Sunday, January 29, 2012

Breed Spotlight: Gypsy Vanners

An upper level dressage Gypsy.
The Gypsy Vanner is known by a variety of names: Gypsy Cob, Drum Horse, Irish Cob, Irish Tinker Horse, British Heavy Colored Cob. Basically it is all the same breed save for some divisions in height, for example a Drum Horse which must be at least 16 hands (usually crossed with a draft horse of some type). They have become very popular in the US in recent years.

Drum horses were bred to carry kettle drums in
the Queen of England's Band of the Life Guards

Some typical trait of Gypsy Vanners include their abundant hair - they have thick feathering on their legs long and full manes and tails, and typically have a beard. They fall into the small draft category and tend to have a lot of bone, though usually not a lot of height. They are most commonly pinto patterned (I believe the most common color is piebald), but can come in any color, solid included.

Doing what it was bred to do

They're a pretty versatile breed. Originally bred to be a flashy cart horse (hence their knee action), they are also successufully shown in dressage, jumping, eventing and western. One of their greatest traits is their gentle, curious and sweet natures.

The prettiest buckskin color I've ever seen.
A western Gypsy - they exist!

They can make some very cute jumpers!

A gorgeous palomino stallion
Eventing a Gypsy is definitely do-able.
I really have enjoyed working with my two Gypsies (technically Gypsy Drum Horses), Katy and Colton. They really are neat horses!


  1. I know! Isn't that the most stunning color?

  2. I use to want one so bad when I was younger. I guess I grew out of it some since I am freakishly tall and need a freakishly tall horse but they are still super cute.

  3. I love Gypsy Vanners. They are adorable :)

  4. They're gorgeous! I wouldn't fancy grooming them though!

  5. So cute, but keeping them tidy would be a nightmare. I already have one white horse that wants to be not-white... I couldn't imagine him with feathers and miles of mane. They sure are pretty though!