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!
Every industry has been touched by the effects of the current worldwide pandemic. The world of horses and horse racing has been no stranger to these impacts.
Since the pandemic shut the world down in February and March, every industry has felt those reverberations. Quickly gaining on six months of this strange new world here in the Lowcountry, we too have felt the world shifting. We have changed our policies and what services are available to our riders and guests to keep everyone safe and healthy. When the nation started closing down and canceling major events, it was no surprise that horse tracks and horse races started to shut down and cancel in the footsteps of the NBA, NFL, MLB, and the PGA. Every industry has felt the shock waves of these effects, and all of us at home have felt the tremendous loss these decisions have caused.
Out of the safety of our nation and its people, we recognize the importance of these decisions, but there is plenty still left to mourn. What should come as a surprise is that even though it drastically changed, the industry of horse racing didn't actually shut down. In a recent interview, racing analyst Randy Moss mentioned that even though the world has changed and we've adapted to an online world, the world of horse racing can't be stopped. He said, "You can't water or feed horses through Zoom. They can't get veterinary care through Zoom!" So, those behind the scenes, almost 1500 people to every 1000 horses at each American race track according to Moss, have kept the industry afloat. The needs of these living and breathing creatures depended on quick action, which is exactly what happened. Decisions were made to keep both the industry and the industries employees alive and well.
This doesn't mean that every race and event went on as normal. Once things started to shut down it was almost like a domino effect, and it was felt globally.
One of the largest blows our industry saw was the postponement of the Kentucky Derby. For the first time since 1945, it was pushed back to a different date. After weeks and months of waiting, Churchill Downs announced that the race was going to be moved to September 5th. With this change, the entire set up of the Triple Crown was completely changed. For the first time in its 152 years, the Belmont Stakes started the Triple Crown instead of ending it. On July 20th, the race still went on as planned. Here too, no fans were present. Tiz The Law took first. The hope that the Kentucky Derby would be able to have fans in the stadium was still in the works when the date was pushed back. Many believed that by September, things would be looking much different.
During June and early July of this year, it was announced that 14% of the Derby's capacity would be allowed to attend in person. Social distancing and masks along with frequent hand washing and sanitizing were going to be strongly suggested. Whether masks were going to be enforced or not was never solidified, according to CBS news. This decision and the uncertainty of masks were met with skepticism. As weeks went on and the spike in Coronavirus cases went up drastically, the executives of Churchill Downs decided to change their minds. According to CNN, the race will still be run, but without a crowd. The 14% capacity was still 23,000 fans, and that was too much for comfort. Kentucky governor, Andy Beshear, has praised the decision according to CNN. Although it is a tragic disappointment and loss, it is understood. Following the Kentucky Derby will be the Preakness Stakes on October 3rd, officially finishing the Triple Crown of 2020.
The derby was one of the last big sporting events to see such a change. 2020 has been a huge blow to every industry and sports lovers alike. Throughout Europe, with pandemic numbers looking more promising, they are hopeful for races that were postponed to the fall. Many of these races will be run much later than they ever have been before. They hope that by pushing them back they will be able to amp up even more excitement and be able to have some, even if it is limited, crowd engagement. What has 2020 done to your connection to the world of horses? Comment below - we want to hear from you! Until next time, stay safe and stay hopeful.
Middleton Place Team