Gypsy horses, registered as Gypsy Vanner Horses, Gypsy Cobs and Gypsy Drum horses, are a relatively new concept to most people, but not to the Romany (gypsy) “Traveller” of Great Britain. Today, colorful Gypsy horses can be seen at times moving with their owners as they travel to their annual gathering places. Although many of the Gypsy’s horses are not specifically bred, an increased number of the horses have been selectively bred over the last 50 years to exhibit characteristics that create the perfect caravan horses. The genetic makeup of the breed most likely comes from Shire, Clydesdale and native British ponies, such as the Dales Pony. The horses originate in Great Britain but are now being imported and bred in the United States and Canada. Gypsy horses are best known as driving horses in the United Kingdom, but in North America they have become popular trail and show horses, ridden both English and western, as well as carriage horses.
Gypsy horses are flashy enough to turn heads. Although not a color breed, piebalds (black and white pinto), skewbalds (red/brown and white pintos) and blagdon (solid color with white belly splashes) horses are popular. A thick mane and tail, and abundantly feathered legs are desired. Gypsy horses are strong, small draft types with short backs, heavily muscled hindquarters and large hooves. Horses are found in all heights, but 14 to 15.2 hands high is the classic size.