Central to the Leading By The Reins courses is the Gypsy Vanner horse, a beauty hailing from European countries.
A gentle breed, the Gypsy Vanner horse, also commonly known as the Gypsy Horse or Gypsy Cob, was is powerful and compact with an overall impression of intelligence, kindness, strength and agility. The animal is proportioned and balanced with medium to heavy bones and well-muscled. The horse exhibits a thick and luxurious mane and tail with abundant feather drapes from the knee to the ground.
Willing, confident and offering its best with little encouragement, the Gypsy Vanner is a strong and agreeable partner that works harmoniously with its leader.
Leading By The Reins regularly utilizes Gypsy Vanners from its sister company LexLin Gypsy Ranch based in Rockwood, Tenn., the largest independent Gypsy Vanner breeding operation in North America where many of the horses have been imported from Wales and other European countries.
The Gypsy Vanner breed was developed by the Gypsies of Great Britain and Ireland with a vision to create the perfect caravan horse, “a small Shire with more feather, more color and a sweeter head.”
History of the Gypsy breed
For hundreds of years, the nomadic people known as gypsies have traveled the roads of Europe and the United Kingdom in beautifully carved and decorated living wagons. To maintain this wandering way of life, they created an extraordinary breed of horse, with enough endurance and strength to pull a heavy wagon all day, the ability to subsist on whatever grazing it could find on the side of the road and an extremely calm temperament, since a moment’s panic could quite literally result in the destruction of its master’s home. The result, after hundreds of years of selective breeding, is a beautiful, powerful and supremely gentle animal – the Gypsy Horse.
The appreciation of these horses has been growing in the U.S., spurred by the importation of a number of Gypsy Horses during the last few years. Gypsies, traveling in their caravans or vardos, have been known by a variety of names, including Travelers, Roma or Romany. The names for their horses reflect this – Gypsy Cobs, Gypsy Horse, Gypsy Vanners, Travelers Horses, Irish Cobs and Tinkers.
Gypsies still travel the roads of England, Ireland and Europe. For centuries, their way of life has been the stuff of legend and romance. Van Gogh painted them at sunset, around their campfires. Composers from Brahms to Ravel wove their traditional melodies into classical music. But the most magnificent part of their heritage lives, breathes and trots, proud necks arched and feather flying.
The Gypsy Horses – beautiful, brilliant, kind and now enjoying tremendous growth and popularity in America.