Gypsy vanner, the «gypsy horses»

Gypsy vanner

The origin of the Gypsy Vanner breed, popularly known as «gypsy horses», it dates back to the second half of the XNUMXth century. The British and Irish families of gypsy ethnicity began to change the mules that they used in a traditional way, for horses. Strong horses that were capable of pulling heavy carts and that also thanks to their docility could be ridden bareback and were perfect to be with the whole family.

They are precisely characteristics such as his shooting power or his meek character, what your has made the Gypsy Vanners spread throughout the world.

Let's get to know them a little better!

After World War II, this breed began its expansion I feel used on farms, mainly as a draft horse, but also for other equestrian activities given its versatility.

Although it has received different names throughout its history, the one that has remained and by which it is known today is the one that refers to its origin: Gypsy Vanner or Gypsy Horse.

It is a Very pleasant breed to look at due to its colors and its exuberant volume of mane and tail. Although they may be rather small equines, they are solidly built, with strong bones, large hooves and joints, and a stable disposition. Let's take a closer look at its morphology.

As they are?

The anatomy and muscles of these equines make them capable of pulling heavy carts without getting tired. They have a height that is between 145 cm to 155 at the withers (although they can reach up to 168 cm) and a weight of up to 635 kg, depending on their diet and activity. They are compact horses with a broad chest and a short back. Has about rounded hindquarters and where a fold in the skin that is typical of the breed and that in them is called Butt Apple. They are very well proportioned equines, neither too big nor too wide.

The Gypsy Vanner helmets stand out for being large, something that makes them possess a wide support surface. The neck is strong, with a fine head.

But let's talk about two of the fundamental characteristics of this breed: its coat and its character.

The fur

At first glance, without a doubt what stands out the most and draws attention is the fur. Her silky straight hair is what has led the breed to be considered one of the most beautiful of the world. The ankles are embellished and fully wrapped by hair (called feathers on the legs) rather long that allow the animal to keep warm in the extremities. This was really useful in the parts of Scotland, Ireland and England where it originates from where the winters are cold. The mane and tail are long, the latter touching the ground, and with a fluid fall.

La predominant layer of this breed is the pint or pia, in black and white colors. Even if can have a wide variety of colors such as roans or chestnut trees, although always in combination with pinto fur.


Source: youtube

The character

His character is extremely docile for what he is ideal to be ridden by all kinds of inexperienced riders, especially for children. They are tremendously sociable becoming compared to dogs. All the characteristics of its character together with its gentleness and versatility in the functions or tasks that it can perform, is what has made this breed have great worldwide success.

It must be added, also as a characteristic, that it has been shown by experts, that they are one of the equine breeds that show greater intelligence. This is one of the reasons why a bond of friendship between the animal and its owner, that with other races it is not possible to achieve. They are also called the children's horse for being very meek and noble.


Around 1850 Roma families living in the UK and Ireland they began to use the horses replacing the mules they used to use to tow their caravans. For more than a hundred years, the gypsies dedicated themselves to the Selective breeding of specimens to create a breed of horse that meets your demands and needs. Was in the year 1996 when the so-called «gypsy horses» formed an official breed called Gypsy Vanner.

The goal was to create a unique horse. An animal able to pull his heavy carts throughout the day eating and drinking only small amounts. At the same time, they wanted it to be tame enough to be handled by the younger members of the family. And, if that wasn't enough, that I had a striking aesthetic factor, with a refined head and a coat that will not leave you indifferent. The horse was for these gypsies a symbol of a good status in society, so they put a lot of impetus in the creation of the breed.

Gypsy horse

A curious detail of this breed is that when the gypsies set them off to pull the carts, the horse did not stop until it reached its destination. They could travel a great number of kilometers. It was a horse created for draft, although today it has been adapted to the saddle, becoming a very comfortable riding horse.

The result, without a doubt, was a complete success. Now, how did they get it? Various investigations into the origins of the breed have revealed that they received influence of the Shire horse and the Clydesdales. However, doubts remain, since the gypsies kept secret the specimens that they used for the breeding and elaboration of the breed they wanted to achieve.

In 1996 The Gypsy Vanner Horse Society was founded, along with the first stud book of the breed.

Currently, the breed is more and more widespread and more and more appreciated. They are widely used for exhibition due to the impressive aesthetics that we have been talking about.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I did writing it.

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