The Beautiful Gypsy Cob
Ancient Romani tradition meets modern day USA
The Gypsy dream was to produce the perfect horse to pull their colorful vardos or living wagons through the hillsides of England and Ireland. The Gypsy Cob had to be strong and athletic so they could manage the heavy vardo with the Gypsy family and their belongings. The horses had to be hardy and easy to keep, as they were often tethered to the side of the road or in fields, eating whatever grass they could find and living without shelter in the cold winters. When the work was done they had to be gentile enough to keep the Gypsy children safe. It is said that the horses had to be so gentile that babies should be able to crawl under and between their feet and culling was done accordingly.
While most Gypsies no longer live in vardos, they still keep the quality of Gypsy Cob horses. Now, as in traveling days, the Gypsy Cob is a symbol of status and a source of great pride among Romany Gypsies.
In order to create the type of horse that was most useful to the Romany, several breeds of horses were used. Those breeds that were most influential in the Gypsy Cob were: The Shire, the Clydesdale with Friesian being used in the breeding of the other two. Large horses were costly to keep so to control their size, the Romany Gypsies used the Dales Pony which heavily influenced the horses type and the Fell pony to a lesser extent. Another influence came from the Section D Welch Cob which increased the trot and movement of the horse.
Until now, the Gypsy Cob was not a registered breed. While breeding these magical horses was careful and deliberate, the detailed history of the breed bloodlines was kept in the collective memory of the families who bred them for many generations. Due to the recent interest in the importation of Gypsy horses, registries have been established here and abroad to protect and continue the established bloodlines.
Many names are associated with the Gypsy type horse; Colored Horse , Gypsy Cob, Tinker, Irish Cob, Travelers Horse, Irish Horse and most recently in the US Gypsy Vanner are a few.
Gypsy families often own many gypsy type horses but only a few possess the potential to reproduce the quality of horse that is sought for breeding purposes. The Gypsy Cob must possess a certain look and meet a clear conformation standard, ensuring that we may reproduce the same quality horse that the ancient Romany Gypsy dreamed of.
The sheer beauty of the Gypsy Cob will captivate young and old alike. The long hair on the legs and their effortless floating motion gives them a mystical fairytale appearance as they move across the meadow.
Gypsies range in size from 13 to 15 hands. They are sturdy with heavy bone, flat knees and short backs. They come in a variety of colors: bay/white, red/white, dapple, blue and tri-colored. The most common are black/white and occasionally you will find a solid, however, all colors are prized! Gypsy Cobs have an abundance of mane and feather. Feather (long hair on the legs) should begin at the knee and cover the hooves. Manes and tails are long, thick and flowing.
The Gypsy Cob have so many wonderful qualities. Their beauty is immediately noticed, but time spent with the Gypsy Cob and their warm, gregarious nature is a true blessing! So many people have commented about the way my Gypsies greet me at the gate and walk shoulder to shoulder with me across the pasture to the barn morning and evening. Years of selective breeding has developed a personality that is likely the most docile and gentile in the world. They are extremely social and eager to participate in your activities and will do so with beauty and style!
Highly admired, the Gypsy Cob are still somewhat rare in the US. Due to their increasing popularity we expect to see more in the near future. Traditionally used for driving they also excel at dressage, hunter jumper and both english and western riding.
Enchanting, beautiful, incredibly versatile with a temperament that is unequaled, they will quickly become your dream of the perfect horse!
Up to 14.2hh - short, stocky, compact ponies used for pulling flat carts - usually known as trolley ponies.
Up to 15.2hh - big, powerful cobs used for pulling living waggons and heavier loads - often known as vanners.
Over 15hh cobs with more shire/clydesdale blood were used for heavy loads and agricultural work