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Gypsy Vanner horse: characteristics and origins

Gypsy Vanner horse: characteristics and origins


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Not everyone knows the horse Gypsy Vanner with the name of Gypsy Vanner, it is more often referred to as Tinker or Irish Cob but it is always the same animal, in cold blood, originally from Great Britain. It is not very tall, does not exceed 160 centimeters at the withers, but has a splendid dappled coat which makes it very easily recognizable as well as the presence of a thick hair on the hooves and slightly wavy hair. This horse deserves to be told, not only because it is beautiful but also because it is particularly useful especially as draft horse or from saddle.

Gypsy Vanner horse: origins

The name we are using here betrays the origins of the breed which was in fact created by the Gypsies about a century ago between the territory of Ireland and that of England when they had the need to have a quadruped that was resistant and strong and that could work at a good pace without too much complaining. Even the colored hair is an element strongly desired by the breeders to combine them with vardoes and also to be used by Roma children.

The mix of breeds that make up this breed has not been officially declared but is supposed to be the following: Dales pony, Fell, Welsh cob, Share, Clydesdale. The Gypsies they managed to get the animal with the characteristics they wanted because in fact the Gipsy Vanner has a very docile character and a decidedly robust and strong physique.

There is a bit of mystery around this horse because only its creators guard the mix of breeds that form it, the Gypsies jealously guard it and hand it down, thus making this breed highly sought after but at the same time a little marginalized in respect. to the others. At the bureaucratic level we can find documents in 1996 with the first genealogical association and therefore the first official stud-book of this breed: Irish Cob Society.

In the same year, the first breed registry in the United States was created by importing the first two fillies to include one of the most spectacular breeds in the world but little known and very little widespread. We have to wait for the 2004 to see the horse Gypsy Vanner in the American dressage program, with excellent results right from the start.

Gypsy Vanner horse: characteristics

We have already understood that the peculiarity of this breed is the coat but also its body has some important aspects to describe. In general we can say that it seems to have been invented to capture attention. It has a very flowing tail and mane and the hair also on the hoof, it has a very good character but active and intelligent, and it seems really born to work since even subjected to enormous efforts it never complains and never backs down. Depending on the size we can divide the breed of into three categories,

  • Mini Vanner: up to 142 cm at the withers
  • Classic Vanner: from 143 to 155 cm at the withers
  • Grand Vanner: over 155 cm at the withers

As for the appearance, it has a head with a convex profile and a massive neck, powerful shoulders and a compact and short body, but tight, even in the limbs. Although not long-limbed, it is a elegant animal and a harmonious physique, with an important muscle mass.

Gypsy Vanner horse: attitudes and use

Selected for the light shot and the medium shot, this horse is also used for the saddle and, in more recent times, we also find it lend itself to type uses tourist as well as for the dressage. His appearance is also making him a career because he is often portrayed in photography within breathtaking views. If today we find it in driving and transport sports competitions, often also in events both in English and Western, at one time the gypsies created it to make it work in the transportation of theirs typical things in long and sometimes inaccessible routes

Gypsy Vanner horse: cloak

We finally come to the coat of this animal which is a mix of colors and patterns so varied and beautiful as to seem studied at a table. There is no predominant color, but there may be some solid color specimens, which typically are the morello, the sorrel, the bay, the palomino, the gray and the roan. Very often, however, the horse has a variegated coat with black, chestnut, bay or gray spots on a white coat. In this we talk about "colored" Gipsy Vanner while horses of this breed that have white patches are called "splashed". If we want a reference with which to describe the various cloaks, we use the British vocabulary, which makes the following distinction:

  • Piebald: for the black and white coat
  • Skewbald: for the red and white, brown and white or tricolor coat
  • Odd colored: for all single color coats and for all other colors

Gypsy Vanner horse: breeding

Today this breed is also bred in Italy even if it has its origins much further north of our continent. Modern breeding often starts from mating pure selected stallions and Friesian mares who take 11 months to give birth to their unborn child. The young are always in contact with humans and when weaning begins they receive feed designed for the various stages of growth. Then it is time for training, which must be preceded by continuous human contact to ensure the animal trust. We start with some basic notions and then we specialize but focusing on a road that leads to being prepared for work in the fields and to be a good saddle, rope and walking horse.

You may also be interested in our related article on all horse breeds with links to articles dedicated to each breed.


Video: Gypsy Horses (May 2022).


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