The Gypsy Vanner Horse
One of the most mysterious and stunning horse breeds of all time is the Gypsy Vanner Horse. Have you heard of these beauties? We can't wait to introduce you to them!
Hello, Lowcountry! We hope this blog finds you healthy and happy! Things are going well on our trails. Our fantastic guides are ready to lead you on an exciting adventure with our beautiful horses. We are currently offering our historic trail rides. These rides are the perfect choice to enjoy the beautiful local landscape and to learn a little bit about the history of Charleston. We have thee trail rides every day, one at 10 AM, 12 PM, and 2 PM. If you're planning on joining us, please arrive 15 minutes early. If you're a first-time rider or a first time guest on our trails, please visit our FAQ page. If you happen to have any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out to us. Please visit our "Book Your Ride" page on our website to book your next trail ride with us today!
Did you happen to watch The Kentucky Derby after reading our last blog? We hope everyone who did still wore their favorite Derby outfits while enjoying a Mint Julep or two! Our congratulations to Authentic and his trainer Bob Baffert for winning in a surprising and very dramatic turn of events. Authentic pulled right in front of Tiz The Law who won The Belmont Stakes and was favored to win the Derby. We are sure you're just as excited as we are to see who will win The Preakness Stakes on October 3rd!
There are many stunning horse breeds across the globe, a few of which we have talked about in past blogs. What many of our readers might not know is that new breeds are still out there and are still being introduced to the United States. One of the newest breeds that have come to the United States and received almost overnight popularity is the Gypsy Vanner horse. Thanks to Dennis and Cindy Thompson, these stunning horses first immigrated to the United States in 1996, and the Thompson's established The Gypsy Vanner Horse Society. In 2015, there were over 4000 Gypsy Vanner horses registered in the society, and they are still incredibly popular today. From the beginning the society has been dedicated to breeding preservation, learning about the culture that created this selective breed, and staying true to the breed itself. They do so through education, evaluation, and horse registration.
These magical and striking horses have a very interesting story. For years, the Englishman didn't care for horses that weren't a solid color. Horses that had spots or splotches on them were most often found in Ireland and the surrounding areas. These colored horses were very often cast-off in English culture. Thanks to the English the Gypsy culture was introduced to these beauties and instantly fell in love with them. These Gypsies were predominantly found in the British Isles. There is a lot of speculation as to why they decided to selectively breed what would become the Gypsy Vanner. The most popular speculation is that the Gypsy culture wanted a sturdy and strong horse with an amazing temperament that was stunning to look at. After years of careful breeding, that is exactly what they achieved. These beautiful horses and their breeding went undocumented until almost the 1940s. Once WWII arrived, the horses were finally cataloged and traced as a true breed.
These stunning horses are a mix of very impressive horses; the Shire, the Clydesdale, and the Pales. They are cold-blooded horses, which all feather horses are according to the GVHS. They are shorter horses ranging between 12.2 to 16 hands. They are stocky and strong like a Clydesdale and have a draft-type build. They are perfect for riding and driving, and for any level of rider. They are very easy to train and have calm and sweet personalities. They are wonderful with children and for older riders who might have a difficult time getting on and off their horse due to pain and age.
When they came to America, the Gypsy Vanner didn't have an official name. Thanks to the Thompson family, the name they decided upon honored their origins and the skill they were originally bred for. Named for the Gypsies that bred them and the caraVAN that they were bred to pull, the official name of Gypsy Vanner was born. While they were bread to match and pull the stunningly decorated living caravan wagons that the Gypsies once lived and traveled in, the use of these wagons is now just for show and fun. While this way of life may have turned into fun, the beauty and the strength of these horses remain.
The Gypsy Vanner can come in a variety of colors, but they are most often found in skewball, which is a mix of black and white, or piebald, which is a mix of brown and white. When you see a Gypsy Vanner for the first time it is very easy to confuse it with a Palomino or Paint horse, but pay close attention, you'll be able to spot the differences. Gypsy Vanners are known for an abundant amount of hair in their manes and tails. They can have double manes, and they can grow their manes down past their knees. The stunning feathering they are known for begins at their hock and cascades over their powerful hooves.
With such incredible temperament, strength, and ability to train, the Gypsy Vanner sounds like the picture-perfect horse. Honestly, this isn't far from the truth. One of the very few downfalls is the upkeep they require for their stunning manes, coats, and feathering. Extra care has to go into their grooming to keep them safe, healthy, clean, and ready to show. They also come with a high price tag. If you are interested in purchasing a Gypsy Vanner, we encourage you to consider the responsibility and care that comes with these beauties before officially buying one.
Rising in popularity, these horses are being seen more frequently at shows and in competitions. Due to their popularity and price tag, it will be very hard to find one to adopt. The best way to go about owning one is to go through a private breeder. These horses are truly something special. If you haven't seen one in person, make sure to make that a priority. We do not doubt that it will be love at first sight. Until next time, stay safe and stay hopeful everyone!
Middleton Place Team