Meet Our Breeds: Gypsy Vanners
When we met Ashlyn last week after one of our latest tack giveaways, we became intrigued by her fascinating breeding. Ashlyn is an Appaloosa/Gypsy Vanner cross; we love her flaxen mane and fantastic feathers, so we looked into the history of the Gypsy Vanner breed.
Here’s what we learned:
The Gypsy Vanner originated in Britain around World War II to pull Romanichal caravans. The Romanichal people combined Clydesdales and Shires with smaller breeds like Dale ponies and Hackneys, and selected for unusual coat patterns. The result is a colorful breed with the frame and feathers of a draft but in smaller packages around 15 hands or so. The breed was briefly in danger of becoming extinct, but societies in North America, Europe, and Australia popped up in the mid-1990s to help preserve the breed.
Today, there around 3,000 Gypsy Vanners in the United States. They are designed to pull carts and are a favorite for driving, dressage, pleasure riding, and occasional low-level jumping. The breed is known for its kind temperament, which is common among draft-based breeds.