Horse Isle 3: Big Book of Breeds
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Big Book of Breeds
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[ INDEX ] Equine Type: Horse Breed: Grand Gypsy Vanner (Grand GV)   [ PREV ] [ NEXT ]
The Gypsy Vanner (also known as 'Irish Cob,' 'Gypsy Cob,' 'Gypsy Tinker,' and 'Gypsy Horse') is a cob breed which was created by the Romani people of England and Ireland after World War II, in order to serve as the ultimate horse for pulling their caravans.

Many Irish and British horse breeds were carefully crossbred by the Romani for the creation of the Gypsy Vanner. Among these breeds were Irish Draughts, Connemaras, Irish Hunters, Kerry Bog Ponies, Connemara Ponies, Clydesdales, Shires, Dales Ponies, Fell Ponies, Welsh Cobs, and Friesians, to name a few. The most interesting addition to this mix was spotted Shire horses, which were out of fashion, and, therefore, cheap. The spotted Shire horses contributed their pinto patterns to the Gypsy Vanner breed. Today, pure spotted Shire horses don't exist anymore, but are being re-created using pinto-colored Gypsy Vanners.

Ever since its creation, the Gypsy Vanner had good strength and enough endurance for pulling the heavy caravans over long distances. In addition, Gypsy Vanners had a gentle, social character, a trait which was extremely important because it made them safe for kids. Originally, Gypsy Vanners were larger than they are today, and could be as tall as 16hh to 17hh. However, the maintenance costs of these large horses were very expensive, and therefore the Romani started to breed for shorter Gypsy Horses, which is why most Gypsy Vanners today stand between 13.2hh and 15.2hh.

The Romani people never named the breed that they had created. In fact, the Gypsy Vanner received its name and its official recognition as a breed only in 1996, when the Gypsy Vanner Horse Society was established in North America. The breed was named for its original purpose of pulling caravans (vans. Vanner = a horse that pulls vans.) However, this name never caught up in Ireland and England, where the breed is mostly known as Irish Cob (Ireland) and Gypsy Cob (England).

Today, Gypsy Vanners are primarily used for pulling carts, but some also make good dressage and jumping horses. Another usage of these horses if for the creation of Drum Horses (see the 'Drum Horse' breed for more info.) Most Gypsy Vanners have tobiano or splashed coats, but they can also come in solid coats as well as in leopard ones. Gypsy Vanners can be anywhere between 13hh and 16.2hh, but most of them stand between 13.2hh and 15.2hh.


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