Guest Author - Kim Wende
The Gypsy horse is an all-around horse that is suited for riding or driving and is gaining popularity in the United States. They have no exact known history as they are believed by some to come from a combination of Shires, Friesians, Clydesdales and Dales ponies.
Pedigrees were usually kept secret and only family members knew the details of their bloodlines. In 1996 the first registered horses were imported to North America. The breed was recognized by the United States Dressage Federation All Breeds Program in 2004.
The Gypsy breed has a gentle disposition is eager to please with an extremely calm temperament and are very intelligent. They have the characteristics of a draft horse with medium to heavy bone and of medium height. They average range in height is between 13hh - 15.2hh although heights above or below this range are acceptable.
The Gypsy is well muscled with a compact and very sturdy body. The neck and back are short with a broad chest, strong shoulders, well spring ribs and well-rounded hips. Their head should be neat, expressive without coarseness and be in proportion to their body. The forehead is broad between the eyes with the eyes being kind and well-placed.
The mane, tail and forelock are thick and abundant with lots of hair as well as the legs with hair from the knees and hock joints down which covers the hooves. The hair on the legs are known as feathering.
Gypsy horses come in a variety of colors and patterns, but most are piebald in colouring. The piebald coloring is black and white, but some are of solid color.
This breed is also known by other names such as Gypsy Cob, Irish Cob, Coloured Cob, Gypsy Vanner, or Tinker horse.
They were bred to pull wagons and used by the gypsies also know as the nomadic people traveling across Europe and the U.K. The Gypsys had to have excellent endurance and be able to go long distances and pull the heavy wagons. They also had to be hardy and easy keepers as they were often tied on the side of the road eating whatever they could find.
The Gypsy horse is considered to be the most docile and gentle breed because of their years of selective breeding. This breed is also excelling in both english and western riding along with dressage, hunter jumper and cattle events.