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Does the breed of horse that Gypsies created go by multiple names with Gypsy Vanner horse simply being one of them?

One of the most confusing messages about the breed on the Internet is the use of multiple names. Yes it is true that the breed is the same no matter what you call it but that is not what causes the confusion. The name Gypsy Vanner Horse is the first name in the world chosen to recognize a selectively bred horse raised by Gypsies as a breed. It is also the only name that is based on an extensive understanding of Gypsies and the horses they raise. Only 20% of the horses that Gypsies raise are a breed. The other 80% are a type of horse raised by Gypsies like cattle for the European meat market. Gypsies call those horses trade horses, export horses or knacker horses. They look similar to the breed but do not represent the same genetic focus; dollar value or feelings of pride that the minority does which have been selectively bred for over half a century to look a specific way. All other names being used to identify a breed of horse raised by Gypsies came after the name Gypsy Vanner Horse and all were coined without a clear understanding of the breed verses the type. That is why other registries in North America using a different name mandate that all Gypsy bred horses are a breed. As you can see blending names together as though they all mean the same thing is very misleading.
A Gypsy breeder once said to me, These horses are a lot harder to understand than most people think and he was exactly right. 
For a more in depth understanding of the people, the breed and the name Gypsy Vanner Horse see,
 Click Here to read more info:  ALL IN A NAME... VANNER


What can you do with Vanners?

The Gypsy Vanner Horse is surprisingly athletic, smart, willing and retains what it learns very well. In addition the Vanner has an almost unflappable demeanor. The combination of ability, brains and calm make the Vanner a candidate for any number of equestrian pursuits such as driving, English and western riding, jumping, pleasure and trail.
















The number one tandem driving team in North America for 2001 were Jasmine and 
Esmerelda of Bit a Both farm. Jasmin and Esmerelda are two of the original 16 Vanners imported to America by Gypsy Gold.
Breyer model, The Gypsy King is the second Gypsy Vanner Horse stallion to arrive in North America. The renowned trainer and clinician, Lynn Palm?, who first trained The Gypsy King, can attest to his athletic abilities. Appearing as a special guest at the Pin Oak charity horse show in Houston Texas The Gypsy King was ridden by 80+ time USDF champion, Gold medallist and 2008 Olympic contender Pam Fowler Grace?. Pam was so taken by The Gypsy Kings abilities that she told us that she believes he could achieve the Grand Prix level of dressage.

A Vanner named -- Yaven out of Bodi an original mare imported by Gypsy Gold and by The Gypsy King won a cow contest in California. The contest was against other breeds including the Quarter Horse. The Gypsy Vanner Horse is truly an amazingly talented breed. (Bodi and Yaven are owned by Lynn Strauman of GVH West)
History is being written every day that attests to the versatility and talent of the amazing Vanner horses. 


What is the Vanner's temperament like? 

The Gypsy Vanner Horse is often compared to a companion animal because they want to please and be with people so much. We believe that the Vanners innate kindness is attributed to two factors, feathers and environment. 

Concerning the feathers: All feathered horses evolved from a large prehistoric easygoing, hairy horse that lived in the forests of Europe called The Forest Horse. Feathering (hair) is an additive or cumulative gene so to develop the most feathered horse in the world Gypsies had to focus on only feathered horses. It is therefore reasonable to conclude that the feathering holds a genetic key to the Breeds easy going Forest Horse temperament.



Concerning environment: Gypsies maintain very close family ties, often traveling with extended family members for life. It is the children or grandchildren that typically tend to the families prized horses. Those horses are often tethered on 30-ft chains with seat belts around their necks and are moved daily. The children pull the stakes and move the horses 30 feet every day. If a horse is ill tempered and endangers the life of a child it will be culled. That horse may look wonderful but it will wind up at a horse sale like any horse might that has negative issues.

In conclusion it is selective feathered horse genetics and unique social management of those genetics that has created one of the most gentle horse breeds in the world. It is common for a Gypsy mother to tell her children to stop bothering the horses as they crawl over and under them. At Gypsy Gold we call the Gypsy Vanner Horse "A Golden Retriever with hooves" 


Beware: The Gypsy Vanner Horse is the first breed in the history of breeds to establish itself in the age of the Internet. Due to that phenomenon and the popularity of this new and often misunderstood breed culled horses like the one mentioned above and culled horses with reproductive or genetic problems quickly wind up for sale on the Internet. The only way to insulate your self from this is to buy the breed from knowledgeable and reputable breeders of Gypsy Vanner horses or follow very strict guidelines (guidelines to come) when dealing with an importer.

Remember 80% of the horses that Gypsies raise are not a breed, they are a type of horse called trade horses. Until you develop an eye for the breed, the trade horses will fool you. Trade horses look similar to the breed but have other inherited characteristics, which often include smooth legged horse breeds like the Connamara and Irish Draught. Smooth legged genetics will reduce the feathering, change the temperament and often result in a less magical look.

Do Vanners come in all colors?

Yes, the Vanner is not a color breed; it is a body type. Piebald (black and white) and skewbald (brown and white) are the most common but any color is accepted as long as the seven points that define the Vanner breed are present. (See breed standards). 
To achieve unique colors like palomino or appaloosa Gypsies step away from the primary (base) genetics that created the Vanner breed to get the color and then go back to base genetics to replace the feather or other classic traits lost in the process. This explains why you often see a reduction in feathering or other subtle breed trait differences with more exotic colors.

Gypsy Gold's BB King is the first solid coloured Vanner born in North America. He has centerpiece breed genetics and is a tremendous example of the body, feather and head that Gypsies envisioned for their perfect caravan horse. Although black and white is the most common and popular Gypsies love the black Vanner stallions or mares, believing the blacks will produce a black and white baby with a deeper more true and distinctive black color. Some of the most famous sires in the history of the Vanner breed were, or are black. Tyson, The Old Black Horse, The Lob Eared Horse are three examples. A Gypsy will always choose body type over color. 

Are blue eyes OK in the Vanner breed?

Yes blue eyes are fine, Irish Gypsies prefer blue eyes thinking that blue eyed horses will produce more color in their babies. English Gypsies are not as enamored with blue eyes but would never reject a blue eyed horse as long as the rest of the horse fits their vision of the perfect caravan horse.



How big are Vanners?

There are three size classifications for the Vanner. The 'Classic' Vanner is from 13.2 to 15.2 hands tall, the 'Mini' Vanner is under 13.2 hands and the 'Grand' Vanner is 15.2 hands and taller. All sizes should have the look of a small Shire (draft horse) with more feathers (leg hair) and a sweeter (more refined) head.

The Classic Vanner is the centerpiece of the vision that created the breed however in recent years, (10 to 15) the Mini Vanner has become extremely popular with Gypsies. The prices for a prize Mini Vanner can be staggering from one Gypsy to another. We predict that in time the Mini Vanner and the Grand Vanner will become as popular in America as the Classic Vanner is today. The key to the breed no matter what size you embrace is to focus on the seven characteristics (breed standard) that define the Vanners magic as paramount goals in your breeding program.

 Is a 'drum horse' just a bigger Vanner?

No. A drum horse is an American effort to create a "breed", inspired by a horse the Queen of England uses to carry drums in her parades. In four years of intense research focused on horses raised by Gypsies, Cindy and I never heard the name Drum Horse in connection with them.
























A Colorado importer of Shires and 'Gypsy' horses promoted that crossing a Shire stallion to a 'Gypsy' mare (the name 'Gypsy' mare would include the breed and the non-breed) would make a Drum Horse. This connection the importer made coincidentally coincided with the release of a Drum Horse model by the Breyer company.

I called Fred Walker (aka King of the coloured horses) to gain a better understanding of the importer's statement and Fred said to me, "There is no genetic combination that will make a drum horse every time; the Queen chooses one at random to do a job, and there is no connection between a drum horse and a horse raised by Gypsies other than possibly the addition of color".

This explained why we never heard of a Drum Horse breed and confirmed that the connection was manufactured for the purpose of selling horses.

A quote from an Internet site:

The British Drum Horse prior to 1998 was basically unknown to America but lately due to crossbreeding with many Clydesdales and Shire mares you can find a good number of Drum Horses that are offered for sale in the U.S. these days Indeed, the Drum Horse effort captured the imaginations of Americans and now, in addition to the Shire, includes the crossing of Clydesdales and Friesians with 'Gypsy' horses in an effort to produce an animal that looks like the Queen's Drum Horse.

The By-Laws of the Gypsy Vanner Horse Society dictate that crossbreeding is not allowed; the Shire Horse Society does not condone breeding Shire mares to anything but Shire stallions for the preservation of their breed; the Clydesdale is classified as 'at risk' by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust and The Friesian Horse association of America is strongly against crossbreeding Friesian mares or stallions.

































The key, therefore, to preserving the 14 to 15 hh Classic Vanner breed is to celebrate and perpetuate the downsizing to a perfect, smaller Vanner as the Gypsies have done with the use of a sub name (Cart Vanner) and likewise by giving Americans the perfect, larger Vanner they desire with the use of a sub name (Grand Vanner).

This makes the Gypsy Vanner Horse the first equine breed in history to have three sizes and one breed standard. It is, furthermore, the only way the Classic Vanner breed's look; genetics, feelings and value can be preserved forever.

We must manage the realities of change and desire with a plan for preservation. This is, in our opinion, a far better plan than crossbreeding horses raised by Gypsies without a predictable end result to fulfill Americans desire for a larger Gypsy Vanner Horse, as is the case with the Drum Horse.


Why are the Gypsy Vanner Horses so expensive?

The Gypsy Vanner Horse is a status symbol; the breed as it was envisioned is really very rare. Horses raised by Gypsies in general are not rare or expensive at all. To an untrained eye both the type and the breed look similar but not to a Gypsy.
This fact and the Internet have been the most difficult problems in establishing the true breed.

A Gypsy breeder once said to me as he described a selectively bred stallion that he greatly admired. 
"I'd give a thousand pounds just to walk him in front of the boys"
That same breeder has hundreds of horses that are not capable of evoking that same feeling in him. Those horses are called Trade horses; he raises them like cattle for the European meat market.

That same breeder will have a band of mares with known genetics and a prized stallion or stallions that will never leave him. He breeds them together in pursuit of the breed's vision. A vision that only he and other Gypsy breeders like him knew until Cindy and I stumbled upon one selectively bred stallion and began a journey to understand how he got his magic. 

The worlds first selectively bred stallion ever to be recognized, as a breed of horse raised by Gypsies is Gypsy Gold's Cushti Bok. Over a decade has passed since Cindy and I first saw Cushti Bok. The stallion that sired him (The Old Horse of Wales) is still owned by the very same Gypsy that raised Cushti Bok from a baby and The Old Horse of Wales is still one of the best producing stallions in Great Britain. In 1992 the Gypsy that raised Cushti Bok sold him to another Gypsy breeder for 7000 BPS (British Pound Sterling.

7000 BPS is the equivalent of $14,000 US dollars with today's exchange rate. If you add import fees and what it cost to identify a legitimate stallion potential colt like Cushti Bok, you will have an expensive baby by the time he gets to America. 

Now import a stallion like Cushti Bok after he has developed a reputation for producing the centerpiece of the breed and you will have an even more expensive horse, but you will also have a horse that is worthy of establishing his new breed in a new land. To this day the finest filly example of the breed I have ever seen was a daughter of Cushti Bok. She was not for sale and was being gifted to a son of the Gypsy that owned him. 

Here are the established prices of selectively bred horses raised by Gypsies if you were to purchase them directly from a Gypsy breeder without an importer involved. There are exceptions to everything but this will give you a good feel for true established breed values. As responsible breeders in America we do not want to erode Gypsies existing breed values or blend them with their non-breed trade horses. At Gypsy Gold we believe that the values that Gypsies have traditionally enjoyed should increase with a world market that truly understands their breed. Worldwide Understanding has not happened yet but it will. 

Stallion potential Colts: They range from approximately a low of 3000+ BPS or ($6,000+ US dollars) to 7000+ BPS or ($14,000+US dollars) plus import fees. Import fees for air and ground will be approximately $8,000 dollars delivered to your door for a horse under two years old. (The import figure is not based on volume purchasing because stallion potential colts do not exist in volume) Finding a legitimate stallion potential colt is like finding a needle in a haystack, it takes time, breed knowledge and if purchased from an importer the task is immensely more complicated and should only be done with irrefutable proof of parentage supported by DNA. (Buying from an importer is really much more complicated than this but DNA proof of heritage is an absolute must)  
Selectively bred colts in general can be purchased for less but for the good of the breed and breeders both Gypsy and non-, most colts should be gelded before they are shipped out of Great Britain. Top aged stallions that are highly proven to produce the breed will be in the 20,000 BPS range or ($ 40,000 US dollars) plus import fees. It is possible to find a legitimate proven stallion for less but will often include a relationships with Gypsy breeders that share your passion to perpetuate their vision. Any truly worthy breed stallion will be known by top Gypsy breeders and will be expensive.  


Fillies range from a low of 3000+ BPS or ($6,000+ US dollars) to a high of 20,000 BPS or ($40,000 US dollars) plus import fees. Good filly foals from selective breeding commonly sell from one Gypsy to another for (5000 BPS) or ($10,000 US dollars). It is not uncommon for fillies to sell for 10,000+ BPS or ($20,000+ US dollars) and the best sell for as much as 20,000+ BPS or ($40,000+ US dollars. These prices are all from one Gypsy to another. Ten years ago Cindy and I watched an outstanding mare with an equally outstanding filly foal by her side sell from one Gypsy to another for 42,000 BPS or at today’s exchange rate $84,000 US dollars. The mare and baby were perfect examples of what a Gypsy envisioned his perfect caravan horse to be. These prices were astounding to us in the beginning but they are very real.  

Remember that 80% of the horses that Gypsies raise are called trade horses and are raised like cattle for the meat industry in Europe. You can buy Gypsy trade horse colts for 100 BPS ($200 US dollars or less) and fillies for around 400 BPS ($800 US dollars or less) with adult mares being around 750 BPS ($1,500 US dollars more or less.

Trade horse prices are ironically similar to cattle prices. Many trade horses have been sold as though they are the breed to unknowing buyers throughout the world. The Internet, a lack of breed knowledge and horse traders buy sell mentality has created an environment that is ripe for this to happen.  
 All Gypsies love “doing a dealâ€? so they will sell you whatever you want. We should not expect them on an individual level to be a policeman for the genetic integrity of the vision horses they have created and care so deeply about. It is our responsibility to understand the difference in their horses and with that knowledge establish their breed outside of their world as they envisioned it to be. Only with knowledge and goals to respect or improve established dollar values that Gypsies enjoy for their selectively bred horses can we establish and maintain worldwide parallel breed integrity. 

A Gypsy recently said to me, "America used to be an opportunity to sell our good horses but it does not represent that anymore. If you want crap we will sell you crap."
Horse traders seeking personal gain by selling lots of horses to an uneducated consumer have driven traditional values for the selectively bred horses that Gypsies raise down by working one Gypsy breeder against another and by confusing the breeds real value with the lower values of Gypsies trade horses.

 All will be fine in time but understanding this is an important ingredient to correcting it. Sincere and dedicated breeders both Gypsy and non-Gypsy throughout the world will always be this breeds salvation. Cindy and I consciously made it our goal to transfer the feelings, genetics and value that the true breed enjoys with Gypsies to America intact. The vision was that with America as a centerpiece the Vanner breed could become understood and then develop in parallel worldwide. It was to daunting to initially attempt to establish the breed worldwide but more and more Europeans are realizing that the horses raised by Gypsies which developed as a breed under a different name in their countries were 100% brought to their countries by horse traders focused on transactions, not a breed. For this reason in Europe trade horses have confused the breeds intended look, genetics and have as a result reduced the real breeds established values. In most European countries you can buy a Gypsy horse for around $2,000 dollars, which is totally unrealistic for the real breed and horrible for Gypsy breeders.  

There is an opportunity for dedicated breeders, breed lovers and breed societies in those countries to re-establish and re-position the breed as it was intended by aligning with the Gypsy Vanner Horse Society in America. I have received several unsolicited requests for this to happen from passionate breed lovers in Europe. I invite anyone in the world that might be intrigued with how this might work to contact me at gvh2@aol.com

This is what we believe and know about sizes...

The core breed Gypsies envisioned soon after World War II and then focused on for the next half century is 14 to 15 hh with 14.2 being perfection. When we brought the Gypsy Vanner Horse to America in 1996, Cindy and I knew there was a young effort by Gypsies to downsize the Classic breed they had created to as small as 12 hh. Gypsies know exactly what they are doing and have preserved their Classic breed as they have created a smaller version of it. On the other end of the spectrum, there is a sincere and legitimate desire by Americans to have a larger Gypsy Vanner Horse. It was very clear to us that the downsizing Gypsies were doing and the upsizing Americans envisioned had to be dealt with or the breed as it was originally intended would be lost to the whims of both Gypsies and Americans.

Cindy and I made the adjustments necessary to preserve the core breed by separating the Gypsy Vanner Horse breed standard into three sizes using sub names. This is exactly how the Standard Poodle and Schnauzer were protected from people breeding them down and up. The sub names are, Cart , Classic, and Grand Vanner. This is the only way to forever preserve the 14 to 15 hh Classic Gypsy Vanner Horse.

A result of Gypsies breeding down is that many mares have been imported to America that were bred to little stallions before they left Great Britain resulting in babies which mature under 14 hands. Likewise, because Americans desire big, there have also been a number of specimens imported to America that are over 15.1 hh. 




All in a Name
(Long but important)

 "Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children."
William Makepeace Thackery
A powerful quote illustrates how meaningful a name can be. Words conjure up messages, images, visions and feelings both good and bad. Names that develop and maintain a special feeling deliver the promise of their name every time. Mercedes is a name that must deliver the feeling it has intentionally come to represent or the name Mercedes will be diminished. The name Gypsy Vanner horse is no different. 

Until 1996, all horses raised by the Gypsies of Great Britain were called coloured horses. The phrase identified 100% of all horses raised by Gypsies; no matter if they were selectively bred for half a century or a horse raised like cattle for the European meat market. 

The story of Gypsy Gold and the Gypsy Vanner Horse is a story about two people from America and their desire to understand one of the worlds least understood societies and the horses they raise. It began one day when my late wife Cindy and I noticed a little black & white stallion standing in a field on the border of England and Wales (Oswestry England. When we stopped the car for a closer look our lives were forever changed.


A desire to understand the horse that fate had handed us was born that day and quickly became an unrelenting obsession. 
The effort gave us an understanding of the horses raised by Gypsies that is unparalleled outside of the world of Gypsies and a must if one is to legitimately establish a breed of horse developed by the Gypsies of Great Britain. 

Our study was an unbiased, non-prejudiced overview of Gypsies and their horses that resulted in conclusions that even Gypsies found fascinating. An example would be when we included the Friesian breed as a genetic component that created the Vanner breed. We knew that a Gypsy had never covered a mare with a Friesian horse but we also knew through research that the Friesians genetics were included in the creation of the three primary breeds used in the development of the Vanner breed. (Shire, Clydesdale and Dales pony.
"Fair enough" said Gypsy breeders when we explained why we included the Friesian in the Vanner breeds genetic make up.  

Our effort uncovered a vision to create the perfect caravan horse that was unknown outside of the world of Gypsies. Ironically the colorful "little stallion we first encountered was a superb reflection of that very vision.  

Invited by the Gypsy we met on day one, we became the first Americans to attend the 300-year-old Appleby Horse fair. The Gypsy who invited us said, "You will see hundreds of coloured horses there but none as good as mine and if you do, he's gonna cost you a lot of money." 

For ten days while at Appleby we listened and watched for any Gypsy that sold or purchased a quality looking horse. We then approached them introduced ourselves and documented how we might contact them later. After ten long days of intensely studying horses raised by Gypsies, we were amazed, there was indeed not one stallion at that fair that was any better or frankly as good as the one we saw the very first day. 

For the next four years we followed the contacts we made at Appleby as we listened and learned about the horses raised by Gypsies.
We traced the genetics of the special little stallion (Cushti Bok) through three countries finding his parents in one and grandparents in another, Gypsy breeders focused on the vision that created him raised them all. 

We learned that as a yearling he was the most highly prized selectively bred colt in all of Great Britain at the very same horse fair we had attended years earlier. We would trace his unknown breed's genetic origins to two stallions Sonny Mays and The Coal Horse and would identify many of the great mares and stallions that came after them. We stood overlooking the Irish Sea with the little stallions father (The Old Horse) and the Gypsy that raised him (Tom Price) as he pointed to a clearing under a tree and said, "He was born right over there, I will never forget the day he was born, I held him in my arms and knew he was special, he is the best colt I ever raised." Tom invited us into his caravan that day where he gave us a picture of the little stallion's mother and a book titled Appleby Horse Fair. Inside the book was a picture of Cushti Bok being ponied through the river Eden at Appleby. The picture was taken the year that Cushti Bok became the most highly prized selectively bred colt in all of Great Britain. Tom gave us the book that day, I want to share the picture of Cushti Bok in it with you now.

Think about it, you are driving down the road in England and the look of a horse intrigues you. In your effort to understand it you uncover the vision that created his unknown breed.  

Once the vision for a Gypsies breed and its genetic origins were understood, a name needed to be chosen that would separate the breed from the horses that Gypsies raise as a commodity. The only thing Cindy and I have ever wanted from this experience is to give these people and the wonderful horses they have created their day in the sun. A name that separates the breed from the type and an understanding of the difference is the only way to make that happen.  

"You know you are doing this the hard way, but it's the right way."
These are the exact words of a Gypsy breeder who has maintained select genetics for over 50 years. He saw very clearly how difficult it would be to separate his breed from the trade type of horse that Gypsies also raise and we knew that only a name could do it.  

The task of choosing the perfect name for his breed was critically 
important and more painful than can be imagined. It was a process of careful, 
deep and sensitive thought that seemed to go on forever.  

The choice was between Romany horse and a name that Cindy surprised me with 
One day. I can still see the twinkle in her eye and feel the glow of her 
excitement as she sat me on the couch to tell me about the perfect name she had 
discovered. 

The name of course was Gypsy Vanner Horse, she found a reference to a "The traditional gypsy vanner" captioned under a picture in a book called, "The Coloured Horse and Pony" by Edward Hart. It was the only book we ever found that referenced coloured horses raised by Gypsies. We received the book from England, sent to us by a man named Phil Ball. Phil Ball managed the Shire center outside of London that was the absolute beginning of our journey resulting in the discovery of Cushti Bok and Phil Ball was absolutely paramount in helping us import Bat and Dolly, the first two Gypsy Vanner Horses in North America. 

"The gypsy type of coloured horse" were the words Edward Hart used to begin his section on Gypsies coloured horses. He suggested that perhaps it was time to recognize the selectively bred horses raised by Gypsies as a breed, but Mr. Hart was not referencing a breed at all when he used the term "traditional gypsy vanner" under the picture. He was an Englishman using his English language to describe a horse raised by Gypsies that was suitable to pull a caravan, which in his language is a vanner. 

 Vanner in the English Chambers dictionary means "A horse suitable to pull a caravan". Mr. Hart was simply talking in his native English language when he used the word vanner. In the process Cindy had discovered the perfect name for a horse raised by Gypsies born from a vision to create their perfect caravan horse. 

 The icing on the cake was that we both heard Gypsies say "He's a proper Vanner," when they saw a horse they really admired, like Mr. Hart the Gypsies who said "proper vanner" were simply using their English language to describe a horse that was suitable to pull a caravan. 

Cindy knew that Gypsy Vanner Horse was the perfect name right away, but I was not as sure and agonized about it for a very long time. We had already written a mission on our journey to understand horses raised by Gypsies that started with a commitment to bring honor recognition and a better understanding and concluded with a commitment to remain quality based culturally sensitive and socially responsible. (I will explain my agony in more depth later)

Every night I would awake and worry if we were honoring these people, bringing a better understanding to them and their horses and being culturally sensitive if we used the name Gypsy in their new breeds name at all. The word is a romantic and colorful word in America but often has a different feeling in Europe. 

I was driving Cindy crazy with my obsession over this until, continuous deep thought and the words of a Gypsy convinced me that Gypsy Vanner Horse, 
was indeed his breed's perfect name. I will share with you how I came to that conclusion in three parts.


(Part one) The word Gypsy is an umbrella word. You can compare it to the word American. There are several types of people that live under it's umbrella meaning. There are genetically identifiable people originally from India called Romany. There are people who live a Gypsy lifestyle based on historical happenstance (the clearings and the potato famines) called Irish and Scottish Travelers. There are people who are half Romany and half non-Romany called Didikoi and there are people who have lived a Gypsy lifestyle for generations that have no connection to genetics or historical happenstance. 
 All definitions will have horse breeders that have contributed to the development of the Vanner breed. The word Gypsy therefore is the only word that could ever honor all the people that live under its umbrella meaning. Using the name Gypsy in the breed description could therefore achieve the goal to honor and bring a better understanding to the people that live under it's umbrella meaning. Like American in American Quarter Horse it is meant to describe the people that had a vision it is not meant to describe their vision. 

(Part two) The word Vanner is the breeds vision word and is absolutely perfect for the breed worldwide because it is the only word that truly identifies a Gypsies vision to create his perfect caravan horse and it is a proper English word which honors the breeds origin. 
A breed must have a word that describes the vision that created it like Quarter horse or the vision for the breed must be clearly understood and fixed like Arabian. 
The challenge in all of this has been to separate the vision horses (breed) from the general population of coloured horses. I won't beat around the bush here, one is a status symbol, and one is raised for the restaurant business in Belgium Holland and France. If we don't separate the breed from the type, we have compromised the breed's genetic integrity and established value with Gypsies. 


(Part three) This one finally allowed me too get some sleep and Cindy to regain her sanity. When given a choice between Romany horse or Gypsy Vanner Horse a Gypsy who is clearly one of the most dedicated breeders of the vision that created the breed alive today said, 

"Why, Gypsy Vanner Horse is the perfect name, that's what they are a Gypsies Vanner Horse." 

These are the exact words of a Gypsy that has maintained selective genetics born from a vision to create his perfect caravan horse for over 50 years. He has like all dedicated Gypsy breeders the genetics of many of the greatest stallions and mares in the history of the breed running through the veins of his vision horses.

The Lob Eared Horse, The Paddy Horse, The Coal Horse, Tyson, The Sham, Old Henry, The Old White Mare, The Eagle Mare, The Horseshoe Mare, Bonnie, The PO Mare, Sonny Mays, Pride, The Roadsweeper, The Bank, The Old Horse, The Midget Mare, and The Kent Horse are just a few of the names that run deep in the veins of this mans horses and in the veins of all horses raised by dedicated breeders of the Vanner vision worldwide. 

We knew that the difference between a Gypsies selectively bred horse and their trade horses would not be understood for a long time and we also knew that without an understanding the breed would be exploited by horse traders. For that reason and that reason only we protected the name Gypsy Vanner Horse for the Society founded to establish and protect the breed. The name is now what is called a certification mark. A certified Gypsy Vanner Horse must have the seven qualities envisioned by Gypsies for their perfect caravan horse to become certified. 


Now you have a better understanding of Gypsies, their horses and the name Gypsy Vanner Horse. 
On November 24th 1996 Gypsy Gold's Bat and Dolly became America's first Gypsies Vanner horses and on that same day the world's first registry for a selectively bred horse raised by Gypsies, The Gypsy Vanner Horse Society was established. Bat and Dolly stayed secluded at our farm in Ocala Florida and over the next two years Cindy and I meticulously identified and imported a total of 16 Vanners that were genetically capable of producing the centerpiece of the breed. As fate would have it the very horse we saw on day one(Cushti Bok) was one of those. In June of 1998 we introduced the Gypsy Vanner Horse breed and its society on the Internet and to the American public at Equitana USA in Louisville Kentucky. The world went wild for the images of the magic horses but the world did not understand that they were not Gypsies horses, they were Gypsies Vanner Horses. 

All names that are different from Gypsy Vanner Horse came after the breed's introduction in 1998. Individuals with visions not in harmony with the Gypsy Vanner Horse societies coined them all. To me only one name will ever truly represent the breed that Gypsies envisioned and that name is Gypsy Vanner Horse. Cindy is gone now and I will follow one-day. I can only hope that the vision now shared by many to legitimately recognize a breed of horse raised by Gypsies will live on forever and as amazing as it may seem the opportunity is still "All in a Name"

About The Gypsy's Vanner Horse
  • The Breed Standard
  • The Discovery
  • FAQ
  • Learn More
The Breed Standard:

As envisioned by the people, who are responsible for creating the breed is as follows:

The look of a Gypsies Vanner horse should be the look of a small Shire with more feather and a sweeter (more refined) head.


#1: Short back in proportion to overall body .

#2: Broad chest.

#3: Heavy well-rounded hips .

#4: Heavy flat bone (flat at the knee) with ample hooves.

#5: Hair: feather begins at the knees in front and at or near the hocks in the back and extends over the front of the hooves with ample to abundant mane and tail. Ideal hair is straight & silky.

#6: A Sweet head with a strong neck in harmony with the horses overall look: A sweet head is more refined than most draft horses.

#7: Disposition: The horse should exhibit traits of intelligence, kindness and docility.

A Golden Retriever with hooves?

- Dennis Thompson


The points of the breed standard should be apparent whether the Vanner is Cart (Mini 13.3hh and under), Classic (14hh - 15hh), or Grand size (15.1hh or over). 
Cart Vanner named "Master"
12.2 hh
Classic Vanner named "Birthday Girl" 14.3 hh
Grande Vanner named "Duchess" 16.1 hh
O'Malley - 
a 16 hh stallion in Holland....
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Was bred to a 16.1 hand mare, Sam Sam in Holland.  Sam Sam came to America pregnant, was registered with the GVHS as a Grand Vanner, and gave birth to...
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GVHS registered Grand Vanner Chakra (17+ hh).
Chakra lacks some of the core genetic 'bling', but when she's crossed with a Classic stallion like The Gypsy King she consistently produces foals with Grand Vanner size and Classic Vanner characteristics.
Chandra (The Gypsy King x Chakra) who is, at 18 months, already taller than many full grown Classic Vanners, possesses all of the breed's key attributes. She's a lovely Grand Vanner with a sweet head, produced without crossbreeding to a draft horse.