Horse and Carriages – The Gypsy Way.
This small draft horse traces its roots to the Romanys, who had no need for the larger drafts. For almost 100 years the Romany people, or Gypsies, have bred the cob to pull their traditional carts and “mobile homes” throughout the country lanes of Ireland and England. And although many of the “Travelers” – as the ones who move about the country are called – have changed to more modern conveyances, there are still those who cling to the traditional horse drawn carriages to travel.
Even though many people of the Romany heritage no longer travel, they continue to breed these colorful horses as a way of keeping tradition alive. As long ago the modern Gypsy’s wealth is still, in a large part, measured by the size and quality of his horse herd.
Description and Conformation
The Gypsy Cob has no one specific color. The most common are pinto patterned, piebald, and skewbald. They are small, in that they traditionally stand 13 to 15.2 hands (52 to 60.8 in., or 132 to 154 cm.) at the shoulder. They are compact, yet sturdy and durable. Their stamina allows them to pull a loaded “living wagon”, at a steady trot, all day long.
In order to be classified as a traditional Gypsy horse, they must have an abundance of hair and feathering. The feathering starts at the knee and grows all over the bottom half of the leg to the hoof.
The Gypsy Cob has been bred for a particular type for years, but can trace their ancestral roots back to Clydesdales, Shires, Friesians, and Irish Drafts as well a Connemara, Dales, and Fell ponies. This horse is typically known to be very sound and sane, a faithful companion, and to possess incredible versatility.
Gypsy Vanners are also quite popular where they can be found, as are Shire horses. These horses were all bred to pull and to drag rather than to ride, but this may not always have been the case. Percherons, for example, are thought to be the modern descendants of the destriers that carried knights to war during the Middle Ages.
A Gypsy Vanners horse has many advantages when you are thinking about riding. Their large size can make their movement particularly smooth, and their gentle and docile temperament make them a real winner when it comes to how well they handle new riders. Do remember that you might need to do some leg stretches if you are planning for a long session in the saddle; their increased girth is going to take some getting used to. If you are looking to ride your Gypsy horse , always make sure that you do a wither tracing before you purchase a saddle. Too many people end up with a saddle that pinches or is otherwise uncomfortable for both horse and rider otherwise.
When you are looking at riding Gypsy horse horses, you may be wondering what breeds are available. As mentioned above, as long as they have been trained to it, draft horses can make great riding horses
Because the Gypsy Horse lived and worked closely with the entire Gypsy family, their lifestyle could not tolerate animals that may endanger lives or property, therefore any ill-tempered horse was removed immediately. The result of culling for disposition has led to the Gypsy Horse being extremely gentle and one of the most docile horses in the world. Gypsy children are often found crawling over and around the Gypsy Vanners. In addition, with the nomadic nature of the Gypsy peoples, their horses had to be adaptable to varying climates, terrains and living conditions so it is extremely sound and easy to maintain.