Monday, August 19, 2013

The Gypsy Vanner Horse

 Gypsies love color and elegance, and wanted a flashy horse that resembled a small Shire with a more feather and a sweeter head. After the second World War, they set to work to create the desired breed, selectively breeding horses that included Shire, Clydesdale, Dale Pony, and Friesian blood in their veins. Sonny Mays, one of the foundation stallions, produced many pinto patterned horses, which were uncommon in the United Kingdom just after World War II. Gypsies say that he is responsible for most colored horses on the UK today. Black horses, namely Friesians, also played a major role in creating the breed, resulting in many black and white foals.

Gypsy Vanners are rather small horses, coming complete with long manes,
tails, and feathering. credit
The magical-looking breed remained hidden from most of the world until 1992, when two Americans---Dennis and Cindy Thomson---discovered one standing in a field on a trip to Europe. The two American's curiosity was piqued. Later, they were invited by the owner of the stallion to attend Appleby, a ten day Gypsy horse fair. Over the next ten days, they took note of every Gypsy breeding and selling Gypsy Vanners, keeping their contact information for later reference. As days past, their curiosity for the small caravan horse blossomed into a passion.

 On November 24, 1996, after years of painstaking research, the couple founded the Gypsy Vanner Horse Society. From then on, interest in the breed only grew. Today there are 3,036 registered horses.

 Standing only 13.2 to 15.2 hands high, Vanners resemble small Shires, with rounded hindquarters; short, sturdy necks; and long feathering starting at the knee, which not only looks beautiful but also serves the purpose of protecting the legs from the elements. Their manes and tails are long, flowing.

 Gypsy Vanners were originally used as caravan horses, so they move in a fast, snappy trot. Their canter is graceful and bounding.

 Vanners usually come into pinto patterns, such as piebald, which is black and white; skewbald, a mixture of of brown, red, and white; and blagdon, any solid color with splashes of white underneath. very rarely, a Vanner will come out with out any spots at all. 

 Vanners are very versatile creatures. They will do anything for their master, including carriage driving, combined driving, pleasure riding, trail riding, hunting, and jumping. Because they are intelligent, affectionate, and calm, they make excellent therapy horses.

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