What Makes Gypsy Horse Breed Special?

Someone long ago described Vanner horses as wild studs of remarkable beauty. Indeed, if you take just one look at this animal, you will certainly not remain silent at its majesty. Although Gypsy horse breed is not imposing in size, the beauty of these animals leaves you speechless. They are easily recognizable by their long manes, puffy tails and legs, and colorful hair. 

Since their inception, these stallions have been used for work. Although they can look rather clumsy, due to the ‘feathery’ appearance of the legs and a slightly lower torso, these small studs are quite tough. Today, their primary purpose is entertainment and as a companion animal (for various shows, circuses, and exhibitions). 

Table Of Content

Why ‘Gypsy?’

Although not found in the official name of the breed, the word ‘Gypsy’ actually refers to the origin of these horses. It’s still not quite clear. But according to some data, these noble animals are descended from wild studs that inhabited Britain in the Middle Ages, along with the Gypsies. 

There was a crossbreeding of these stallions with already domesticated animals. But there is no exact information on the crossing of certain breeds. If you know that the Gypsies mainly were nomads, it is clear that they didn’t take much care of their animals. 

Nevertheless, the mixture of domestic runners and strong and enduring gypsy stallions gave birth to a very recognizable breed that is very sought after today. Due to the unclear origin, the Vanner breed was not official for a long time, so commercial breeding was impossible until two decades ago.

Horses of Extraordinary Beauty

The beauty of these horses is significantly affected by the thick coat of unusual colors. Such hair plays not only an aesthetic but also a completely functional role. Frizzy strands protect the animal’s body from the cold during bad weather. Because of this feature, Gypsy Vanners require extra care.

The original specimens of this breed were black or brown, with white spots on the body. Today, many color combinations have been obtained by crossbreeding. Some Vanners even have dark navy blue or green hair. Of course, white spots are still there, as one of the trademarks of this breed.

Unique Physics

Gypsies, like any nomadic people, lived quite a hard time. In constant migrations and the search for a better life, their faithful companions, horses, were often neglected, hungry, and exhausted. While the animals of that time suffered, the Gypsies actually did a good thing for today’s representatives of the Vanner breed. 

It is these often inhumane conditions that have left a solid genetic line in modern horses. They are exceptional in their endurance, strength, and excellent immunity. They rarely suffer genetic diseases and can live for more than 50 years in pretty good health.

On the following page, check some instructions on how to keep your stallion healthy:


Riding Experience 

Although Gypsy horses are far from athletes, their robust physics compensates for the lack of height. The most representative examples are only a little over five feet tall. However, it is often preferable for these horses to be shorter. That’s the so-called mini sub-breed of Gypsy Vanner.

Riding Gypsy Vanner horses is an effortless and pleasant experience. Their backs are strong, wide, and flat, so you won’t have any inconvenience by sitting on them. These animals are pretty good jumpers, despite their short height. It makes them ideal for horse shows, where they will overcome obstacles with ease (and good training). 

But keep in mind that these animals are not intended for races. Simply put, their ancestors were not used to such things, but slow towing and carrying loads. That’s why today’s Vanners easily get tired of galloping.

Mild Temper


This breed is famous for being friendly and trusting towards strangers. It has a sweet nature and learns quickly. Still, these animals can become rebellious and hostile when confronted with rivals or other animals they don’t know.

Gentle nature makes Vanners ideal for kids who show an interest in equestrian sports. These animals are obedient, kind, and easy to learn. You can’t expect them to suddenly kick and throw riders, which is often the case with racehorses.

It is their tender temperament that makes Vanners ideal ‘nannies.’ Stable owners often procure these petite horses to appease members of more unruly breeds. Mares are often used as wet nurses for foals, especially if the mother doesn’t have enough milk or is too wild to feed her own offspring.

Horse Keeping Conditions

Gypsy Vanners are known for their endurance and excellent health, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need good care. Don’t think that a petite horse is low-maintenance. In fact, it’s the other way around. If you pay your stallion a few tens of thousands of dollars, you certainly won’t keep them outdoors and feed them only with grass.

Although these stallions initially lived in rather harsh conditions, feeding on field grass and sleeping wherever they could, today’s owners ‘spoil’ their horses a bit. These animals should stay on closed stalls with good ventilation. The diet can be further enriched with vegetables and cereals. It’s always desirable to allow these horses enough space and running. And don’t forget regular grooming and combing (check some handy tips here).

Many see Gypsy horses as great pets. But buying this animal one can be an expensive endeavor, as prices are mostly five figures. But if you can afford a purebred Vanner, you will get a unique and fascinating four-legged friend.

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