The Magical Mystery of "A Gypsy Cob"

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Gypsy Cob
Brief Description


tThe Gypsies will not tolerate a bad tempered horse.  
All animals in a Gypsy family have to be totally safe with all the family. This selective breeding gives us the very placid, even tempered cob that we know.
The Romany people were, and still are dedicated, knowledgeable and skilful in breeding their own preferred type of horse, despite often severe discrimination against their way of life.  Now the Romany has within its own tight knit community produced one of the most popular and sought after horses in the world, and they are rightly, quietly pleased with themselves.
One of the most honest, hard working and gentle breeds of horse in the world today. Bred for generations solely in the UK and Ireland by Romany Gypsy/Traveller folk for their temperament, stamina, strength and versatility.
(Info above thanks to Watermark Gypsy Cobs)

Gypsy Cob

These magnificent horses excel in the following disciplines:

Riding and Driving
Show jumping, hunting
Western or English
Companionship - due to being s
afe, reliable and trustworthy

The Gypsy Horse is not a colour breed it is a body type. Therefore all colours, markings and patterns are acceptable.
A. Piebald: Black & White
B. Skewbald: Red & White, Brown & White, Tri-Colour
C. Odd Coloured: Any other color
D. Blagdon: Solid colour with white splashed up from underneath

No height limits, all sizes have the same standards, all equally acceptable

The Gypsy Vanner is a “people sized” draft horse with heavy bone and broad body, but on a smaller scale then the large draft breeds.


Clean, heavy to medium heavy bone set on medium to large hoof.

A. Front: Set square, muscular with broad flat well developed knees.
B. Rear: Hocks that are broad and clean, a Vanner will have the modified closer hock  set of a pulling horse, but not as close as the modern draft horse.   Set back or sickle hocks are a fault
C. Hoof : large round hoof , open at the heels with well developed frogs. Small contracted hooves are considered a fault.
D. Leg movement, clean, straight, and true, with energy and a distinctive and effortless

The Gypsy Vanner has the look of a small to average size horse with a draft horse type body.
A. Back: Short coupled and in proportion to overall body

B. Withers: Well rounded, not high and fine
C. Chest: A deep, broad chest with well sprung ribs.
D. Shoulder: Sloping shoulder with well developed muscle
E. Hindquarters: Heavy, powerful hips with a well muscled rounded croup,    tail  not set too low.  Slab sided or severely sloping hindquarters are considered a fault.
F. Neck: Strong and of ample length, stallions must display a bold look with a rainbow  (well arched) crest.


deal hair is straight and silky with some wave.
Curl and body being acceptable, kinky hair is a fault.
Abundant feathering should begin at the back of the knees on the front legs  and   at or near the hocks on the rear, extending over the front of the hooves.
Mane, forelock and tail should be ample to profusely abundant, double manes are   common but not required

FEATHER Read more..........


A sweet head is a more refined head than a typical shire might have, set on a strong neck in harmony with the horses overall look.

A. Throat and jaw: Clean throat-latch and jaw.
B. Nose: Flat and tapered, a slightly roman nose is acceptable if it goes with the horses over all look. A heavy roman nose is not acceptable.
C. Eyes: Any color, wide set, bright, alert and kind.
D. Ears: In proportion to the head, not too large.

Gypsy Horses are prized for their gentle dispositions

A Vanner should be alert and willing with traits of intelligence, kindness and docility.

The Gypsy Horse was bred to pull the colorful gypsy caravans of England. The breed is half a century old, and was developed from a combination of Freisian, Clydesdale, Shire, and Dales pony blood. Its docile nature is a result of necessity; gypsy horses have to be patient, gentle, and quiet in order to be safe for pulling caravans and carrying gypsy children, who often ride bareback.


Enchanting,  incredibly versatile and with temperament that is unequalled, they will quickly become your dream of the perfect horse! 


The intelligence and human bond is present within this breed, right from the moment of birth, they are bred to interact with their human family, are willing to please, and are very trainable. Until recently the Gypsy Horse was not a registered breed. The careful and deliberate breeding of these magical horses including all details and history were kept in the collective memory of the families who bred them for  many generations. Gypsy families of the UK have been selectively breeding these horses, with known lineage for many years, although it has not been recorded, but only passed down through the spoken word.
Gypsy families often own many gypsy horses, but there are only a few that possess the potential to reproduce the quality of horse that is most sought for breeding purposes.

(Appleby Fair)

These are the horses kept away from prying eyes and only bought out on special occasions to suitably impress others symbolic of wealth and greatness.

Due to the recent interest and importation of  Gypsy horses, registries are being established in England, Australia, USA and in New Zealand to protect and continue the established bloodlines. 

The Gypsy Horse must possess a certain look and meet a clear conformation standard, ensuring that we may reproduce the same quality horse that the ancient Romany Gypsy dreamed of.

The sheer beauty of the Gypsy Horse will captivate both young and old alike.  Bred from a combination of draft and pony breeds they range in size from 13-15 hands.  They are sturdy horses with heavy bone, flat knees and a short back.  They come in a variety of colors;  bay/white, red/white, black/white, blue and tri-colored.  The most common color is black/white and occasionally you will find a solid color, however, all colors are prized!  Gypsy horses have an abundance of mane and feather.  The feathers should begin at the knee/hock and fully cover the hooves.  Manes and tails are long, thick and flowing.  The Gypsy horse is truly magic in motion, appearing to float as they move!

(Gypsy Vanner demonstration, Western States Horse Expo, 2003
Photo by: Becki Bell

The Gypsy Horse has many wonderful qualities.  Their beauty is immediately noticed, but time spent with a Gypsy Horse and their warm, gregarious nature, is a true blessing! Years of selective breeding has developed a personality that is likely the most gentle and docile in the world.  They are extremely social and eager to participate in your activities and will do so with beauty and style!

Traditionally used for driving, they also excel at dressage, hunting, show jumping and both English  & Western riding. 














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