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Gypsy Vanner horse

Gypsy Vanner horse
Gypsy Vanner mare with foal
Country of origin: Ireland
Horse (Equus ferus caballus)

The Gypsy Vanner (USA), also known as a Gypsy Horse, Gypsy Cob (USA and UK), Coloured Cob (UK), Irish Cob, or "Tinker Horse", is a breed of horse. Members of the breed are usually of tobiano coloring and have many draft characteristics, including heavy bone and abundant feathering on the legs. There is no exact known history of the Gypsy Cob. It is believed that the Gypsy Cobs are descended from a combination of Shires, Clydesdales, Friesians, and Dales Ponies with their origins in the United Kingdom and Ireland.[1]



Feather on the lower legs.

There is no set color standard for Gypsy Cobs, although the two most common are piebald and skewbald, two variations of pinto coloring. The typical Gypsy Cob is known for an abundance of hair and "feather" (long hair starting at the cannon bone and flowing down over the hooves).

The build is powerful and compact, with a short neck and back. The Gypsy Cob is heavy boned, the typical horse measuring between 14 and 17 hands. There is no height limit in the registry. The cannon circumference can range from 8" to 12". The chest is broad with well sprung ribs, the hips are heavy, they have short backs, strong shoulders, and the withers are rounded. The hair should be straight and silky, kinky hair is a fault. Their legs should have heavy bone set on large hooves, their hind legs should not be too straight. Gypsy Cobs must also have excellent endurance, and be able to go long distances without tiring.

They are also known as Gypsy Horses or Irish Tinkers. A related type is the Drum Horse which is a Gypsy Cob crossed with any type of draft horse (most commonly Clydesdales or Shires).

Gypsy Horses are very versatile, they can be used for riding English style, Western style, as well as for driving. They are known for their sweet, loving nature and to keep this strong in their breeding, the Gypsies who originally bred them would sell horses who didn't display this nature.

Most Gypsy Cobs are piebald in color, but some, such as this horse, are skewbald.


The Gypsy Cob was bred to be a wagon horse.[2] These horses were bred by the Romany, and pulled wagons or "caravans" known as Vardos, which is a type of covered wagon that people lived in.[2] They were also used as riding horses for children. Today, the Gypsy Cob is no longer used for pulling Vardos, but it is still looked upon as a symbol of power and strength among the Romany[2]

Up until the late 20th century, the Gypsy Cob was not a recognized breed. Not much is known about the bloodlines of Gypsy Cobs because pedigrees were usually kept secret and only family members knew the details.[3] However, as the interest in the breed grew, several breed registries developed. The first registered horses were imported to North America in November 1996. There are three different registry classifications for the breed, based on height. If the horse is under 14 hands, it is considered to be a "mini Gypsy". If the horse is 14-15.2 hands high, it is known as a "classic Gypsy", and if the breed is 15.2 or taller, it is known as a "grand Gypsy".[4] In 2004, the breed became recognized by the United States Dressage Federation All Breeds Program, and can win breed-specific awards whenever it wins a dressage event or any event sponsored by the USDF.[3]


  1. Brief History of the Gypsy Vanner
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 [1]"Gypsy Horse History"
  3. 3.0 3.1 [2] "History"
  4. [3] "GHSwest.com - History"]

External links


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