gypsy caravan was elevated to the level of an art form, resulting in the English version of the Gypsy caravan being the most elaborately adorned in the world.

A breed was not established until the Second World War for horses that hauled British Gypsy carts and caravans.

Vanner is well-known for his kind and generous nature, which he attributes to his great disposition.

In their minds, a little Shire with more feather, more color, and a sweeter head was the ideal horse for the British Gypsies to use as their particular caravan horse.

It is known as an additive or cumulative gene, and on the Vanner, feather (hair on the legs) begins at or near the knee on the front legs and at or near the hocks on the hind legs, and extends to cover the front of the hooves on the back.

A few examples of colors are Piebald (black and white), Skewbald (brown and white), Blagdon (a solid color with white on the belly or more profound streaks of white on the back; also known as a splash Blagdon or checkity horses), and odd colored horses (also known as odd colored horses or checkity horses) (described as any other color and white).

  1. It’s important to realize that the Vanner is not a color breed; rather, it’s a body type breed.
  2. In the beginning, the Gypsy Vanner Horse Society recognized three size categories, which is the same as what we do at Gypsy Gold.
  3. All sizes should have the appearance of a tiny Shire, but with more feather and a sweeter head than the larger ones.
  4. Gyspy Vanner Horses made their first appearance at Equitana USA in 1998, and the breed was officially introduced there in 1999.
  5. Are you interested in finding out more?

It contains information about the GVH mission, society, marketing, social programs, dreams, and the organization’s whole history. Keep an eye out for Dennis Thompson’s next book, “Gypsy Gold, The Journey of a Lifetime,” which will be available shortly.

Gypsy Vanner: Horse Breed Profile

Gypsy Vanner horses are becoming increasingly popular due to their good temperaments, as well as their beautiful feathering and eye-catching coats. Gypsy Vanner horses are known for their excellent temperaments, as well as their beautiful feathering and eye-catching coats. These horses may have been bred to pull caravans, but they also make excellent riding horses and may be purchased as such. Because of their peaceful demeanor, Gypsy Vanners are an excellent choice for pairing with youngsters, as well as with adult riders at all levels of experience.

Breed Overview

Weight ranges from 12.2 to 16 hands. Weight:1,000 to 1,7000 pounds, depending on height Physique:Stocky, strong, and draft-type build Best for:Riding and driving horses, and it is suitable for both novice and experienced riders. 25 years is the average life expectancy.

Gypsy Vanner History and Origins

In the United Kingdom, the history of the Gypsy Vanner horse may be traced to the Gypsies, who were looking for a horse with the power and physique to draw their caravans. They were looking for a horse that was not only powerful, but also mild-mannered, kind, and easy to teach. When it came to breeding their perfect horse, the Gypsies used a combination of the Shire and Clydesdale for their size and power, as well as introducing the Dales pony and the Fell pony into the bloodlines. With time, these horses got more polished, and the breed began to become more stable as a result.

The Gypsy Vanner Horse Society, which serves as the breed’s registration, was created the same year.

Gypsy Vanner Size

Gypsy Vanners are little horses, ranging between 12.2 and 16 hands high and weighing between 400 and 600 pounds. Despite the fact that they are shorter than the average draft horse, they are well-built and capable of hauling carriages and caravans as well as functioning as riding horses capable of supporting heavier riders. courtesy of Zuzule / Getty Images courtesy of catnap72 / Getty Images Photograph by Stephanie Hafner / Getty Images

Breeding and Uses

While the Gypsy Vanner breed was originally developed to pull caravans, it has acquired appeal as a result of its versatility in a variety of different applications. As a cart horse, the Gypsy continues to be a formidable competitor in exhibitions and driving contests, and it may also be found pulling carriages for pleasure. Because of its laid-back demeanor, the Gypsy Vanner is an excellent riding horse as well. Gymnastics are ridden in both English and Western styles. They are suited for a variety of disciplines ranging from dressage to trail riding and beyond.

Wanderlust / courtesy of Getty Images

Colors and Markings

Gypsy Vanners are available in a variety of colors, including solid coats. The breed, on the other hand, is most often recognized for its colourful coats, which include:

  • Tobiano: A coat with white spots on a black background
  • Skewbald: A base coat that is any color other than black with white spots on it
  • Blagdon is a splash of white on the belly of a darker colored coat
  • It is also known as a blazedon.

Because the breed is not a color breed, the breed registration will accept horses of any color or pattern, regardless of how their coats look.

courtesy of kondakov / Getty Images courtesy of Empato / Getty Images courtesy of Kondakov / Getty Images courtesy of Tutye / Getty Images

Unique Characteristics of the Gypsy Vanner

Gypsy Vanners are distinguished by their extensive feathering, which begins at their knees and hocks. Long, thick manes and tails are other frequent characteristics. This substantial amount of hair needs much extra maintenance and attention, particularly while preparing for a presentation.

Diet and Nutrition

Gypsy Vanners have a slower metabolism than your normal lightweight riding horse, therefore they require a special diet to maintain their health. Their slower metabolism can cause children to acquire weight more readily and rapidly, and it can also make them more prone to metabolic disorders in the future. Many Gypsy Vanner owners put their dogs on a high-fat, low-sugar diet in order to avoid these possible issues in the future. Many of these horses fare better with high-quality hay and a ration balancer than they do with a standard feed concentrate, according to the researchers.

Common Health and Behavior Problems

Despite the fact that the majority of Gypsy Vanners enjoy long and healthy lives, this breed is susceptible to a few specific health issues:

  • Scratches: These crusty scabs on a horse’s legs can cause swelling and lameness in the lower legs. If a horse’s body generates an excessive amount of keratin (which is responsible for the creation of the Gypsy’s thick feathering), it can result in thick, crusted growths on the front and rear legs that must be removed and constantly maintained, or they can result in bacterial and fungal illnesses. Horses with Chronic Progressive Lymphedema (CPL) suffer from substantial lower-leg swelling as a result of increased thickness of the skin on their legs, as well as the accumulation of lymph fluid that builds up in the legs. There is currently no treatment for this illness, and the swelling will continue to increase throughout the horse’s life.
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Gypsy Vanners require a large amount of grooming to ensure that they remain healthy and comfortable throughout their lives. They require specific care because of their long manes and tails, which are especially important if horses are kept in muddy situations. Many horse owners choose to braid their horses’ manes in order to assist avoid tangles and to keep the manes looking tidy. The same is true for tails; Gypsy Vanner owners frequently employ mud knots and tail braids to keep their dogs’ hair tidy and to avoid breaking.

If the horse’s lower legs are white, the feathers are more likely to become soiled or discolored, making preparation for shows more difficult to do.


  • Suitable for both youngsters and adults
  • Has a wonderful disposition
  • Is simple to teach
  • Grooming is more time-consuming and labor-intensive. It can be too expensive to purchase

Champion and Celebrity Gypsy Vanner Horses

When the Gypsy King was imported into the United States in 1998, he was already a well-known stallion. It is possible that you have seen him in calendars, publications, and articles about the breed since he has been extensively photographed and documented. He was the idea for a Breyer model horse that bears his name, which was created in his honor.

Is the Gypsy Vanner Horse Right for You?

The Gypsy Vanner appears to be a good horse for just about everyone, since he is docile, easy to teach, and has a lovely disposition. The importance of being realistic about the responsibilities of owning one of these horses cannot be overstated. You should be prepared to carefully manage your horse’s food as well as to provide comprehensive, regular grooming that goes above and beyond the ordinary upkeep required by an average riding horse. In addition to being great for families, Gypsies are also great for both expert and new riders.

In part because of their modest heights, Gypsy Vanners are an excellent alternative for folks who have health concerns or pain that makes mounting and dismounting bigger horses challenging.

How to Adopt or Buy a Gypsy Vanner

Gypsy Vanners are growing increasingly popular in the United States, and it is getting simpler to locate these horses. Due to the high cost of purchasing these horses, which may sometimes reach $10,000 or more per animal, they are unlikely to find up in rescue circumstances where you might potentially acquire one. If you wish to add a Gypsy Vanner to your horse, your best bet is to find a reputable breeder or a private seller in your region who is willing to sell you one.

More Horse Breeds

If you’re looking for comparable breeds, take a look at these: You may also browse through all of our other horsebreed profiles if you want something else.

Gypsy Vanner Breed

Gypsy Vanner horses are a colorful and remarkable breed of horse that may be traced back to the eccentric Gypsy travelers of England. These robust caravan horses were not only beautiful to look at, but they were also an important element of the artistic expression that the Gypsy travelers presented. They were revered as a sign of power and strength among the Gypsy people for a variety of reasons, including their sturdy, powerful size, flowing manes and tails, and the feathers on their legs and stifles.

  1. The Gypsy Vanner was not officially recognized as a breed until the late twentieth century.
  2. This magnificent horse was created using powerful bloodlines and several characteristics of the Shire, Clydesdale, Dales Pony, and the Friesian horses, which are all known to have been used to produce this magnificent horse.
  3. The Gypsy Vanner Horse is a hardy draft horse that stands between 13 and 16 hands in height and is bred for endurance.
  4. According to this definition, the topline should be “level,” with its natural aligned curve from wither to tail head.
  5. The muscling is well distributed throughout the body, and the legs are straight and properly aligned with the body.
  6. The shape of the Gypsy Vanner permits them to trot willingly and freely under a burden as well as at will and at liberty.
  7. The Gypsy Vanner Horse’s most distinguishing visual characteristic is the profusion of hair and “feathers,” which should be straight and smooth in appearance.
  8. Gypsy dogs are a very adaptable breed that are well-known for their soundness and sanity.
  9. Gypsy horses are easily trainable for practically any discipline due to their remarkable temperament of friendliness, generous efforts, and devoted character.
  10. The Gypsy Vanner Horse Society was created in 1996 to serve as a registration for the breed when the first Gypsy Vanner horses arrived in North America in 1996.
  11. After purchasing Uncle Si, Jennifer Dymond and her family realized right away that they had acquired a rare breed of dog.

The Hairy Horse Company, which is based in Bedford, Iowa, provides a variety of sizes and colors, and has recently increased its majestic herd to include one stallion horse, geldings, mares, and fillies.

Photograph courtesy of Jennifer Dymond, of the Hairy Horse Council, and Carla Clark, of the Iowa Horse Council, who is the breed coordination coordinator.

The Gorgeous Gypsy Vanner Horse

Jess Hallas-Kilcoyne contributed to this article. The Gypsy Vanner Horse appears to be something out of a mythical world, such as a legendary beast or a magical horse from a fairy tale brought to life. Due to its great power and presence, rendered unintimidating by the tenderness of its character, and equipped with an abundance of flowing mane and tail to draw new fans everywhere it travels, this breed has become a popular attraction for people all over the world. Despite being a relatively young breed in North America, the Gypsy Vanner’s history is as bit as romantic as its appearance.

Horses for this purpose needed to be physically strong enough to pull the heavy wagons, known as “vardos,” that served as portable homes, tough enough to withstand life on the road without shelter or food beyond whatever patches of grass were available, and calm enough in their demeanor that they could be handled safely even by small children.

  1. Photograph courtesy of Gypsy Gold and Gabrielle Boiselle.
  2. It was not until an American couple traveling through England came upon a horse that grabbed their hearts and souls that the world became aware of the Romani people’s selective breeding program, which is still in operation today, more than half a century after it was established.
  3. They decided to investigate further and found the horse.
  4. After walking up to the fence, Dennis recalls that “the horse came racing over to us, and we quickly fell in love.” In fact, the Thompsons were inspired to contact the farmer and enquire about the horse as a result of their experience.
  5. While travelling through the English countryside in 1995, Dennis and Cindy Thompson chance to spot a stunning black and white horse in a faraway field.
  6. Photograph courtesy of Mark J.
  7. Gypsy Gold provided the image.

In the 10 days we were in Appleby, we looked at every horse that was purchased or sold by the Gypsies.

During their investigation, they discovered that the horses had been deliberately bred to conform to the Romani notion of the ideal caravan horse.

The remaining 80%, referred known as “trade horses,” were raised for export to continental Europe or for use as labor horses in the United States.

Due to the fact that the British Gypsies are particularly protective of their selectively bred horses, in which they take great pleasure, the outside world was largely ignorant of the existence of the breed for many years.

When Cindy and her colleagues were conducting their study, they came across a reference to “the typical Gypsy vanner” in a novel written by English author Edward Hart called The Coloured Horse and Pony.

Dennis, on the other hand, was not convinced by the name Gypsy Vanner Horse, despite Cindy’s enthusiasm for it.

Eventually, they settled on the term “Caucasian.” Julia and Dan O’Neill of OnceUponA Farm in Picton, Ontario, were responsible for bringing the country’s first registered Gypsy Vanner horse into the country.

Photo courtesy of OnceUponA Farm “I had a hard time with ‘Gypsy,’ because the word can be used as a cultural slur,” says Dennis.

With the name of the breed agreed upon, the Gypsy Vanner Horse Society (GVHS) was established in 1996.

Less than six months later, the fillies were followed by a stallion, the very same stallion that had caught Cindy’s eye from a field in the distance.

The following year, he was joined by a second stallion, who was given the name The Gypsy King, and who would eventually become the breed’s most famous sire in North America.

Together, Cushti Bok and The Gypsy King became the breed’s first two foundation sires in North America, embodying the goals of the GVHS which were:

  • To produce a breed that has the appearance that the Gypsies had in mind
  • When feasible, DNA verification is used to confirm the breed with the genetics that produced the appearance. Establishing the breed with the sense of prestige and pride that Gypsies have for their carefully selected horses
  • For the purpose of establishing a breed in accordance with the values that Gypsies place on their selectively bred horses,

Dennis states, “We’ve discovered a breed of horse, and we don’t want to change a thing about it.” We should preserve the genetics and appearance that the Gypsies produced for this magnificent horse. That is the ultimate objective.” According to the Gypsy Vanner Horse Breed Standards, the Gypsy Vanner Horse has the overall appearance of “a tiny draft horse,” which is described as “a little draft horse.” The breed is short coupled and deep chested, with a strong neck, well-sloped shoulder, hefty, powerful hips, and well-muscled hindquarters.

With a smaller, “sweeter” head, a thick and flowing mane and tail, and a profusion of feathering covering the backs of its legs from the knee and hock all the way down to the feet, its draft horse-type physique is refined.

As a result, the GVHS deems any and all colors and patterns appropriate.

GVHS Executive Director Kathy Mutti describes her horses as “beautiful, but the reason I chose them was because of their temperament and trainability.” Kathy Mutti owns Wellington County Gypsy Vanner Horses in Elora, Ontario, with her husband Dennis Mutti, and is also the Executive Director of the GVHS.

  1. A superb horse for youngsters, as a family horse, for the first-time horse owner, or for the elder rider,” says the author.
  2. The softness and peacefulness of the Gypsy Vanner’s character make it a wonderful horse for children and families to ride.
  3. “The mentality of the breed is that they are willing to try everything,” explains Julia O’Neill, who, with her husband, Dan, owns and raises Gypsy Vanners at their OnceUponA Farm in Picton, Ontario.
  4. They might not have the ideal jumping body, but they’re putting up enough effort to achieve a high level of performance regardless of their physical limitations.

People display them and do well in both English and Western competitions, and I know of one lady who competed with her Gypsy Vanner in endurance competitions.” Long silky mane, thick flowing tail, and an abundance of feathers on the lower legs are together known to as “hair,” and are regarded to be a distinguishing and defining feature of the Gypsy Vanner.

  1. Barrett.
  2. However, there’s no doubting that the Gypsy Vanner’s gorgeous look is often what draws people to them in the first place.
  3. “I discovered more photographs and gradually learnt more about the breed,” she explains.
  4. “I ripped photographs out of the magazine and hung them on the wall, but I had no intention of purchasing any of them,” Julia explains.
  5. It crossed my mind that I would never possess one, but I could appreciate them.” Julia and Dan took a trip to Kentucky in 2001, where they were able to see Gypsy Vanner Horses for the first time in their lives.
  6. Gypsy Gold provided the photograph.
  7. “It was simply the most charming thing,” Julia says.
  8. Nimue developed into the foundation mare of the O’Neill’s Gypsy Vanner breeding program at their OnceUponA Farm in Picton, Ontario.
  9. It didn’t take long before the breed began to gain popularity among horse aficionados in Ontario.
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‘We were all driving Gypsy Vanners, and we kept running into each other at various events.’ Our group of friends kept suggesting, “We should create a club.” The Canadian Gypsy Vanner Horse Club was established in 2007 as a result of Julia and Dan’s collaboration with Terry and Debra Elder, Sherry Rupke, and Jackie Sherring, who were also founder members (CGVHC).

  1. Our club’s objective and goal is to promote the Gypsy Vanner Horse Society, have fun while doing so, and to uphold and support the Society as a whole, as Julia says.
  2. This collaboration resulted in the greatest of these initiatives to date in 2011, when Dan, Terry Elder, and Jim Wilson, a fellow Gypsy Vanner lover and member of the CGVHC, came together to plan an event they dubbed Vanner Fair.
  3. Stillwater Farm provided the photograph taken by Mark J.
  4. The first Vanner Fair, held at Wilson’s DeerFields Stables just outside of Toronto, was a one-day expo dedicated to the Gypsy Vanner breed, with judged halter and riding events, breed demonstrations, and shopping available to the general public.

According to Dan, “we believed that if 100 people attended, it would be fantastic.” Ultimately, approximately 5000 people attended the event, many of them were so eager to attend that they parked their cars along the sides of roads for kilometers in either direction and walked the rest of the way.

  1. However, due to the amount of labor necessary to put on such an event, it was not feasible to make it an annual occurrence in the first place.
  2. With more than 60 Gypsy Vanners traveling from all around Canada and the United States to participate, as well as the new inclusion of an Elite Sales Auction, it is expected to be even more successful than the previous year’s event.
  3. Today, approximately ten percent of the nearly 3100 registered Gypsy Vanner Horses are in Canada, and the number of Gypsy Vanners owned by Canadians is increasing.
  4. “We came to the conclusion that it was something that needed to be done,” Dan adds.
  5. “All we hope is that things continue in the same direction.” When you take into consideration all that the Gypsy Vanner Horse has going for it, a bright future for the breed appears to be a virtual certainty.
  6. It is possible to find a number of names for the horses reared by Gypsies in the United Kingdom, such as: the Gypsy Vanner, Gypsy Cow, Gypsy Horse, Gypsy Cob, Irish Cob, and Tinker Horse.

In the words of Dennis Thompson, founder of the Gypsy Vanner Horse Society: “The breed is the same no matter what you call it.” “However, the Gypsy Vanner Horse was the first name ever used to distinguish horses that had been selectively bred by Gypsies.” Gypsy-bred horses are presently registered with four distinct organizations in North America: the Gypsy Vanner Horse Society (GVHS), the Gypsy Cob and Drum Horse Association (GCDHA), the Gypsy Horse Association (GHA), and the Gypsy Horse Registry of America (GHRA).

As a result, even though many of the horses in these registrations are of a similar type and are descended from the same bloodlines, each registry has a somewhat different purpose for the horses in their registry.

According to Dennis, “There are some magnificent horses being dubbed Gypsy Cobs that I would love to have in the Gypsy Vanner Horse Society.” Main image courtesy of Custom Chrome Sporthorses – Horse Feathers; secondary image courtesy of Rebecca McKeever Aiden, who is owned by Custom Chrome Sporthorses, is a Gypsy Cob stallion who is registered with the Traditional Gypsy Cob Association, which is based in the United Kingdom.

Is It Time For The Gypsy Vanner Horse To Find A New Moniker?

The Gypsy Vanner horse has recently become the topic of heated internet controversy, as the sensitivity of the name “Gypsy” comes under scrutiny in the wake of recent cultural events. However, getting to the root of the name—and whether it is harmful or beneficial to the individuals it describes—is a difficult task that is complicated by the incredible history that surrounds it. Furthermore, the fact that the name “Gypsy Vanner” was popularized—if not truly originated—in the United States adds to the complexity of the situation.

  1. The breed was first imported to the United States in the mid-1990s.
  2. Image courtesy of iStock Photo It is necessary to disentangle some of the realities of Romany and Traveler culture in order to comprehend the origins of the controversy.
  3. This is despite the fact that the latter are indigenous nomadic tribes, and the rest are also nomadic peoples with roots in a whole different continent.
  4. As a result, despite evidence of Romany people living in Great Britain as far back as the 16th century, “Roma” was only recently included as an ethnicity choice on the United Kingdom census, marking the first time that the term has been included.

As a result of a hasty assumption that the dark-skinned and -haired Roma people must have moved from North Africa, the word “Gypsy” was coined as a contraction of the term “Egyptian.” Their origins are more likely to have been in northern India and the nomadic Banjara, whose culture has been passed down through generations, intermingling with influences from the several nations in which they halted along their journey.

  1. For most of the last millennium, Romany people have been exiled on a number of occasions, frequently as a result of the church’s disapproval of their religious traditions.
  2. The persecution of persons who fell under the “Gypsy” label has continued unabated into the twenty-first century as well.
  3. Some people, however, find it difficult to assimilate into local communities because of the numerous stereotypes that exist towards Roma and Traveler people, who are frequently characterized as petty thieves—hence the expression “to be gypped” by someone.
  4. Many others, however, consider reclaiming the word to be a source of pride.
  5. People find the term ‘Gypsy’ objectionable, and to be honest, it’s typically non-Gypsy people who take offense,” explains Phoebe Buckley, a British five-star event rider who competes in the Olympics.
  6. However, while Buckley and Tindall were able to make light of the newspapers, it was the harsh remarks made on internet forums that caused the most consternation.
  7. It is critical for Buckley that the continued predicament of the Gypsy and Traveler communities be recognized and handled, as well as that their achievements and culture be honored, and he sees acknowledgment as having two purposes.

Despite the fact that Buckley’s experience in the horse industry has seen her ride a completely different breed of horse, she considers the success of the unusual feathered cobs to be a special source of satisfaction.

In many cases, the raising and sale of high-quality corn is a multigenerational family tradition.

More than anything else, the horse needed to be peaceful, reasonable, and stoic, whether it was being passed by fast-moving traffic or having to put up with the family’s small children, who would be expected to assist with horse care and would consider the horse an enlarged playmate.

They are bred for show and are available for breeding.

During the annual Appleby Horse Fair in Cumbria, England, spectators congregate by the River Eden to witness horses being cleaned before to selling.

It usually takes place during the first week of June and brings around 10,000 Gypsies and Travelers, with an additional three times as many onlookers.

Horse breeding is ingrained in Romany and Traveler communities, but rather than through a formal studbook, the communities’ knowledge of bloodlines was passed down from generation to generation through word of mouth, often at sprawling horse fairs that serve as important cultural gathering places that go far beyond the appreciation of high-quality horseflesh.

  1. It was in 1996 that the cobs’ American saga really began, a year after they were allegedly “found” by Dennis Thompson and his late wife, Cindy, of Ocala, Florida, while on a trip to the United Kingdom.
  2. They were successful.
  3. Thompson said that they were stumped as to what to call the little piebald horses that they had imported.
  4. Cindy discovered a little caption in a book of Edward Hart’s “The Coloured Horse and Pony,” which served as the idea for the name of the company.

Afterward, Dennis says, he “said something like ‘nice name’ and then woke up every night for the next two years thinking about it.” “I asked myself, ‘Am I really adding dignity to the table by using a phrase that may be interpreted as a slur?'” To name the breed, the Thompsons turned to their friends in the Romany and Traveler communities, according to Dennis, who says the consensus was unanimous in favor of calling it the Gypsy Vanner rather than a Romany horse, which would have negated the input and influence of Traveler cultures beyond the Roma people.

The only term he could think of that honored everyone was “honor,” he explains.

“It would be dreadful if the Romany Gypsy relationship with the colorful cob were to be removed,” Buckley expresses concern.

A lot of Gypsies, I believe, attempt to avoid using the term because they are afraid of being criticized, yet removing it would diminish the positive aspects of our group.

What a pity it would be if we lost something that makes people happy to be Romany Gypsy once more.” A Romany horseman and woman from Sussex, England, Harry Pannell, who is the youngest generation in a long line of Romany horsemen and ladies, has a different perspective.

The fact that it originated as an ethnic misnomer, however, complicates matters, as he points out.

However, there are a large number of individuals of comparable origin to my own who are probably unaware of what occurred throughout the Middle Ages.

Roma activist Cristiana Grigore founded the Roma People’s Project at Columbia University in New York City, which aims to rebuild the narrative around Roma and Traveler people.

While working in mainstream media and fashion, she noticed that bohemian tendencies were often packaged and sold as Gypsy style, inferring a freedom of spirit that was demeaning to the quest for greater representation.

“And they exclaim, ‘Ah, beautiful clothes and parties!'” says the author.

We make every effort not to embarrass or criticize people who use the word without realizing the serious implications of doing so.

How you go about it matters: are you doing it in a way that is respectful and empowering towards that culture, or are you doing it in a way that strips those people of their voice and power?” While there is still disagreement over the proper use of the term “Gypsy Vanner,” one thing is certain: the debate provides a rare opportunity for Romany and Traveler voices to be heard and to advance a narrative of re-education that acknowledges the complexities of both heritage and modern-day discrimination in the United States.

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