Gypsy Vanner Horses
The Gypsy Vanner is a horse breed that originated in England and Ireland over 100 years ago. They were selectively bred to create a draft horse that could pull the gypsy caravans. A calm spirit and a wiling gentle attitude were a must as they were often ridden and driven by young gypsy children They were true work horse, needing little food or water during their work times.
The original horses of the Gypsy Vanner breed were breed to be half black and half white. We call these Piebalds today. They were breed to be magnificent show stoppers. There is nothing more breathtaking than watching a Gypsy Vanner hitched to his wagon trotting down a busy street. Each family takes such pride in their horses and they often had spirited competitions to see whose Gypsy stallion reigns supreme.
Standard Gypsy Conformation
The typical Gypsy Vanner stands about 14.3 hands high, and can be most any color now. They are prized for their arched crown back, smaller ears that curve inward, a round and correct heavy chest, thick boned legs with feathers that start at the knee in the front and the hock in the back that tent-like cover the hooves.
This horse should have a very chiseled and refined head with tapering towards the end of the muzzle, and kind, well set eyes. They should have a short back and a very well rounded hindquarter, and a crease down the center of the hindquarter that is called “Apple Butt.” The breed should also have a very wide and thick tail that is not set too high, and it may eventually drag the ground.
Gypsy families were not known for keeping written records due to their transient lifestyle. Most of the history that we have today is the result of the stories handed down from generation to generation.
Major influences in the English breed Gypsy Horses include the Shire, Dales Pony, and the Fells Pony and the Clydesdale. The Fells and Dales are native only to that country and much resemble smaller Friesians with a bit less feathering. In Ireland where more of these horses originated, they used the Shire and the Clydesdale with more influence for refining the horse from the Highland Pony.
If you would like to learn more about the Gypsy Vanner please contact Gypsy MVP. They are one of America’s first Gypsy Vanner breeders. They maintain a very large stock of these horses on several different ranches in Texas. They are known for their kind and gentle preservation of this beautiful breed.