Gypsy Vanner: Introduction to Horse Breeds

Gypsy Vanner horses are known for their great temperament and are known for their beautiful plumage and striking coats, which are rapidly gaining popularity today. These horses may have been bred to pull caravans, but they also make excellent rides. Gypsy Vanners have a calm personality, making them a perfect match for children as well as beginner and advanced adult riders.

Variety Overview

weight: 12.2 to 16 lots

high: 1,000 to 1,7000 lbs

Body type: Stout, powerful, draft-style build

Most suitable: Ride and drive for beginners and advanced equestrians

Life expectancy: 25 years

The History and Origins of Gypsy Vanna

The history of Gypsy Vanner horses begins with the Gypsies in England, who sought a horse of strength and size to pull their caravan. They wanted a horse that was not only strong, but gentle, gentle and easy to train. Gypsies carefully bred their ideal horse, relying on the size and strength of the Shire and Clydesdale, and then incorporated the Dales and Fair ponies into the bloodline.

Over time, these horses became more refined and the breed began to solidify. Gypsy Vanners were first brought to the United States in 1996. That same year, the Gypsy Vanner Horse Society, a registry for the breed, was established.

gypsy vanner size

Gypsy Vanners are relatively small horses, ranging in height from 12.2 to 16 hands. While they may be shorter than your typical draught, they are widely constructed and can easily pull wagons and caravans, while also serving as a horse to support heavier riders.

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Breeding and Use

Although the Gypsy Vanner breed originated in pulling caravans, they have grown in popularity due to their suitability for many other purposes. Gypsies still make impressive cart horses that you’ll find competing in shows and driving competitions, as well as pulling carts for fun.

Gypsy Vanner is also an excellent horse for its laid-back temperament. Gypsies ride British and Western, and they fit many different disciplines, from dressage to trail riding and more. Because they are generally very calm and well-mannered, they are a popular choice for family horses and have a place in the world of therapeutic riding programs.

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colors and markings

Gypsy Vanners come in any color, including solid coats. However, the breed is most commonly seen for its colorful coat:

  • Tobiano: white patches on dark coat colors
  • Skewbald: White patches on base coat, any color except black
  • Braggden: White Splash on Dark Coat Belly

The breed is not a colored breed, so the breed registry will accept horses regardless of their coat color or pattern.

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Unique Features of Gypsy Vanner

Gypsy Vanners are characterized by thick feathers growing from the knees and hocks. A long, full mane and tail are also common features. This vital hair requires a lot of extra care and grooming, especially when it comes to prepping for a show.

Diet and Nutrition

Gypsy Vanners tend to have slower metabolisms than typical lightweight riders, so they need to eat a specific diet. Their slower metabolism causes them to gain weight easily and quickly, and it also makes them susceptible to metabolic problems.

To address these potential problems, many owners put their Gypsy vans on a high-fat, low-sugar diet. Many of these horses perform well with high-quality hay and a ration balancer rather than typical feed concentrates. If some gypsies are out in dense fields, they may need to wear grazing muzzles in the summer.

Common Health and Behavioral Issues

While many Gypsy Wanas lead very healthy lives, this breed is prone to some specific health problems:

  • Scratches: These scabs on a horse’s leg can cause swelling and lameness in the lower leg.
  • Malleanders and Sallenders: If the horse’s body produces too much keratin (which is what drives the growth of the gypsies’ thick feathers), it can cause thick scabbed growths on the front and rear legs that need to be removed and actively managed, Doing so can lead to bacterial and fungal infections.
  • Chronic progressive lymphedema: This condition can cause significant swelling in the calf as the skin on the horse’s leg thickens and lymphatic fluid begins to build up in the leg. There is no cure for this condition, and the swelling will continue to develop throughout the horse’s life.


Gypsy Vanners need a lot of grooming to stay fit and comfortable. Their long manes and tails require special attention, especially when the horse lives in muddy conditions. Many horse owners decide to braid their horse’s mane to help prevent tangles and keep the mane clean. So does the tail. Gypsy Vanner owners often use mud knots and braids to help prevent breakage and keep hair clean.

Gypsy feathers also require frequent grooming and grooming. If the horse’s calves are white, the feathers can easily become soiled or discolored, making preparing for the show even more challenging. It’s also important to groom the feathers regularly so that the owner can quickly spot any problems on the calf, such as the start of cuts or scratches.

Champion and Celebrity Gypsy Vanner Horses

The Gypsy King is a well-known stallion that was imported to the United States in 1998. His pictures are often photographed, and you may have seen him in calendars, magazines, and articles about the breed. He was the inspiration for his eponymous Breyer model horse.

Is the Gypsy Wannama right for you?

Gentle, easy to train, and of great temperament, the Gypsy Vanner is a wonderful horse for anyone. But it’s also important for what it actually means to own one of these horses. Be prepared to carefully manage your horse’s diet and get a thorough, regular grooming that goes beyond the typical grooming required for regular horse riding.

Gypsies are great for families as well as experienced and inexperienced riders. They are a great choice for recreation and competition horses and are ideal if you are looking for a horse that you can ride as well as drive. Gypsy Vanners’ shorter height makes them a good choice for adults with health issues or pain that make getting on and off horses difficult.

How to Adopt or Buy a Gypsy Vanner

Since Gypsy Vanners are so popular, finding these horses in the United States is getting easier and easier. These horses are expensive to buy, easily costing $10,000 or more per horse, so they are unlikely to end up in a rescue situation where horses can be adopted. If you want to add a Gypsy Vanner to your horse, your best bet is to find a reputable breeder or private seller in your area.

More horse breeds

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Otherwise, you can view all of our other horse breed profiles.


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