Thesebeautiful horsesareknown by several names: Gypsy Cob, Gypsy Vanner, Gypsy Horse, or Irish Tinker. These wonderful, stout horses originated in England and Ireland, developed by the nomadic Romani or Gypsy people. Their nomadic lifestyle, traveling the English countryside in their ornately decorated vardos, demanded a very special horse. The Romani wanted a horse sturdy and strong enough to pull the family vardo wagon, yet small enough to work with, easy to keep, and gentle enough for the children to care for and play with. What they developed with selective breeding over the years is the horse before you today; the Gypsy horse. They are strong, kind, and willing as well as are hardy, sound, and easy keepers. With their long, flowing manes, lush feather, and abundant tails, the Gypsy invokes images of princess fairy tales and magical forests. Once you look into their gentle and knowing eyes you are hooked. Never before has a breed so touched the human heart and inspired such passion and imagination. This wonderful, unique breed was developed by crossing breeds such as the Shire and Clydesdale, and the Fells and Dales ponies, with an occasional crossing to a pacing or high- stepping horse for fancy action. By the early 1970’s a breed type with good bone and a flashy appearance but smaller stature was becoming established. A quality and standard was reached and these horses have
been selectively bred to meet that standard of excellence, producing some magnificent foundation stock. Coming from a culture that traditionally has not kept written records, the best bloodlines were all kept and recorded only in memory. Many of these horses without specific names, other horses with names like the Lob Eared Horse, the Horseshoe Mare, Syd’s Good Stallion, the Roadsweeper and the Kent Horse being considered some of the best of the breed. Generations of breeding have been handed down father to son without the aid of accepted means of documentation. Today manyof the foundationbloodlines can be verified by DNA testing, thanks to the dedicated work
of individuals involved early in the breed. Gypsy horses can be between 11 and 16 hands, with the average size being between 14 and 15 hands. Because of their stout and stocky build, a Gypsy can carry a much larger rider or load than lighter breeds of similar height. Most adult Gypsy horses of average size weigh between 1200 and 1500 pounds. Easily recognized, these sturdy horses come in almost every color imaginable. Black and white pinto is the most common color and patterning, but you can find them in red, black, palomino, buckskin, bay, grey and appaloosa too. Other facial, belly, and body hair is common, with many having beards and mustaches.
13 Everything Horses and Livestock® | February 2021 | EHALmagazine.com