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Published: 2024-01-28 15:29:05 Categories: Guides Rss feed


They have big and slightly convex heads, long ears, strong legs, and most importantly piebald coats. Those are Gypsy horses – an Irish breed often classified as ponies despite their substantial size. Gypsy horses, besides their beautiful coat, are also valued for their calm temperament. Read our article to find out more about this amazing breed!

Gypsy Vanner – heritage

Gypsy horse also known as Irish Cob, Gypsy Vanner, Gypsy Cob, and Tinkers got its name after the Irish Travellers and English Romanichal Travellers who were descendants of Romani people from Eastern Europe. They were often called “tinkers” (archaic) due to their line of work. They were wandering craftspeople who repaired household dishes with soldering and wire. Those people travelled between cities and repaired different pots and vessels. They also earned money by selling various items that they travelled with.

At the beginning of the 20th century, they did not have horses yet, only donkeys that helped them transport their wagons. Travellers started to gather piebald horses of different breeds by bartering and buying cheaper animals that could not be classified as their breed.

What’s interesting, in the past, piebald horses were much cheaper than horses with other coats. Especially in the breeding done by the royal family, piebald was not acceptable – horses with such coats were often given to travellers.


Gypsy horses – development and afterwar history

Proper breeding selection, with piebald coats and quality horses as the main categories, started only after the Second World War. This breed did not have a stud book until 1996. Currently, there are some foundations that register Gypsy horses and only those animals that fit the breed description are used in breeding. Those organizations include the Irish Cob Studbook, Dutch Studbook for Tinkers, and Gypsy Horse Registry of America.

The breed was widely influenced by draught horses such as Clydesdales, and Shires, as well as warmblood trotters, Fell ponies, Dale, and Welsh Cob.

Breeding of Gypsy horses

The breed was created in the UK, more specifically in Ireland and northern England. This is where the breeding of Gypsy horses is still the most common. However, the breed was popularized in Europe in the 90s. These days, Gypsy Vanner studs can be found in other European countries including Poland.


Gypsy Vanner – anatomy and temperament

When talking about Gypsy horses, one cannot omit their unique anatomy. The breed partially resembles ponies and partially draught horses.

Gypsy Vanner horses are strong, with medium height, and have a characteristic piebald coat. This breed does not have one unified type. The head is usually big with a convex shape and long ears. The neck is strong, shoulders wide and sloping, and the body is also wide. The strong and solid legs, slightly sloping yet wide croup, and big hooves give this breed their significant pulling strength.

Gypsy horses also have distinctive and impressive feathering on the legs, very thick tails and manes, shiny coats, as well as thicker hair under the head and around the muzzle. Their temperament is also very respected; these horses are calm and collected. Gypsy Vanner horses have powerful gaits including showy trot and canter.

Height: 135-150 cm

Coat: almost all horses are piebald

This breed is often classified as a pony yet considering their massive body and considerable height (sometimes these horses can reach up to 170 cm), it is hard to fully agree with their categorization.


Gypsy horses – importance

Gypsy Vanner is a fearless, gentle, calm, and intelligent companion. In the past, the breed was mostly used for carriage pulling and work. These days, besides their predisposition to carriage driving, Gypsy horses are successfully used as riding horses and even show jumping horses. They are not very demanding animals, and their nice temperament makes them also great horses for hippotherapy and recreation. They might even succeed in dressage and western riding.


Gypsy Vanner – price

The price for a Gypsy horse varies from 16 thousand PLN (around 3100 pounds) to 30 thousand PLN (around 5900 pounds). Naturally, the price depends on the horse’s age, sex, and training.



The Irish Cob has an amazing temperament that makes it a perfect horse for beginner riders. Their character and physical traits are valued all over the world. Gypsy horses have predispositions to participate in almost every equine sport and at the same time, they are not very demanding animals.

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